iPads send county clipboards to iDumpster

— Clipboards? Who uses clipboards? That’s old school. Clayton County can buy iPads with $3,310 in tax dollars instead.

At least, that’s what the Clayton County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to let the county’s Community Development Department replace clipboards with the popular — and expensive — wireless tablets.

The purchase includes two full-size 4G, 16-gigabyte iPads and four iPad 4G, 16-gigabyte Minis that will be used by inspectors in the department.

A legislative request form from community development Director Patrick Ejike shows this boils down a case of old school technology getting the heave-ho to make room for new toys.

“We currently use clipboards in the field for building, mechanical, electrical and plumbing inspections,” Ejike said in his request. “The iPads will enable real-time inspections and eliminate repetitious data entry by inspectors.”

Funding for the purchase will come from Community Development Block Grant funds, which are also commonly known as “CDBG” monies. Much of the money for the purchase — $2,060 to be exact — is coming from funds set aside for “office supplies,” according to county budget documents. The remaining $1,250 comes from money set aside for “minor computer equipment.”

The full-sized iPads and their cases will cost $661 each. The iPad Minis and their cases will each cost $477.44.

The argument Ejike made in documents provided to commissioners is that using expensive technology devices instead of old fashioned clip boards will improve customer service provided to residents. He pledged the devices will be used for geographic information system web viewers.

“iPads will enable real-time building inspections, improve efficiency and productivity,” Ejike wrote in the legislative request paperwork.

There was no discussion by the commissioners about the items when Chief Financial Officer Ramona Thurman presented it for approval at Tuesday’s business meeting.