chnology grew from a $2 million budget and staff of four to the nation's largest law enforcement and corrections technology development program with an active portfolio of more than $750 million and a staff of more than 200 federal and contract personnel, and 18 technology centers in the country.

Boyd said his family is his most treasured accomplishment, followed by his 20 years of service in the Army and his creation of the Office of Science and Technology and the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center.

-- Jim McKay, justice editor

William Bratton

Chief of Police

Los Angeles

When William Bratton was appointed New York City police commissioner in 1994, he inherited a city of violence. By 1998, murders plunged from 1,946 to 629, and serious crimes dropped 39 percent. This drop was part of a national trend, but New York's decline was three times the national average. Part of the reason is CompStat.

CompStat is a system of computerizing and mapping crime data that Bratton helped develop. The system tracks where and why crimes occur, and increases accountability for solving them. It has since overlapped other government areas and provides a platform to make city employees more accountable for effective and efficient service delivery.

Now chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, Bratton enlisted CompStat to tackle an entrenched culture of violent gangs. With more resources, he hopes to make Los Angeles the country's safest large city.

"We know what to do about crime now. What's behind it all is the technology -- what originally started with push pins and flip charts," he said. "New York had a ton of cops, and with CompStat, we could hit a lot of different problems at the same time. Here, once I get beyond what's assigned to the various areas, I don't have much in the way of resources."

It will be a monumental task in Los Angeles, but Bratton supporters say no man is better for the job. In 1983, he became chief of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police Department. In three years, violent crimes there fell 37 percent.

From 1990 through 1991, Bratton was chief and senior vice president for the New York City Transit Authority Police Department. During that time, subway crime fell 50 percent.

-- Jim McKay, justice editor

Darlene Burcham

City Manager

Roanoke, Va.

City Manager Darlene Burcham played a key role in making Roanoke, Va., one of the nation's most tech-savvy cities. Roanoke is the only municipality to rank first in the Center for Digital Government's annual Digital Cities Survey in the 75,000-125,000 population category for three years running, from 2001 to 2003.

Innovations include free downtown wireless Internet access for public use, regional public kiosk access to promote the Roanoke Valley, and City Council webcasting.

In part, the Digital Cities award reflects Mayor Ralph Smith and the City Council's commitment to using IT to improve service delivery to residents and create a high-tech environment for local businesses. But it is the City Manager's Office that develops strategies to implement the City Council's vision for the future.

When Burcham became city manager in 2000, technology was not embraced by the city's administration.

"It wasn't seen as an activity that benefited the whole organization," she said. "It had primarily been geared to financial systems."

That quickly changed.

"I have some of the most talented people in technology you can imagine," she added. "They have sparked the enthusiasm of this organization so that technology is not just led by one part of the organization. It is part of the philosophy of the whole organization."

But this wasn't always the case. During her first couple of years, there was the usual resistance to change. She maintains that you need to approach existing culture in the right way to cause positive change.

"There is the constant challenge with the introduction of technology to make sure you do some re-engineering and you just don't have technology replicate the same processes you may have done in the past," she said.

She said this is often best done by asking employees and managers to offer suggestions on how the city can do things differently. By empowering staff, the silos of the past have virtually disappeared in Roanoke.

"I have people who are not only bright and talented in their respective fields, but they also have a sense of the whole," she said. "They care about more than just the department for which they have responsibility. They care about the whole community and the whole organization."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Craig Burlingame



Last year, Massachusetts and the city of Boston launched a virtual community for state and municipal CIOs and IT professionals. The partnership -- which allows IT executives and staff from smaller municipalities to hold online discussions with peers at state agencies -- was considered to be among the first of its kind in the nation.

The man behind the initiative was Boston CIO Craig Burlingame, who created the project to strengthen cooperation between state and local governments.

Burlingame, Boston's first CIO, knows a few things about collaboration. He took the Cabinet-level city CIO position after serving as CIO of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety, where he coordinated technology projects for 23 public safety agencies ranging from the Medical Examiner to the National Guard.

He said he's happy to be working in local government because of the immediacy of the job and because of the possibilities.

"There are no limits to the ways you can apply technology to government services, and the options, in terms of the technology, keep changing like crazy," he said. "Keeping up with it all is part of the fun. Working in the public sector is about a sense of purpose. It's not necessarily about turning a profit. It's not necessarily about making the next number."

