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Digital update: Code for America, Agile Gov’t Leaders, GIS, and more!

Posted on June 11, 2019

Code for America group photo

Code for America

Last week, San Rafael employees descended upon the Code for America Summit in force. We heard inspiring stories of how to shape government in the digital age. George Gascon’s chief of staff Cristine Soto DeBerry shared how her office was able to automatically clear old marijuana convictions, giving thousands of people a second chance at getting jobs and housing. Former chief security officer of Facebook Alex Stamos, terrified us with his doom and gloom outlook on the future of privacy, security, and democracy. Earlonne Woods, from the Ear Hustle podcast, shared how important San Quentin’s rehabilitation programs are to the incarcerated and shed a light on the stories of our neighbors.

Talia Smith participated on a panel highlighting our lessons learned from the North Bay fires in standing up and our work developing the dormant MarinRecovers site. I enjoyed the opportunity to share San Rafael’s story in building a culture of openness through Together San Rafael, our employee website, and the importance of scaling solutions across jurisdictions. In addition, I co-presented on the importance of building trust while innovating in local government.

I shared our draft digital strategic framework with peers from all over the country, and at all levels of government. The feedback so far is that we are on the right track, and in many ways leading in this area.

Agile Government Leaders

Agile Government Leaders

Earlier this month, Gus Bush attended the California Agile Government Leaders Summit. Practitioners serving government in California gathered at the Summit in Sacramento to discuss how digital services can be improved through user-centered design, lean methodologies, product management, and open government.

His main takeaways were that San Rafael is ahead of the curve on much of this work, but don’t worry – there is plenty of great work still ahead in the “To Do” column.

GIS Browser Recommendation

Our internal GIS software has been experiencing some service interruptions lately including gray screens when zooming in, crashes when calling a report, or missing toolbars.

Browser selection: Due to these recent disruptions we recommend using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge to access the GIS service as the issues are not as common on these browsers (previously, we recommended Chrome or Firefox). If you are not seeing any problems, keep using the browser you have been using.

We are working on resolving the disruptions and will provide another update if our recommendation changes.

As a reminder, here is the URL for our GIS system: Please bookmark this URL for future use. If you have any problems or questions, please contact

Managed Service Provider Vendor Selection

On Tuesday, we hosted potential bidders for the citywide Managed Service Provider RFP in a Q&A session intended to inform interested companies on the current state of Citywide technology infrastructure and service level requirements. A total of 17 companies have expressed interest in submitting a proposal to take over managed IT services for the City, including 24/7 technology support for all Departments. Proposals are due June 17 and a cross-departmental will be assisting in the selection process. Thank you Chief Bishop, Bill Guerin, Catherine Quffa, David Catalinotto, and Cristine Alilovich for your help on this important project.

Reminder: We Want Your Feedback on Our Strategic Framework

The Department of Digital Service and Open Government Strategic Framework is available on our website and downloadable as a PDF. Please help us to make sure we are on the right track in planning the strategic objectives of our new department. How can we better serve City staff and the public?

Over the next month we are asking for feedback from City employees and the public, with the goal of presenting the framework to the City Council in August.

Watch a video about our new Strategic Plan

Take our survey and let us know what you think (Español)

Helping to Get the Word Out on SMART Road Closures

On behalf of SMART and the Larkspur team I would like to thank all of you for your ideas and assistance for both 2nd and 3rd street closures in the past two weekends. This was a major milestone that is now behind us and made us a step closure to run a train from San Rafael to Larkspur. – Ahmed Thleiji, SMART Engineer

Over the past few weeks Digital Service has been working closely with SMART, Public Works, the Police Department, Golden Gate Transit, Marin Transit, and regional agencies on outreach about Second and Third Street closures related to SMART construction on rail to Larkspur. Last weekend was the final weekend of street closures with Third Street closed between Hetherton Ave. and Tamalpais Ave from Friday, June 7 at 8:00pm through Monday, June 10 at 4:00am.

SMART 3rd St Closure

Website Lunch & Learn Well Attended

Our inaugural Lunch and Learn training session “Introduction to the City website” was a success with 17 staff members in attendance. The session was a quick dive into the essential functions of website administration including writing articles, editing pages, and publishing events. We look forward to hosting more technology training sessions in the future.

Help us determine what classes you are interested in by taking our Technology Training Survey.

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