March 1, 2010 By Andy Opsahl
Arvada, Colo., IT Director Michele Hovet is a rising star in local government IT, thanks to her knack for promoting communication among local IT leaders and deploying leading-edge technology in small cities.
The accolades from her work say it all: The Denver suburb of Arvada has a long history of technology achievements, having been a top-10 finisher in the Center for Digital Government's Digital Cities Survey the past five years, including a second-place ranking in 2009.
Hovet is vice chair of the Government Shared Services Council, a subcommittee of the Colorado Government Association of Information Technology. In this capacity, she has aggressively advocated for a local government cloud through which Colorado cities and counties could share services. Hovet and her fellow council members envision an arrangement in which one city or county hosts e-mail services for others, while another hosts financial services, and so on.
"I don't think the economy is going to allow us to sustain the single IT model that we've seen in local government," she said. Hovet's also putting Arvada on equal footing with bigger cities like San Francisco and New York City that are embracing the "open data" trend. Arvada might emulate Washington, D.C.'s Apps for Democracy contest, where residents earn prizes for creating innovative applications using city data.
"I envision publishing that data and hopefully coming up with a way to use the data in a way we wouldn't have thought of," she said.
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