What is EBIS?
EBIS is a managed, email, rapid-response system. It stands for Email Broadcast Information Service and is one of the Institute’s most popular services. It allows you to access the expertise of local government colleagues who have faced similar problems, quickly, and easily.
How does it work?
Step #1—Email your question to EBIS
Step #2—EBIS broadcasts your question anonymously to over 200 Virginia local governments
Step #3—EBIS receives the responses and reviews them
Step #4—EBIS sends only the relevant responses back to you
Let’s say you have a question like, “Which other Virginia localities of similar size have a deputy police chief?” And let’s say you need the answer for tomorrow’s board meeting. But you don’t want other localities to know that you need this information. Just email your question to EBIS and you’ll receive a number of examples by meeting time. Need sample policies, documents, or programs? Follow the same process.
How long does this take?
Questions are usually posted on the same day they are received. Responses start arriving within minutes. The majority of the responses are usually received within 48 hours.
What is piggybacking?
If you would like to see the responses to a particular inquiry, let EBIS know. You'll get all the information sent to the original inquirer.
How much does it cost?
EBIS is free and use is unlimited to Institute members.
Inquiries cover a multitude of issues. Recent sample topics include take-home vehicles, reduction-in-force policies, public hearing rules, managing social networking sites, regional jails, and utility system management.
Through EBIS, Virginia has the most networked local government community in the nation.
EBIS fields questions on 250–300 new topics each year, and the library of past inquiry information includes nearly 3,000 topics. Many questions can now be answered from that source.
What types of requests are appropriate for EBIS?
We are prepared to handle all reasonable information requests that can be answered with limited effort. Most requests are clearly defined. This makes it easy for other jurisdictions to see quickly what information is being sought and to decide if they can help.
Whom do I call if I don't know exactly what I am looking for?
Simply give us a call and let us help define the issue.
Where do most requests come from?
99% of all inquiries come from Virginia local governments. On occasion, we receive a request for assistance from a state agency or private citizen.
Who provides responses to the questions/requests?
While help may come from any number of sources, most of the input comes from the larger local governments around the state. These localities have the most extensive staffs and levels of expertise, and are willing to share that capacity with their fellow government officials. However, depending on the question and topic, Virginia's smaller towns and counties also provide valuable assistance to other municipal governments.
Can you give me examples of topics that the technical assistance service has handled?
The Institute has gathered information on a broad range of topics, including personnel evaluations systems, telecommunications tower siting policies, audit service requests-for-proposals (RFPs), citizen surveys, year 2000 data processing compliance, and wastewater treatment plant sludge land application.
How do I join the email broadcast system (EBIS) to receive inquiries and other information?
Simply send us your name, the locality you represent, and your email address and we will add it to our broadcast address list. We encourage all local governments to join the broadcast system.
For more information
Contact: Tedd E. Povar, email@example.com, or 804-371-0202, or use the form below