Briefs: New York City to Audit Education IT Projects

Computer theft in Macon, Ga.; Mesa, Ariz., joins the crowdsourcing movement.

by / March 21, 2011

The New York City Comptroller has launched audits on two of the state’s Department of Education technology programs as a result of public requests, the city announced Sunday, March 20.

New York City Comptroller John C. Liu received audit requested on Department of Education operations at his “Audit Town Hall” meeting, which was held earlier this year in all five NYC boroughs.

Audits are being performed on the education department’s Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) and its Innovation Zone (iZone) initiative.

Due to suggestions received from the Manhattan Town Hall, the Comptroller’s Office decided to pursue an audit on ARIS. In 2007, the education department hired IBM to develop ARIS — an $80 million data collection system to track students’ academic records in unprecedented detail.

Liu received suggestions from both the Manhattan and Bronx Town Hall meetings to audit the education department’s iZone initiative — a project to adopt new technology practices in the classroom. Steve Vigilante, the education department’s deputy CIO, was nominated for Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for supporting the initiative iLearnNYC, a smaller project that is part of the iZone initiative.

Source: New York City Comptroller’s Office

Mesa, Ariz., Crowdsourcing Ideas for City Improvements

Mesa, Ariz., Mayor Scott Smith launched the iMesa initiative earlier this year to allow the city’s residents to submit “transformational ideas.”

The crowdsourcing initiative serves as a Web platform for engaging citizens to submit ideas and vote on proposals for improving the city. Users can submit their own ideas or vote up to 10 times on other ideas submitted to the site.

Submitted ideas are then collected by mayor- and council-appointed committees who will then report the suggestions back to City Council.

“The site is a tool to get the iMesa program rolling,” Smith said. “Once we have collected ideas and vetted them in citizen committees, then the fun begins with selecting and implementing iMesa projects developed by residents.”

Mesa Office of the Mayor

Computers Go Missing From Macon, Ga., IT Department

A total of $86,000 worth of computer equipment was reported missing on Monday, March 21, from the Macon, Ga.’s Information and Technology Department.

Nearly 55 desktop computers, 20 laptops and 40 monitors are missing, said Macon IT Director Stephen Masteller, but the department is making efforts to compile inventory to get a more exact amount of its missing equipment.

One police report says thefts could have started as early as last May. Only five people were reported to have keys to access the department’s storage area, and nearly 14 people have the key code to the door.

No arrests have been made.

Source: 11 Alive TV