Association goes digital with its record keeping

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Association keeps records and documents dating back to the 1920s, some of which are getting old and very delicate.
At its Nov. 4 meeting, the Association board voted to bring record-keeping into the 21st century by approving $27,000 to install an electronic document management system.
The change has been several years coming to fruition.
“More than eight years ago, the Association began looking at a system to electronically store property and building files, but the cost was prohibitive,” said Liz Avalon, who gave the presentation at the meeting. “As technology has changed and improved, a document management system is more affordable.”
She said several companies were invited to give presentations of their programs. Of those companies, two of them were asked for bids and one company was selected.
“We are very happy with them,” she said.
When finished the new system would replace all of the Association’s paper property and building files containing each property’s entitlements and approval.
In the current system property and building files are maintained for each individual parcel in the Covenant. One copy is kept in fire resistant files in the office and the other off site.
The board became concerned about the security of the files. Many of the files contain changes where a word or phrase in the typed document was crossed out with handwritten information in the place. It is impossible to determine if the handwritten changes made in the past were simply to correct typographical errors or if the changes were added in an unauthorized manner, she said.
In addition, there were handwritten changes on the documents that had been made on one copy of the paper that did not appear on the copy kept off site, she said.
Also, many of the files are more than 80 years old.
“Many of the documents were handwritten and are beginning to disintegrate,” she said.
At this year’s Association board retreat held in early September, the board established as a high priority the implementation of an electronic document management system for property and building files.
The new system provides much better security in that a copy will be maintained off site as a back up in case of fire or other disaster. Also no changes can be made to a file without the proper procedures, Avalon said. If a document is needed, it can simply be printed out.
Transferring all the information into electronic files will be a huge job.
“It’s a pretty good task, but its end result will be worth it,” she said
“There was lots of duplication and we will be able to clean out the files as we do this,” she said.

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