Among other IT projects, Boston is revamping its network infrastructure, and focusing on automated forms processing and document imaging to jump-start the use of machine-readable paper forms. Burlingame said forms processing technology is a way to gain efficiencies on the back end of some city systems while still allowing constituents the flexibility to interact with government via the Web or filling out paper forms.

The city is also piloting two e-parking meter projects that allow people to pay meters with credit cards. In one pilot, he said, nearly 40 percent of motorists using the new meters that accept credit cards and coins have opted to pay with credit cards.

Burlingame said IT professionals face a curious challenge in the coming year: distraction.

"Departments are all struggling with resources issues," he said. "They're dealing with less people and less budget dollars. They're distracted, and still trying to deliver quality, important services with those constraints. Being able to focus on IT initiatives and making that kind of innovation a priority, with all those other distractions on their plate, unless you have a surplus of available man hours, it's hard to focus on big IT projects."

-- Shane Peterson, associate editor

Steve Cantler

Information Technologies Services Project Leader

Tampa, Fla.

When it comes to cutting-edge Web portals serving diverse needs of city residents, Tampa, Fla., leads the pack. For two years running, Tampa ranked first among cities with a population of 250,000 or more in the Digital Cities Survey.

The city's portal is rich in interactive, easy-to-navigate applications. Among the services offered through the Web are payments for traffic fines, business licenses and taxes; utility bills; and applications for construction permits.

Residents can also request police reports or report problems, such as potholes, drug use and prostitution. Businesses can secure various permits and inspection services. Anyone can access dynamic GIS maps of the city, and maps with crime statistics overlaid on specific locations. They can also tune in to live City Council meeting broadcasts.

It's hard to think of interactions with city officials and agencies that citizens can't do through the portal. The Web site not only complies with W3C accessibility guidelines, it also meets the more stringent federal Section 508.

"I take a lot of pride in the delivery of services that we provide through the Internet," said Steve Cantler, Information Technologies Services project leader. "We genuinely take to heart the terms 'citizen-centric' and 'life event focus.'"

Part of the challenge, said Cantler, was realizing when citizens want to communicate, complain or access services, it is often simply "the city" as far as most residents are concerned.

"The way we are organized almost works against the citizen-centric view," added Cantler. "All the various departments and agencies have their own diversity of interests, and naturally want to compete for their slice the pie. It was difficult and challenging to convince everyone equally that we are all in this together."

At the end of the day, said Cantler, it has to be about delivering the best public service possible with existing resources. "We always have to keep things in the right perspective and remember we are serving the public's interests, not our own and not stovepipe interests. To accomplish what we've done and make genuine progress, all departments and agencies in the city needed to share in a common goal, vision and direction."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Jack Corrie


California Public Employees' Retirement System

Editor's Note: Jack Corrie was named chief deputy director for strategic service delivery at the Department of Motor Vehicles on March 1, 2004.

As CIO for the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), Jack Corrie saved millions of dollars for one of the world's largest public pension funds. He transformed his organization into one of the most progressive governmental IT organizations in California.

CalPERS manages pension and health benefits for approximately 1.3 million California public employees, retirees and their families. To advance the financial and health security of system participants, CalPERS runs three complex lines of business, which rely heavily on technology.

CalPERS runs a full investment operation with all the technology needed to support trading. It is also one of the largest health providers in the country, and technology is vital to ensuring that health-care administration is cost-effective.

Finally, there is the retirement program itself, for which Corrie implemented a Web services strategy, including Web-enabled environments for connections between 2,600 employees, business-to-business and member self-service.

"Things that used to take months to do now are done instantaneously or within a day or two," Corrie noted.

Government's biggest challenge, Corrie said, continues to be reinventing service delivery.

"This involves truly undertaking re-engineering efforts by understanding the organization's lines of business and simplifying those lines to break the bureaucracy, fix its budget processes and continue to consolidate its footprint through the use of technology," he said. "The end goal is always to deliver better, faster and cheaper service to citizens."

This necessitates staying abreast of technology trends. "As a CIO, you have to ensure the organization you work for stays current enough on their technology to deliver on the vision of the organization," he added. "So mapping those two together is a huge challenge."

