Inquiry Service (EBIS)

What is EBIS?

EBIS is a managed, e-mail, 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.

 

For more information

Contact: Tedd E. Povar, tep3e@virginia.edu, or 804/371-0202

For frequently asked questions about EBIS, click here.