we want to address. We want to get to all that other stuff up front before we worry about the devices -- laptops, MDTs -- whatever they might be. Just buying more PCs is probably good and probably productive, but it may not be the answer to the problem you are trying to address.

GT: Describe how you and your city manager, Robert Terrell, work together when it comes to technology and city policy. What sort of relationship do the two of you have in terms of those two aspects of local government?

Di Paolo: We work together more like a team than anything else. I feel perfectly free to talk to Bob about issues that he needs to be aware of or he needs to address. We try to go about it in an organized way. We don't go to him willy-nilly with this, that and the other thing. We take care of things that really don't require policy decisions. Ninety-nine percent of my interaction with Bob is at a policy level: How would you like this to happen? He knows where he wants us to go as an organization. And I'm trying to do my part to get my part of the world moving that way, and helping the business units to accomplish the missions at hand. The interactions are more along those lines than anything else.

GT: You were recently appointed chairman of the PTI Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force -- a very influential group of IT leaders in local government. What do you hope to accomplish as head of this group?

Di Paolo: First, just as a group, we need to better share our knowledge. The group, which met most recently in Fort Worth last May, has done one of everything that any government would have to do, and yet each one of us is out there reinventing the wheel. [We need] to truly share our successes and failures: what went well, what didn't go well and why. We really need to share that information across [boundaries].

Second, we have to be able to look out into the future, and that's one of the things PTI is very good at -- getting to leading-edge kinds of issues, whether it's telecommunications or a particular technology. We really need to try and look at those issues and get out in front and see where they are going and address them from our perspective, as opposed to being dragged along.

We want to also help PTI to help local governments in general become better at what they do by deploying technologies, helping cities with lowering costs. We're really trying to do all those things.

GT: Your task force is small. Why aren't more local governments taking the time to meet and discuss issues and topics related to technology and telecommunications?

Di Paolo: There haven't been a lot of forums for local governments to participate in. The year-2000 effort and the Intergovernmental Enterprise Panel (IEP) added local government as a minor participant, and yet local government is where all those year-2000 things come home to people!

The federal government and state government have a lot of forums together to do technology or to participate in those kinds of discussions. States have forums. Local governments have forums within a state, generally, but not across the nation. There really don't exist a lot of forums for that. That's one of the limiting factors we're dealing with.

The smaller the government, the more difficult it is to participate, because it takes time and travel and expertise. You may not have that expertise on staff. It may be consulting staff that provides your expertise, and you don't send them to these meetings to represent your government.