Mayors, City Technology Leaders Participate in Roundtable Discussion
Encourage E-Governance Leadership Position for Conference, Request Additional Technology Best Practices
By Jim Welfley
July 12, 2004
Dearborn Mayor Michael A. Guido led the first Conference roundtable discussion between city technology officers and mayors during the Conference's Annual Meeting in Boston. The discussion, which featured ten city technology leaders and four mayors (see names of participants in side bar), touched upon several key technology issues affecting cities. These included capitalizing on wireless technologies, technology integration and standardization, outsourcing, technology displacing jobs and the relationship between the city's chief technology official (the Chief Information Officer, or CIO) and the mayor.
"We are here to learn from one another and to help mayors and their city's technology professionals better communicate with one another," said Guido. "Your (The CIOs) active involvement in decision making is essential to helping the mayors run their cities smoothly."
Earlier at the Business Council Breakfast, Conference Executive Director Tom Cochran announced the new discussions between city CIOs and mayors. Cochran reported that mayors were invited to bring their CIO to Boston for both the breakfast and the roundtable discussion. "We have to bring these people closer to us so that we can communicate, we can market, and really understand what we-ve got here in this century that would help us govern electronically and provide better services," said Cochran.
Discussion was sparked by participants relaying a best practice where technology was used to either streamline city operations or better service city residents. Detroit CIO Derrick Miller described the city's wireless "hotspots" that have helped attract young people downtown while Philadelphia CIO Dianah Neff explained how technology was used to collapse the city's 12 tax systems down to one. These two examples, among the many offered by the participants, enforced the notion that the roles of mayor and city technology professional are intertwined like never before when it comes to planning, financing and launching technology-driven initiatives in a city.
"As we figure out what our needs are," said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, "we turn to our information technology people and ask -How do we meet these needs?-."
Participants determined that it was important to continue talks and recommended that more best practices be shared by city technology leaders and mayors so that the two could continue to learn from one another in future discussions. Participants also wanted to formalize this exchange by encouraging the establishment of an E-Governance leadership position in the Conference.
"We (CIOs) just don't have an opportunity to talk to the mayors like this," said Seattle CIO Bill Schrier. "It's important that we do it again."