Hello, World! The Department of Digital Service and Open Government, approved by the City Council on December 17, is a reorganization of the Information Technology Division that will expand services to include citywide open data initiatives, performance measurement, service design, and community engagement, in addition to traditional technology operations, help desk support, and network infrastructure.
Our purpose: helping to make City services better. We will do this by designing for users, practicing continual improvement, using data to drive to decisions, and modernizing our technology stack.
Funding for this new department has been accomplished through a reallocation of existing resources within the IT Division to pay for staff and projects. We are working now to transition IT into expanded roles while continuing support for citywide projects and help desk customer service care. We look forward to working with all the departments as we continue to grow into our new role.
Everyone is getting upgraded! The new Microsoft Office 2016 cloud connected features will help you maximize productivity across your devices and standardize the tools we use across the organization.
Over the past month, we’ve rolled out the upgrade with the Police Department, Human Resources, City Attorney, City Clerk, Finance, City Manager, and the Economic Development Department. We hope you are enjoying the new upgraded technology and will be reaching out to the rest of the City departments in the new year to schedule the remaining upgrades.
We are working closely with the Fire Department and Public Works in the construction projects at Fire Station 52 and 57 to ensure our first responders get the tech they need. We’re assisting with fiber installation, broadband service, telephone service, and equipment purchases for telephones, PCs, and video for the training facilities. In the last month Comcast has installed fiber optic lines at Station 52 and AT&T has installed service. These stations are getting real!
City Council Chambers Improvements
Over the past few months we’ve upgraded the Council Chambers technology solutions including the installation of HD video cameras and camera control system and installed new Assisted Listening capabilities, among other things. The new ‘Audio Anywhere’ will allow hearing impaired visitors to install an app onto their phone and have a direct audio connection to our audio system. This system augments our existing listening packs to help work towards accommodating hearing disabilities of all types. After testing Audio Anywhere in the City Council Chambers, we will work to get the system installed in other City facilities.
Coming Soon… Printing Services from the County
We soon plan to start using the County of Marin Printing Services for large print jobs rather than maintaining the existing in-house print shop service. The County’s Print Shop offers a full range of cost-effective printing options including hi-volume printing, posters, door-hangers, business cards, bulk-mail, banners, brochures, and more. We are working now to define the process and will be rolling out the new service to departments in early 2019.
Technology Training Resources
We are currently developing a Citywide Technology Training Program in coordination with inter-departmental efforts from the Together San Rafael Innovation and Learning Working Group. The Technology Training Program is intended to help raise the skill level of City of San Rafael employees by:
- Identifying the skill gaps amongst our staff;
- Creating a multi-modal training curriculum that meets staff needs;
- Uplifting all staff skill levels to provide a greater level of service.
Our first step in this process is to survey staff to find out what resources they need assistance with. We will roll out this survey to City employees in the new year, but eager participants are welcome to take the survey now.
In the meantime, all employees have access to Lynda.com training resources via the San Rafael Public Library. If you don’t have a Library card yet, reach out to Jamie at the Library to get one. We have started aggregating training resources on the Employee Website Tech Training Page.
Last week, the State of California announced Code California, an open collaboration between agencies, technology partners and civic technologists working to create a more innovative, collaborative and effective government. At this event, the State launched an open source policy and playbook to provide guidance on creating a collaborative, open source community.
The State’s move towards open source software follows a lot of great work in this area from the Federal government, with Code.gov. If government starts to leverage open source more widely, it could be a real game changer in government<>vendor relations. Right now, many vendors “lock-in” government clients with expensive proprietary systems. But by moving to an open source model, vendors will need to be more support and maintenance-minded. This is an exciting promise to anyone who has had to deal with a typical government technology vendor.
I had the honor of making a presentation at the Code California event about how we are building a culture of openness through the Together San Rafael initiative. I shared our employee website as well as our experience helping to stand up a disaster recovery website during the Tubbs fire (that was then used as a model to stand up a site for Butte County after the Camp fire), as examples of how practicing openness can scale innovation and solutions.
Thank You, Getty!
After almost 21 years with the City of San Rafael, Getty Ejigou will be retiring on December 31 of this year. Getty started as a part-time employee in the Information Technology Division before becoming full time in his current role as a Network Analyst. We will miss his calm demeanor, experience, and extensive knowledge of the City and the systems that help us work. Congratulations Getty and thank you for your service!