Corrie's continuing efforts and success in doing this resulted in the development of an integrated, self-service strategy and solution that not only allows CalPERS customers to do business with the organization online, but also has eliminated much of the back-office workload associated with those transactions.

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

James Dillon


New York State

Not many CIOs were bus drivers prior to entering public service, but for three years, New York state CIO James Dillon piloted a Greyhound bus in New England, driving in harsh winter conditions. Perhaps that gave him the steady nerves to direct IT policies and operations for the state with the second largest IT budget in the nation.

Prior to Dillon's appointment by Gov. George Pataki in January 2002, agency fiefdoms abounded when it came to IT. That was good for individual programs, but bad for enterprise planning and strategic initiatives. That's no longer the case.

Dillon used his 20-plus years of government experience to bring cohesion and unity to the state's technology and telecommunications programs by setting standards and imposing tough requirements on vendors to deliver quality solutions.

Perhaps Dillon's biggest mark on IT in New York is his effort to leverage collaboration to get things done in tight fiscal times. He created the CIO Council as a formal organization for public-sector IT executives in the state to meet and work on shared interests and issues. He brought local government CIOs and IT directors to the table as well.

Dillon's outreach effort for more interagency and intergovernmental collaboration is part of a carefully planned initiative. Shortly after becoming CIO, Dillon told Government Technology, "I want to ensure that good ideas at the state level don't adversely impact local governments as they try and do their job. We have to ensure that we look at local government as a customer because we believe they are an important customer."

In two short years as New York's first CIO, Dillon has shown he has what it takes to lead.

--Tod Newcombe, editor, Public CIO

Frank Fairbanks

City Manager

Phoenix, Ariz.

In recent years, Phoenix has emerged as a leading example of good, caring management and service.

Since City Manager Frank Fairbanks was appointed in 1990, both he and the city have garnered recognition and honors. The city appeared on CIO magazine's CIO-100 list in 2001 and 2002, even before the planned city Web portal had the host of transaction services it now offers businesses and citizens. The city placed 4th in the Center for Digital Government's Best of the Web competition for 2003.

American City & County magazine selected Fairbanks as the "1994 Municipal Leader" of the year. Also during Fairbanks' tenure, Phoenix won an international competition to be named "Best Run City in the World" by the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany.

The city portal initiative grew from a citywide task force Fairbanks appointed. "If government is going to have the respect of the community -- which is at least as important to government as it is to businesses -- government needs to demonstrate to the public that we are as responsive, effective, and in today's world, as fast as the private sector," he said. "That is a great challenge because as a result of technology and the Internet, the private sector is speeding up all the time."

Fairbanks maintains that people in government must see themselves in competition with the private sector -- not to earn a dollar, but to gain the public's loyalty and support.

"The success of any organization lies in its people," he added. "We've had great success in using technology. For that I must credit our people working in the technology sector. We have developed a group of employees at the city that believe innovation and advancing technologically is important to delivering services. They are committed to working with each other to achieve this."

Fairbanks' formula for success is to ensure they have the wherewithal to innovate.

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Carol Fukunaga

State Senator


Save for a four-year absence, Carol Fukunaga has served in Hawaii's Legislature since 1978 -- first in the House, then in the Senate. During that four-year break, she was executive officer for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

Fukunaga now chairs the state Senate's Economic Development Committee and is a member of the Science, Arts and Technology Committee.

Since 1991, Hawaii has operated an information services network, Hawaii FYI, which gives residents access to a broad array of international, national and state government databases and information services.

Hawaii is unique, Fukunaga said, because the state has a foot in both the East and the West, giving it the best of both worlds.

"More and more, you see students that have grown up in a digital world really beginning to take their place as technology leaders," she said. "It's exciting to work with a lot of the young talent."

Hawaii faces problems with rugged topography and hard-to-reach rural areas when trying to make the Internet available to everyone. Despite this challenge, Fukunaga said, Hawaii is making progress.

"Wireless technologies can give older, rural schools the chance to jump over the landline problem and the high-speed bandwidth connectivity problems and go straight into something that might be cheaper and a lot more flexible and innovative," she said. "Wireless technologies and digital media are probably going to be two areas that we spend a lot of time on in the Legislature this year."

Hawaii is pursuing pilot projects with companies such as Sony to test the use of smart cards to deliver government services, which Fukunaga said is in keeping with the state's willingness to try new things.

