May 2, 2012 By Colin Wood
Chesterfield County, Va., is upgrading county infrastructure and citizen-centric services in an attempt to continue the county’s critically acclaimed success of the past few years. The county placed first in 2010 and third in 2011 in its division of the Digital Counties Survey, which annually ranks participating governments on their usage of technology to achieve outcomes. County CIO Barry Condrey said gaining recognition took time, but he encourages underdogs to not be deterred.
Through the awards, Chesterfield County was commended for its commitment to citizen service and the efficiency of its investments — two areas the county began focusing on six years ago, Condrey said. “We began looking at our technology money as investments, not just cost items,” he said. “We came up with an investment model, which gives us scoring criteria and involves looking at [county] departments from the lens of efficiency, effectiveness, citizen service — six or seven different criteria. That provides a scoring model for how to assess these projects.”
That change in philosophy, combined with an emphasis on enterprisewide systems and transparent government, was the starting point for the success that followed for Chesterfield County, Condrey said.
The county updated its website to be more user-friendly and transparent, receiving a rare grade of A+ from a government transparency clearinghouse called the Sunshine Review. The county also began offering services requested by
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.