March 23, 2012 By Wayne Hanson
If sunlight is the best antiseptic, Phoenix should be totally germ-free. In addition to warm winters and broiling summers , Phoenix has received a "Sunny Award" three years in a row for governmental transparency. The Phoenix website was recognized again this year by Sunshine Review for the city's proactive disclosure of information including budget reports, elected officials, public meeting agendas and minutes, and contracts and public records, as well as for the ease of use and availability of information. The only omission, according to a report, was lack of lobbying disclosure.
“I have made it a priority to bring transparency to city government because openness and accountability is good for taxpayers and for the city,” said Mayor Greg Stanton in a release. “I want our city to be accessible to its residents, and one way to do that is through an easily navigable website that provides point-and-click access to information. I want to thank our Web team for their hard work in making this possible and making the city proud.”
Back in October, Government Technology talked to then-CIO Charles Thompson and Security Officer Randell Smith about integrating personal mobile devices into city operations -- or BYOD -- and Thompson said that a mobile device management platform was being looked at, and policies were being developed. Since then, Thompson moved on to become CIO of Houston, and Rob Sweeney took over in Phoenix as acting CIO.
Phoenix Public Information Specialist Margaret Shalley told GT this week that the city has a new service called Traveler that allows city employees to access email, calendars and contacts using their personal Android and Apple phones and tablets. In addition, she said, standards for use of mobile devices have also been approved.
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.