"We're very isolated here, and we sort of have to rely on ourselves," she said. "We were one of the early states to pass telecommunications deregulation and public access legislation. Some of those areas have really been models for other parts of the country as well as being factors that have now positioned Hawaii to make some major advances on the economic development side.

"Hawaii is, today, one of the most rapid acceptors of new technology," she said. "That level of usage is partly the result of many of the Legislature's early efforts."

-- Shane Peterson, associate editor

Mark Johnson

Executive Director

North Dakota Association of Counties

Appointed to his position in 1983, Mark Johnson has seen his share of public-sector vagaries. During 30 years of government involvement, Johnson has been a lobbyist, project coordinator for the Old West Regional Commission, water resource planner for the North Dakota Water Commission, project manager at TPI and assistant to the director of the Grand Forks Urban Renewal Agency.

He was instrumental in creating an innovative role for the North Dakota Association of Counties (NDACo), one the association has expanded over the past few years. NDACo offers IT services and helps counties with IT planning, tech support, e-government projects and implementing state-mandated electronic programs.

NDACo has IT services contracts with 37 of North Dakota's 53 counties. The contracts guarantee 24-hour response time, one or two visits to the county per year and phone support. NDACo also plays middleman by assisting the North Dakota Information Technology Department during rollouts of statewide IT applications counties must deploy.

NDACo's work puts the association at the intersection of federal, state and local government, Johnson said.

"Anytime I can create success by doing things cooperatively, we've found it has allowed the association to generate non-dues revenue sources and to continue to expand and to bring on the quality staff we need to provide those kinds of services," Johnson said.

NDACo also creates new technology jobs in the state, he said, by helping counties gain a foothold in the Internet world. That, in turn, helps rural communities retain their citizens, particularly recent college graduates.

"If they don't see technology as something they can utilize back home, that's one of the first reasons they're not interested in coming back to the state," Johnson said. "E-government, the ability to bring technology jobs to the rural areas of the state, that's the solution. But it's a tough row to hoe."

-- Shane Peterson, associate editor

Laura Larimer



Under the tenure of CIO Laura Larimer, Indiana's state portal, accessIndiana, has become a leading example of doing things right. Today, accessIndiana features more than 200,000 pages of content and more than 175 interactive applications.

AccessIndiana operates under a self-supporting, public-private enterprise model, which has allowed the entire network to be built and maintained without spending tax dollars. Some services levy small user fees, but 99 percent of the portal's information and services are free to the public. It is produced and maintained by a private partner, Indiana Interactive Inc.

Larimer's Department of Information Technology also provides management and security for the state voice and data communications network, which includes a wide area network that offers access to all state public entities. Her department provides application design and development services for back-office systems that support Internet, intranet and extranet deployment.

Some of Larimer's biggest challenges are continuing progress and evolution of the portal and staying ahead of the technology curve. "The usage continues to grow," she said. "The technologies continue to change and present new business and service opportunities."

She adds that managing change is a significant part of her job. "One of the challenges of getting things done in government is that we are big," she said. "That's not unique. I think that is a challenge in almost any large organization, having worked for some of the largest. When you are big, you simply are in a more complex environment. There are more consequences to any given change."

Larimer's solution is to encourage constant communication and collaboration -- across departments, within departments, with local government and across branches of government. "This is absolutely critical to move ahead on projects. You have to fully understand your environment before making a change that could have unintended consequences."

Included in her accomplishments is effective marketing of the portal. "When I first came to this job, I would say the portal was one of the country's best-kept secrets," she said. "We have done a much better job promoting portal services to citizens in the last few years."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Liza Lowery


Los Angeles

Just being general manager of the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency might be enough stress for anybody. Being the city's first CIO could pile on even more, but Liza Lowery is used to it. This is the second time she's been the first CIO of a city.

Her start in the public sector was in Hillsborough County, Fla., as the operational services manager and assistant director of Information & Technology Services. Her next stop was Milpitas, Calif., where she was the city's first CIO, then she jumped to CIO of the city/county of San Francisco.

In Los Angeles, Lowery shepherded the city's launch of a massive 311 call system in November 2002, and her agency runs the call center behind the 311 application. She's also in the midst of a "CIO Initiative" to assess the city's IT enterprise in terms of people, hardware and software.

