July 29, 2009 By Wayne Hanson
In an e-mail note to colleagues yesterday, Dr. Jabari Simama (pictured) announced that he will be leaving his current position, to become DeKalb County, Ga., deputy chief operating officer for development. DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis said in a release that in his new position, Simama will be responsible for the county's development departments including: Planning and Development, Economic Development, Community Development, Human Services, GIS, and Workforce Development.
"Dekalb county is very fortunate to have Dr. Jabari Simama in his new position," said Center for Digital Government Director Cathilea Robinett. "He has been an innovator and thought leader throughout his government career. We have worked with him extensively on a variety of innovative government programs and put him at the top of our list."
In 2000, Simama was executive director of the Atlanta Mayors Office of Community Technology that delivered a strategic plan to close the digital divide -- making Atlanta one of the first cities in the nation to do so.
Simama most recently served as the liaison for federal stimulus funding at Benedict College, and will continue as a consultant through September. He has also written a book, Civil Rights to Cyber Rights: Broadband and Digital Equality in the Age of Obama which will be published August 15 by Community Technology Publications in Atlanta.
Simama graduated from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport Connecticut, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Simama also earned his masters from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) and his Ph.D. from Emory University.
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.