In addition, Gerhards directed several public safety projects, such as a consolidated interagency public safety radio system that provides both voice and data communications. Another groundbreaking project, JNET, integrated all of the state's criminal justice databases. "This system has been responsible for identifying rapists and robbers and others that, to date, hadn't been identified," he said. "The technology has allowed us to pull a lot of information together, and basically locate individuals that heretofore we were unable to locate."
Other implementations Gerhards oversaw include consolidating 17 data centers into one, which was then outsourced to the private sector; equipping all state agencies with uniform desktop software and a common e-mail system; and creating interoperability among agencies. In July 2002, the state started its Imagine PA ERP implementation, which streamlined management of accounting, budget, payroll, personnel and purchasing. The new system also allows real-time access to the data.
-- Emily Montandon, Copy Editor
The youngest mayor in Baltimore's history is bridging the digital divide by building a digital harbor. As startup technology firms flocked to the city, Martin O'Malley launched a task force to develop strategies for capturing a slice of the New Economy's potential. The resulting policies have had sweeping impact on the city and surrounding region.
"A couple of years ago, there was a lot of talk about the New Economy," he said in his 2002 "Window to the World" speech. "The reality is that we may not need the term 'New Economy' anymore because it has become the reality in which we operate."
Soon after his election in 1999, O'Malley launched CitiStat, an initiative to improve access to city services through IT.
"If we only looked at performance every year at budget time, I'd be old and gray before anything would change," he said in a Democrat Leadership Council model initiative. "CitiStat brings the sense of urgency we need."
The program strengthens vital city services such as trash collection, housing and development, and public health. Additional programs monitor lead paint in old buildings, evaluate drug treatment center effectiveness and focus on youth recreation facilities. O'Malley also created one number citizens dial for city services; after receiving the call, a new CitiTrack system assigns a tracking number and routes it to the appropriate agency.
To identify strengths and weaknesses in government programs and departments, CitiStat provides immediate data, such as employee overtime, frequency and type of citizen complaints, and response time to specific cases. City officials meet with agency representatives biweekly to discuss the data and hold managers accountable on delivering results.
"Baltimore has a lot to offer," O'Malley said. "Everyone here knows our region's strengths, as well as our challenges. By focusing on results, we can build on those strengths and overcome each of our challenges."
-- Jessica Jones, Managing Editor