Lowery said the first phase of the tnitiative will result in recommendations to the mayor and City Council on the roles and responsibilities for IT in the city. She said the council and mayor want to know who's in charge of what, and who's responsible for what. The second phase will focus on technology and operational processes.

"It's getting easier every day to see the impact that IT in local government has in your community," she said. "That's what motivates me. When I first started out in IT, it had just gone from being called 'data processing' to being called 'MIS.' It was still very back room. Now, I manage the 311 call center. I have an Emmy award-winning cable TV channel. I deliver government services over the Web. I interact with the public a lot more than I did then."

Though Los Angeles, like many other cities, is facing tough budget times, Lowery said there's reason to be hopeful.

"I think it's our biggest opportunity, and I'm going to be able to do some things a little earlier than I had thought I would be able to get them accepted," she said. "It isn't just IT. It's everybody, and we're trying to help the departments get their focus in place."

-- Shane Peterson, associate editor

Stuart McKee

Director and CIO

Department of Information Services

Washington state

In April 2002, former Walt Disney executive Stuart McKee was appointed by Gov. Gary Locke to fill the post vacated by CIO superstar Steve Kolodney.

The state's reputation as an IT leader attracted McKee to the job, and he has continued moving the state forward. Washington recently won the Center for Digital Government's Sustained Leadership Award. "I think this was a recognition not only of our ability to do a good thing and be out in front, but to be out in front year after year," McKee said. "That award reflected the momentum of my organization before I got here, and it recognized that the momentum has carried through, and in many cases, is accelerating."

As reflected in his department's mission statement, that momentum is directed at transforming the state's government. McKee added that many people have bright ideas; the real test is getting things done.

"In a position like mine, where technology is changing so quickly and so dramatically, the biggest challenge is engaging the people whose world is going to change and helping them see that the future is better," he said.

McKee views privacy and identity theft as some of the biggest challenges government faces.

"The economic development opportunities of a connected world have yet to be realized, and many of the hurdles are related to digital authentication and our ability to conduct electronic business," he said. "Much of our privacy legislation has been written from a fear standpoint. We have created some laws and regulations that, in many cases, are not implementable or are burdensome, and are damaging to privacy and economic development possibilities."

A third challenge is the jurisdictional boundaries that have been built and institutionalized in government. "In many cases, our funding processes and procedures are absolutely propagating silos and fiefdoms," he said. "That has to change ultimately by getting people to embrace a new way of doing business."

McKee didn't anticipate his enthusiasm for public service, explaining it by citing a proverb: "A great society is built by those who are willing to plant trees they know they will never sit under."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Gino Menchini

Commissioner, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications

New York City

When you are the CIO and your boss understands technology as well as you, you better be on your toes. Now imagine your boss is the mayor of the country's largest city, which also has the nation's largest concentration of media. Anything that goes wrong might be on the national as well as local news that evening.

Welcome to the world of politics and technology in the Big Apple. Gino Menchini has worked in this high-stakes world since Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed him commissioner of the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications in 2001.

Bloomberg talks both big issues and details when using technology as a catalyst in city government, and Menchini carries out the high-tech mayor's IT vision.

For 17 years, Menchini served in various city IT management positions, including the Board of Education and the Mayor's Office of Operations. When he began as commissioner, Menchini was handed one of the toughest assignments ever: Turn the city's far-flung call centers and complaint phone lines into an integrated, three-digit hotline backed by telephony, and customer relationship management and GIS software.

Many would have flinched at taking on such a task under the hot glare of the nation's sharp-eyed press, but Menchini relished the chance to attack a significant problem in today's city governments -- ineffective citizen services -- and improve it with the latest technology. He's also helped the mayor transform city operations.

Building the country's largest public-sector 311 system isn't Menchini's only accomplishment. He's taken on important IT projects involving wireless, education and public safety. But like many successful CIOs, he doesn't rest on his laurels.

It doesn't hurt to hear what others have said about the impact of technology on New York City. "311 really has changed the way we do business," Thomas R. Frieden, the city's health commissioner, told the New York Times. "What it allows us to do is reach people -- or allow people to reach us -- much more efficiently."

-- Tod Newcombe, editor, Public CIO

Steve Monaghan


Nevada County, Calif.

Nevada County may seem like a sleepy, rural California jurisdiction, but plenty of things are happening under the surface.

