February 14, 2003 By Government Technology
-- Tod Newcombe, Features Editor
Chief Information Officer
Living and working on an island thousands of miles from the mainland requires a fair amount of self-sufficiency; opportunities in insular Hawaii don't arise the same as in the lower 48 states. That may explain why Courtney Harrington, Honolulu's CIO, doesn't seem ordinary.
His startup of one of the first virtual companies in the country -- when Compuserve was the best online network available -- and his time as a local news anchor, while simultaneously working for the previous mayor and writing software programs on the side gave Harrington skills and confidence to rise above Hawaii's physical isolation, creating one of the most digitally advanced cities in the country. Honolulu ranked No. 1 in the annual Digital Cities survey twice, and the city's Web site also ranked first among cities with populations between 250,000 and 500,000 by the Civic Resource Center in 2001.
Harrington's key to success was not hiring expensive consultants or a software firm that promised a flashy Web site -- it was performing basic IT management and including well-planned IT infrastructure. For local governments, that means workflow and content management. Honolulu converted nearly 200 paper forms into electronic format and re-engineered the workflow, saving millions of tax dollars. The city then added applications that delivered value to both citizens and the city, such as an economic development Web site with tools to analyze marketability of new business locations around Honolulu. For just $30,000, the city gave businesses digital maps and online data to help them decide where to build or expand. It's typical of what Harrington and his staff -- long on technology skills and vision, and short on financial resources -- can put together.
Having done numerous stints in the private sector, including running his own company and his media work, he knows there's nothing like the public sector. "Working in public service is fun because you get to wear so many different hats," he said. "I've got 21 different departments; each is like a separate company that I've got to help. That makes my job interesting."
-- Tod Newcombe, Features Editor
Jean Hoefer Toal
South Carolina Supreme Court
Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal is the guiding force behind South Carolina's Judicial Automation Project, an ambitious plan to modernize state courts by integrating technology into all court levels -- from the Supreme Court to the Magistrate Court.
The first phase of the estimated five-year project began with a Strategic Technology Plan in 2000, advancing to various implementations the following year and beyond.
"We're a small, rural state and our biggest challenge was to link our 46 counties, each of which has its own book of cases and book of business, to link them into a really, truly unified court system so that cases could be managed all across the jurisdictions, both the larger and the smaller rural counties," Toal said.
Before serving on the Supreme Court, Toal practiced law for 20 years. She was elected as an Associate Justice in 1988, was re-elected in 1996 and was installed as Chief Justice in March 2000 -- the first and only woman to serve in that capacity in South Carolina.
Toal served in the state House of Representatives for 13 years and was the first woman to chair a standing committee there. Her legislative service included floor leadership of complex legislation in the fields of constitutional law, utilities regulation, criminal law, structure of local government, budgetary matters, structure of the judicial system, corporate law, tort claims, workers' compensation, environmental law, and banking and finance legislation.
She is adamant about the necessity of a "connected" criminal justice system. "Post 9-11, we all know what the power of linked information
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