March 8, 2006 By Tod Newcombe
Ron Bergmann -- who was raised in a family where civic duty was a calling, not just an idea -- expected to work in government for a year and then return to graduate school.
But the calling proved too strong. "I've been with the city for nearly 27 years now," he said with pride.
Bergmann has worked in various capacities for New York City, including the Department of Health during the West Nile virus outbreak, the bombing of the World Trade Center and the anthrax scares; but for the past three years, he has been deputy commissioner for the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) in the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT).
"I help the CIO define and implement cost-effective enterprise technology initiatives to meet the business needs of city agencies," he said. More concretely, he spearheaded efforts to use the city's IT buying power through citywide contracts, and by reducing overhead -- not a simple task given the size and scope of city government in New York.
Bergmann didn't stop there. He sits on the state's CIO Council in Albany where he confers with New York's leading IT executives about ways to improve collaboration among the different levels of government. What began as an informal alliance grew into a full-fledged partnership that led to the establishment of some groundbreaking enterprise IT contracts. One of those contracts already has saved the city nearly $9 million by aggregating government buying power.
Bergmann uses the same communications skills to make sure city agencies are aware of the services available to them from the OCIO, as well as helping to initiate new projects requested by the agencies. For example, he's working with the Department of Human Services to complete a daunting 12-agency data-sharing project.
Additionally Bergmann began overhauling the city's IT civil service titles, bringing them up to date for the first time in 25 years. It's not glamorous work, but reflects the kind of dedicated leadership Bergmann brings to DoITT as a career civil servant who understands -- and appreciates -- government, IT and New York City.
"Being civic minded is a big part of my life and it's in the DNA of city workers," he said. "That's what is so exciting. To improve how to deliver services for New Yorkers is both fun and humbling."
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