Nevada County, along with the California State Library and San Mateo County, has worked on the California Counties Information Architecture (CCIA) Project since early 2001. It began as an effort to create information standards the two counties could use to redesign their respective Web sites. The project has since flourished, and in a little more than two years, 12 counties have joined.

Nevada County also is developing a generic, prebuilt Web site that could give other small counties or cities an inexpensive way to buy a Web site already based on the information architecture. Nevada County can use that prebuilt site to quickly develop and host Web sites for other jurisdictions, Monaghan said, and three counties are talking to him about doing just that. Monaghan said Nevada County already created a site for Plumas County's Public Health Agency, and it will design and host a Web site for Nevada City.

Monaghan joined Nevada County in April 1999 after serving as a principal partner in a technical services and consulting firm that did business with a variety of industries, including banks, high-tech companies, health-care providers, schools and nonprofits.

Monaghan said he finds working in the public sector rewarding.

"In the private sector, we were just out to make a buck," he said. "It's just a completely different sense of satisfaction coming out of the work. You would put in a technical solution for, say, an HMO or an insurance agency. You would help that operation be more profitable and successful, but you never saw the end customer. Everything I do for any of the departments in the county, I see the end customer, whether it be a library patron, somebody paying their tax bill online or getting a permit online."

-- Shane Peterson, associate editor

George Newstrom

Secretary of Technology


Many technology executives -- current and former -- will tell you directing a large public-sector IT organization is almost more than one person can handle. So imagine having another job. George Newstrom, Virginia's secretary of technology, holds down the dual roles of IT czar and chief strategist for economic development.

Few people could take on both positions and do them well, but Newstrom is no ordinary person. The ex-Marine spent 28 years at systems integrator EDS, where he filled an array of executive positions before ending his career at the firm as president of Asia Pacific-Information Solutions. When Virginia Gov. Mark Warner tapped him as his technology point man, Newstrom had amassed considerable knowledge and experience working in EDS' health-care and government sectors, and involved himself in various advisory and leadership roles on numerous foundations and boards.

But his biggest challenge -- and opportunity -- came when Warner gave Newstrom the job of reforming the state's highly decentralized IT infrastructure, services and resources into a consolidated, centralized program that would rein in costs while boosting services to citizens and businesses. The governor also gave Newstrom the task of attracting investments to grow the state's tech-based economy, boosting research funding for the state's public universities and colleges, commercializing intellectual property and increasing broadband deployment.

Virginia's IT reform effort is perhaps the biggest under way at the state level. Newstrom admits the complex job is far from complete. But the wheels are turning and the first of dozens of agencies have begun to consolidate their IT infrastructure and resources under the control of Virginia Information Technologies Agency.

Despite the huge responsibility Newstrom carries, the secretary is a quiet man with a ready smile who enjoys talking with leaders in the IT industry and government about ways to make IT a better tool in the hands of the public sector.

-- Tod Newcombe, editor, Public CIO

Catherine Maras O'Leary


Cook County, Ill.

Catherine Maras O'Leary -- CIO of Cook County, Ill., since 1997 -- was centralizing IT before centralizing was cool.

About five years ago, she initiated a server consolidation and standardization campaign that continues to move servers once scattered across 80 county facilities into eight strategically located server farms. The move slashed Cook County's costs for owning and operating information technology. It also helps the jurisdiction -- the nation's second-largest county by population -- operate with a fraction of the IT staff in comparable counties.

The notion of standardizing and consolidating IT assets may be well accepted now, particularly as government jurisdictions struggle with declining revenue and shrinking budgets. But O'Leary said the enterprise approach initially took some selling to skeptical agencies accustomed to keeping their servers in-house.

"We worked with agencies to show them the true cost of ownership -- and that really won them over," she said.

A hands-on manager who readily rolls up her sleeves to work beside her staff, O'Leary also took a centralized approach to key county software systems. For instance, Cook County developed a central GIS application that is shared by multiple county departments, as well as municipalities -- such as Chicago -- that are located within the 935-square-mile jurisdiction.

O'Leary calls the countywide GIS one of her proudest achievements, noting that the technology gives multiple government agencies tools for improving the lives of 5.3 million county residents.

She anticipates similar results from a countywide wireless network currently under construction. The integrated voice, data and video network's primary mission is public safety. Police and fire departments throughout Cook County will rely on it to access and exchange critical information. However, O'Leary also expects the new network to give mobile workers, such as county building inspectors, wireless access to GIS images and other data.

