Interview Grid

Tip O'Neil once said, "All politics is local," and while local government has long been the most accessible and most trusted level of government, the Information Age has put cities and counties in the center of many national issues. Here, our panel of mayors and local-government IT managers discuss their jurisdictions and some of the issues they face.

by , / September 30, 1998
Gary Gwyn entered city government in September 1962 as an administrative assistant to the public works director in Fort Worth, Texas, where he later served as assistant city manager. He has worked in four other Texas communities, as city manager of Canyon, Edinburg, Tyler and, currently, Grand Prairie. Gwyn also worked for a consulting firm that provided technical assistance to various governmental agencies.

William J. Hannon was recently appointed Boston's director management and information services. He previously served 10 years as superintendent of the city's Graphic Arts Department. As MIS director, he ensures that the city continues to develop online services such as Boston's Web page and street kiosks program. Hannon and his department have created community-based computer centers to bring technology and information resources into every neighborhood.

Paul Helmke, mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., for a decade, is the immediate past president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, and is a member of the Advisory Council for the National League of Cities. Helmke was president of the National Conference of Republican Mayors and Local Officials, and the Indiana Republican Mayors Association.

Jan Laverty Jones has been mayor of Las Vegas, one of the fastest growing cities in the country, for almost a decade. Planners predicted the Las Vegas Valley would be home to 1 million people by the year 2000, a milestone reached in 1994. The Stanford graduate serves on numerous state and local boards and commissions, and on the Executive Committee of the National Conference of Mayors. During the research of the city's year-2000 status, it became evident that many businesses had not even heard of Y2K, much less had they begun planning to assess and correct it. Consequently, a letter describing Y2K issues was drafted. These letters are now being sent to all businesses and nonprofit organizations in the city's business license database to increase awareness about Y2K.

Bob Knight, mayor of Wichita, Kan., is the second vice president to the National League of Cities and is active in the League of Kansas Municipalities, Summit of Mayors, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the local Salvation Army. During Knight's tenure, Wichita has been recognized with honors including the HUD Blue Ribbon for Best Practice in Community Development and All America City designation in 1990 and 1993.

Steve A. Steinbrecher became chief information officer of Northern California's Contra Costa County in June 1995 after serving as director of information systems for nearby San Joaquin County. A past president of the California County Information Services Director's Association, Steinbrecher sits on the executive advisory boards for the Government Technology Conference, Tech Expo, and California State University, Hayward, School of Information Technology and Communications.
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