Sacramento, Calif. -- California CIO Teri Takai told Government Technology she wanted to create a chief geographic officer position for the state. Takai mentioned the news at Government Technology Conference's Best of California event December 2008. Naturally the person would drive GIS strategies for the state.
"You do need an individual who is in the lead for the state," Takai said. "It helps when we do collaboration with the counties and other areas of local government. Certainly a chief geographic officer is something we have recommended and are looking at very closely."
She didn't say when or if the search for such an individual would start.
Takai was a guest speaker at Best of California. Others included Kentucky State Data Center Director Ron Crouch, who discussed demographic trends and the future needs of citizens from government IT. In his new role as executive officer of the California Office of Information Security and Privacy, former Colorado Chief Information Security Officer Mark Weatherford addressed the latest trends in security standards and solutions.
Orlando, Fla. -- Janis Benton, deputy director of IT for Houston, was on hand at the Center For Digital Government's Digital Cities Survey award ceremony in Orlando. Benton discussed the $5 million Houston received when EarthLink abandoned plans to build the city a free municipal Wi-Fi network. Houston's contract stipulated a $5 million penalty in the event EarthLink failed to deliver the network. Houston is using the money to bring free Wi-Fi, PCs and technology training to community organizations in low-income areas.
"You can't even get a job today unless you get online and fill out a job application," Benton said.
Community organizations receiving Wi-Fi access include literacy programs and local Boys & Girls Clubs of America facilities.
"We have one organization that works with expectant mothers who are primarily Spanish speaking -- giving them the tool sets to have healthy babies and to learn English," Benton said.
Denver -- Colorado CIO Mike Locatis is urging the Obama administration to rethink how the federal government distributes money to state and local governments. Locatis and others want a coherent, enterprise funding strategy. They say the current funding approach is piecemeal and makes it difficult to maintain, upgrade and secure critical government IT systems.
Locatis met with Obama senior policy advisers in August during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and he came away encouraged. "I think they have a very good understanding of some of the challenges we have with federal cost allocation and some of the issues associated with creating more of a public-sector ecosystem with federal, state and local governments and how the large technology component of that can be delivered better," he said.
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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.