"Our motto is 'do it once and do it right,'" said O'Leary. That approach continues to serve O'Leary and Cook County residents well.

-- Steve Towns, editor

William F. Pelgrin


Office of Cyber Security & Critical Infrastructure Coordination

New York State

William Pelgrin is New York's virus, worm and malicious code exterminator. He monitors state networks for suspicious cyber-activities, coordinates how data on the state's critical infrastructure is collected and maintained, and leads and coordinates preparation for cyber-attacks.

Pelgrin created the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MSISAC), with no formal blueprint or carefully orchestrated strategic plan. The MSISAC -- a clearing-house for governments to exchange intelligence about high-tech terrorists -- was established in January 2003 with 10 states and now includes 46 member states.

"Our homeland security director brought the 10 northeast states together from a homeland security perspective, and asked me to speak on the cyber and critical infrastructure side," Pelgrin told Government Technology last year when the MSISAC was just getting started. "At that meeting I said, 'Why don't we start sharing information? Why don't we tear down the walls and start doing something instead of just talking about it?'"

The goal is to recruit all 50 states to join the MSISAC and create a centrally coordinated mechanism for sharing important security intelligence and information between states. It can also serve as a critical contact point between states and the federal government.

Pelgrin chairs the Public/Private Sector Cyber Security Workgroup, part of the New York State Cyber Security Task Force established by Gov. George Pataki in March 2002. Prior to assuming his cyber-security role in September 2002, Pelgrin directed the state's Office for Technology, managing the office's growth from a small, policy-oriented task force into an agency with more than 600 employees.

His current mission springs from heightened security concerns following 9/11. Pelgrin said the tragedy led him to evaluate what he most wanted to do. "In over 20 years of government service in the state of New York, it has always boiled down to the impact I can make," he added. "The bottom line is always how many people can I touch and make things better for. And then I try to surround myself with the best people who have that same philosophy."

In Pelgrin's view, it became crucial after 9/11 to improve cyber-security and prepare for events that threaten both the cyber and physical infrastructure. In his current position, Pelgrin works directly to achieve this in New York state. Through collaboration and information sharing, he helps ensure that lessons learned can assist other states and even other countries.

On that front, Pelgrin views avoiding complacency as one of government's biggest challenges. "Post-9/11, the paradigm shifted," he said. "In the past, government generally did a really good job in responding to and recovering from disasters, whether natural or man-made. We usually lacked resources on the prevention and detection side. In my opinion, to recover and respond is always more expensive than to prevent and detect."

Changing the culture, Pelgrin said, is the only way to ensure long-term security. For this reason, he is working to engineer cultural change in state government, in the vendor community and even among citizens -- mostly through online public education. "Cyber-vigilance," he said, "needs to become as much second nature as fastening one's seatbelt."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Gail Roper

Director of Information Technology

Kansas City, Mo.

Since 1996, when Gail Roper was recruited from Austin, Texas, to develop an IT infrastructure strategy for Kansas City, she has played a significant role in making that city one of the country's most technologically sophisticated municipalities.

Her accomplishments include overseeing deployment of a fiber-optic ring around Austin to provide high-speed connectivity to the school district, local government and the University of Texas.

"As CIO, it has been my job to make certain we are accomplishing what we set out to do and that it has value -- that it really has an impact on the organization, particularly as it relates to efficiency, productivity, [and] access for the citizens," she said.

To achieve this, Kansas City significantly changed the way it manages IT. "We have transformed ourselves into a consulting arm for the organization," Roper explained. "Now, as well as a team of technical people, we have as many business consultants and business analysts. We are now talking about things like return on investment, financial models and total cost of ownership for IT initiatives, both now and into the future."

As a government entity, Kansas City didn't have the option of wholesale firing and rehiring. So to transform the IT department, Roper developed strategies to reskill existing staff. "We really had to look at our human resources and human capital and decide how we were going to get those individuals reskilled to work on enterprise initiatives, doing the kind of business analysis that was needed. In essence, we took COBOL programmers and turned them into PeopleSoft support people."

