FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 15, 2011
Macomb County Circuit Court and Clerk renew Google Apps licenses
Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge Mark Switalski and the Clerk / Register of Deeds continue to “go Google” and recently renewed Google Apps for Government licenses for their departments. As the first county circuit court and clerk to do so in Michigan, they use a suite of cloud computing applications, security and world-class disaster recovery. The Macomb County Clerk went Google in 2010 and the circuit court followed in January 2011. The county now has approximately 1,500 non-Google E-mail accounts and 417 Google licenses.
“Google Apps for Government lets judges and staff securely access information anytime, anywhere and find things fast, while keeping costs down,” explained Switalski. Macomb County judges are among the most efficient at meeting State Court Administrative guidelines despite having the highest caseloads per circuit court judge across the state and the innovative use of technology is one of the reasons.
“Google lets us improve service and save money, so we can innovate and do more, despite budget cuts” said the Macomb County Clerk.
Google Apps for Government services used by the court and clerk include:
Text Chat + SMS
Web site publishing
Voice chat (if PC w/mic)
Video chat (if Webcam)
“Using Google Chat we communicate with clerks while in court without being disruptive,” said the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds. “We use Google Docs so several staff can work on the same document at the same time without needing to stop for a meeting, which gets results more quickly for taxpayers.”
Jury staff uses the Google service to post juror Web updates without needing Web publishing software, and can post juror updates from home, even from their phones, such as for snow days. Vital records staff use Google Docs to track security paper. Court clerks use Google Groups to route criminal bind over faxes. Google’s search feature makes it easy to find old E-mails.
Clerk staff can view E-mail attachments in many different formats without the need for specific word processing software versions. Staff can also create and E-mail documents in many different formats for customers, including PDF.
The service even gives clerks the ability to send text messages to attorneys phone when cases are called, which is helpful when attorneys have cases in multiple courts on the same day.
The Macomb County Clerk’s staff uses Google Forms to track when courts need jurors. Vital records staff has used Google’s E-mail translation feature to translate E-mail to and from Spanish.
When a tornado touched down in Macomb County last year, disrupting power and some network services, the clerk’s Google service remained in service and accessible via cell phone and other networks until the county’s network and E-mail service were restored. Unlike with a more expensive in-house system, there is no single point of failure with Google Apps.
Switalski and the Macomb County Clerk said the biggest draw to go Google is the cost control and predictability that comes with cloud computing. For a fixed per employee cost, the county gets Google Apps for Government and Google Message Discovery for archiving and e-discovery. There is no additional cost for servers, backup, antivirus or antispam protection, or disaster recovery. Google Apps takes less staff to maintain. When new enhancements are available, there is no need for extra investment. Savings are also realized because Google Apps for Government has zero scheduled downtime. Maintenance is performed while the system is running.
The county pays $58.94 per user per year (not per month) for Google Apps for Government and Google Message Discovery for archiving and e-discovery. The circuit court has 320 licenses, the clerk/register of deeds has 85 licenses, and the county executive has 12 licenses. The total 2012 cost for all of the services, E-mail, documents, calendar, antivirus, antispam, backup, security, is only $24,577.98.
The Macomb County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution in February 2010 to leave the county’s GroupWise E-mail system. Elected officials were given a choice of E-mail systems. Onix Networking Corporation provided the data migration, training, and on-going support.
Monroe County has also gone Google. The University of Michigan recently announced plans for the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses to go Google. General Motors recently signed a deal to provide Google Apps to 100,000 employees.
Google launched Google Apps for Government with specific measures to address the policy and security needs of the public sector. Google Apps is the first suite of cloud computing messaging and collaboration applications to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation from the U.S. General Services Administration.
The Macomb County Clerk posted recognition by the State Court Administrative Office, and details and short videos demonstrating how her office uses Google Apps for Government, at http://macombgov.org/Clerk-Resources-Google.
Google has Michigan offices in Birmingham and Ann Arbor.