PTI honors three for fostering IT in city and county government

PTI honors three for fostering IT in city and county government

By Claire E. House

GCN Staff

Three local government officials received Public Technology Inc.'s 1999 Technology Leadership Award at PTI's annual meeting this month.

City managers Eric Anderson of Des Moines, Iowa, and Michael Garvey of San Carlos, Calif., along with Sarasota County, Fla., administrator James Ley were recognized for advancing the use of technology within their governments.

Anderson has fostered use of geographic information systems across the enterprise for Des Moines, ultimately letting the city's departments evaluate policy alternatives and services based on GIS data.

He also gradually streamlined and stabilized the government'which in 1993 was facing bankruptcy following a flood'in part through deploying a $4 million management system from PeopleSoft Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif.

'What I wanted to do was not solve the immediate financial crisis; I wanted to solve it long term, and I didn't think that was possible without the use of technology,' Anderson said.

With Anderson's input, the city has outfitted all senior staff with personal digital assistants; brought e-mail, group scheduling and Internet access to city network users; installed a flight information system at the city's airport; and upgraded the library's mainframe system to a client-server setup.

San Carlos' small size'it has 28,000 residents'prompted Garvey to take the collaboration route. He brought five cities together to negotiate a cable TV contract. He also co-chaired Smart Permit Project, which brought several area cities an online permitting application.

Working together

'Technology afforded us the ability to change all of the ground rules and become far more effective, especially if you have regional cooperation,' Garvey said.

On the other side of the country, Ley prompted reorganization in Sarasota County that set the groundwork for technological advancements.

When county commissioners hired Ley in 1997, they wanted to build a county that would respond to community needs, do good work and be accountable to the commissioners and citizens, Ley said.

So he created eight business centers to replace traditional departments, which grouped similar functions to foster communications and efficient systems design.

PTI is the nonprofit technology R&D arm of the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties and the International City/County Management Association.

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