Roper believes government's biggest challenge is accountability. This involves not simply proving ROI for technology, but also across the organization. "We need to take the lid off government, so our constituency understands what's going on within government in regard to services," she said. "In today's economy, we really have to prove value and improve service by doing more with less."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Eliot Shapleigh

State Senator


Sen. Eliot Shapleigh sees technology not just as a good idea, but a force that can help solve some of this country's most pressing problems. By initiating, designing and passing several pieces of legislation in Texas, he played a pivotal role in achieving many state e-government initiatives, including TexasOnline, a leading state portal for online government services; the state's education portal; Texas' online high school curriculum; IT infrastructure enhancements; and a Technology Immersion Pilot Project, which champions wireless technology in classrooms.

He was one person behind a new requirement that procurement officials conduct ROI assessments to better determine the costs and benefits of Texas' IT purchases.

He's most proud of an initiative to put laptops into lending laboratories in elementary school libraries. "In El Paso, only one in 10 households have home computers," he said. "With this program, I believe we have solved the digital divide better than any other American community."

Shapleigh sees El Paso, the area he represents, as the frontier of the future. The area has a large population of recent immigrants. "If Texas does not solve the issue of how to deliver a quality education to everyone here, the average Texas family income will have dropped $6,500 by 2030," he said.

"Government's biggest challenge -- local, state or federal -- is education," he added. "How do we create a 21st century quality education in this country? How do we deliver that education, measure it and ensure that every child has an opportunity to get educated? And how do we advocate for the public funds necessary to provide that quality program?"

America must answer those questions, Shapleigh said, if it wants to continue along the path of prosperity. If the challenge can be met in his district, in part by using technology as a cutting-edge way to deliver education, it can be met anywhere. "Government's future," he said, "really depends on educating a population for a knowledge-based economy."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

David Sullivan


Virginia Beach, Va.

As a top-six finisher in the Center for Digital Government's Digital Cities Survey in 2002 and a third-place finisher in 2003, technology is clearly important to Virginia Beach.

To city CIO David Sullivan, IT is business as usual. He's worked in Virginia Beach's public sector for 30 years and became CIO in 1999. Prior to being CIO, he headed the Desktop Microcomputer Unit of the city's Information Technology Department.

"I get a lot of reward out of seeing the things we do make a difference to people," Sullivan said, noting that about 82 percent of Virginia Beach households use the Internet regularly.

In November 2003, the city's Web site broke 500,000 user sessions per month, he said. "It's going up 2 to 4 percent every month and shows no signs of letting up," he said. "There seems to be an insatiable appetite for information about what government is doing and being able to interact with your government."

Sullivan, whose department supports approximately 6,000 employees and 3,800 workstations, recently added a live help feature -- available during business hours -- to the Virginia Beach Web site, and he's planning to implement a citywide 311 system.

However, Sullivan often fights a mindset familiar to many public-sector CIOs. "We still struggle with the silos and the whole concept of an enterprise," he said. "Even though today we have much more enterprise technology than we've ever had before, taking it to the next level -- which means beginning to pull out applications that have always been run by the business units -- is still difficult."

But his biggest challenge stems from the volume of IT projects under way in the city.

"How much change can you manage at one time?" he said. "We have programmed for next fiscal year two major enterprise initiatives -- the HR payroll system, and we're replacing our tax and revenue systems. Those are two massive projects that impact areas you can't afford a mistake in. There's a lot of risk when you do one of these projects."

-- Shane Peterson, associate editor

Mark Warner



Virginia Gov. Mark Warner inherited a fiscal mess when he took office in 2001. Facing a budget shortfall of nearly $6 billion, Warner could have easily lost control of one of the nation's most ambitious school reform initiatives.

Instead, he balanced the state's budget without new revenues and without cutting K-12 education.

But what truly captured our attention is the tight bond Warner has created between IT, government services and economic development. To a degree not seen before, he put technology policy on the same plane as other key agendas embraced by most state executives.

His vision for technology and government stems partly from his 20 years as a venture capitalist, including founding the technology venture capital fund Columbia Capital Corp.

It also has to do with the fact that Warner understands technology is an enabler that can transform state government from its Industrial Age structure into a transparent, responsive public-sector organization that reflects the Information Age we now live in.

Working with Technology Secretary George Newstrom, Warner is aggressively reforming state IT use by consolidating IT infrastructure and centralizing services. He is also reining in how the state plans, budgets and tracks IT expenditures, and insisting on