Secretary of State Brown visits Chaves Consulting’s Baker facility

By By Terri Harber May 07, 2012 12:26 pm

By TERRI HARBER

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 Chaves Consulting Inc. hosted an event Friday to honor Secretary of State Kate Brown and highlight their business partnership.

Governments amass vast quantities of documents and information. And the accumulation became dizzying as use of email rapidly increased.

The Secretary of State’s office began seeking a way to help local governments retrieve this information more quickly. Chaves was able to help provide it.

Oregon’s government agencies are required to make their information available to citizens within a reasonable amount of time and not charge them an exorbitant cost for the service. 

Providing a speedy process for managing these records could be costly without the two entities working together to provide the service to local governments and state agencies, Brown said.

The result of this partnership is “a demonstration of why Oregon will grow and thrive in the future,” she said. “This partnership epitomizes what’s best about Oregon.”

Entering into the partnership has “an impact on economic development in rural Oregon,” said Richard Chaves, president of the consulting business.

“It will create more opportunities for families in Baker,” said Kathleen Chaves, chief executive officer.

One way in which the system directly serves the public is by speeding up the delivery of specific information to those seeking it out. It’s important for people to find out what they need to know to participate in their communities — and sometimes speedy retrieval of information is paramount to the democratic process, Brown said.

Oregon is “rocking the nation to access records,” she said.

The Oregon Records Management System allows government employees to decide how to most effectively categorize data as it’s being created. It also could be used retroactively to categorize older records. 

A state archive employee demonstrated how the system is used by record keepers — a job description that also could include department heads, clerical staff, administrators and others. The audience was a group of local business people and several government officials from around the state who manage large numbers of records. 

They appeared impressed with the system. Most of these professionals wouldn’t have the final decision on whether to purchase it for their government employers, however.

“Records retention is a big deal,” said Becky Fitzpatrick, Baker City’s recorder and human resources manager. “The state sets standards on what we keep and how long we have to keep it.”

Baker City isn’t a user of the system but has some other electronic methods available to help with record keeping and retrieval, Fitzpatrick said. 

The system’s call center and help desk are located here in Baker City and managed by Chaves Consulting. 

Chaves also manages the hardware and software needed to operate the records management system. 

Its Synergy Data Center & Services is integral to the process. Synergy is a secured data hosting facility Chaves developed with Arikkan Inc., of Salem and Sace, Inc., of Bend that began operating in November 2010. Hewlett Packard’s TRIM software powers the records management system.

There are 25 people in Baker City working on this project and Chaves Consulting eventually intends to employ up to 100 people, Richard Chaves said. 

Among users of this records management system are the cities of Beaverton, Milwaukie and West Linn as well as the Oregon Department of Energy and Department of Human Services’ division of Children, Adults and Families. 

Use of the system isn’t restricted to governmental customers in Oregon but could help government agencies around the country as well as nonprofits and private business that need to keep voluminous amounts of information, Brown and the Chaves’ emphasized.

Also included on Chaves Consulting’s client list is the Oregon Health Plan. It handles the plan’s accounts payable duties. Chaves also provides software support to the secretary of state for voter registration.

The firm’s local operations occupy three floors at the Baker Tower.