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Government

Elmhurst Park District moves toward new solutions for program registration

Elmhurst Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers remarks on solutions Park District staff and the Board of Commissioners' ad-hoc IT committee are working on to address the Vermont Systems Inc. software glitch at the Sept. 10 park board meeting.
Elmhurst Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers remarks on solutions Park District staff and the Board of Commissioners' ad-hoc IT committee are working on to address the Vermont Systems Inc. software glitch at the Sept. 10 park board meeting.

ELMHURST – The Elmhurst Park District and its Board of Commissioners' ad-hoc IT committee have begun discussing next steps on how to address future program registration in light of two glitches that occurred this year with RecTrac, a registration software provided by vendor Vermont Systems Inc.

A software glitch causing slow speeds for registration occurred during both the fall registration the district held Aug. 4 and the spring registration Feb. 24. A successful summer registration, which involved fewer programs, occurred in May.

"Despite all of the District’s recent efforts, it is now readily apparent that VSI is not capable of meeting the needs of the Elmhurst community at this point in time," Park District Executive Director Jim Rogers said in a memo Sept. 10.

Rogers said at the Sept. 10 park board meeting that district staff have been working on the issue and continuing to consult with the board's ad-hoc IT committee on a weekly basis. Commissioners Doug Ennis and Kevin Graf, the board's vice president, are on the committee.

Staff also have reached out to other park districts to see how they handle the first day of registration for programs, Rogers said.

"We're finding a number of folks who do more staggered days than we have traditionally done," he said.

Rogers added that Elmhurst residents also have suggested staggering some registration dates, so the district is reviewing which program areas should be considered for different registration dates.

"One of the interesting things about it as we've dug into the data a little bit is that it's not the number you first think you look at, which is the number of registrations. What it really is, it's the number of ... sessions," he said.

The district is looking at the number of sessions to determine which programs are generating the most traffic for registration in order to consider the best way to stagger registration dates, Rogers said.

He said the district is drafting messaging to seek feedback from the community to determine what times will be best for the community and manageable for the district. District staff have found other agencies use a variety of times and days in their registration practices, Rogers said.

Once the district determines a new method of registration, it will communicate those changes with the public, he said.

Rogers added the district has continued to be in contact with Vermont Systems regarding the Aug. 4 incident but has "not received much in the way of information" yet about what the issue was.

"Therefore, until a time that they might understand what the issue is, it's hard for them to rectify it," he said.

From a long-term perspective, the district is starting to put together a request for proposal to solicit software vendors and continuing to compile a list of potential vendors, Rogers said.

He said in an email he expects the district will develop the request for proposal by the end of December.

The next registration for the Park District is in December, followed by one in February 2019, according to the memo.

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