December 3, 2009 By Andy Opsahl
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- Several state and local officials in California took home technology honors at the Center for Digital Government's Best of California awards ceremony Thursday, Dec. 3. Accolades highlighted strength in leadership, applications, IT operations, portals, project delivery and other categories.
San Diego, Calif., Mayor Jerry Sanders was named the best at leadership in solving business and policy problems through technology. For example, after his 2006 election, he deployed OneSD, the city's new financial management system, which connected disparate operations and shaved $2 million to $3 million from the budget. He also supported use of the city's Automated Vehicle Locator and wireless connectivity for scheduling trash and recyclables collection, saving $1 million per year.
Doug Albrecht, director of information management for the Port of Long Beach was recognized for leadership in IT management. The Center for Digital Government referenced several projects he has deployed during his last four years managing the port's IT. For example, he implemented several Web-based applications and established a centralized command and control center, among numerous other upgrades.
The California Department of Personnel Administration's Information Management Services Division received an honor in the Excellence in IT Operations, Support and Service category. The Center for Digital Government cited improvements in the agency's infrastructure, server, application and development environment that occurred in just over six months with only 12 full-time staff as reasons for the award.
Los Angeles County's Graffiti Abatement Referral System (GARS) was singled out as one of the best applications serving the public. The GARS combines GIS with a Web interface to automate the county's graffiti response and incident reporting. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works saves $534,000 in labor and other associated costs annually due to the system.
"We did 40,000 incidents just last year. The vast majority were handled within 48 hours. That's incredible," said Rene Melendez, the assistant director of systems and applications for Los Angeles County's Department of Public Works.
GIS enthusiasts might be interested to know that the city of Los Angeles secured an award for geospatial innovation. The city's Field Automation for Sanitation Trucks commanded the spotlight. The system is a Web-based application that combines various technologies to deliver sewer and storm water infrastructure data and maintenance work orders to the field. It replaced an older system heavily reliant on paperwork. The FAST saves up to five hours and 100 pieces of paper-handling per employee per day, has eliminated 300,000 paper work orders and resulted in a 50 percent reduction in sewer spills, according to Los Angles city officials.
In all, awards were made in 14 categories. Here is the list of winners:
Leadership in Solving Business and Policy Problems through Technology
Jerry Sanders, Mayor, San Diego
Leadership in Management of Information Technology
Doug Albrecht, Director of Information Management, Port of Long Beach
Excellence in Project Delivery
The Genetic Disease Screening Program, Screening Information System Development Team; California Department of Public Health
Excellence in Rapid Project Delivery
Records Retention Center IT HUB Relocation Project Team, City of Los Angeles World Airports Office of IT Project Management
Excellence in IT Operations, Support and Service
Information Management Services Division, California Department of Personnel Administration
Leadership in Solving Business and Policy Problems through Security Technology
California E-Hub Statewide Procurement and Implementation Team (multiple California agencies)
Best Application Serving Organization Business Objectives
Best Application Serving the Public
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.