CIO, Westchester County, N.Y.
It’s fitting that John McCaffrey started working for Westchester County, N.Y., on shared services day, during which agencies set up booths to present what’s available for other local governments. McCaffrey, who started as deputy CIO in 2011 before transitioning to the role of CIO the following year, credits the county executive with focusing on shared services. But the tech available to municipalities and school districts in Westchester County is McCaffrey’s domain: records management and training, a criminal justice investigative tool and cybersecurity, to name just a few.
“Everything that we do, we look at it and say, ‘Is there potential here for shared services?’ — even in contracts that we sign,” said McCaffrey, adding that two of the county’s recent contracts can be used by any local government in New York.
McCaffrey’s work in Westchester County hits all the go-to tech boxes and is paired with a healthy quest to innovate. Meetings and even some reporting structures have been reorganized to give IT staff members the opportunity to be more “bimodal,” as he called it. Everyone is encouraged to bring up their ideas, and if the proposal won’t work, a legitimate reason is given beyond just “no.”
McCaffrey and his team are working on implementing next-generation 911 for the 43 police agencies the county supports, as well as a $30 million project to replace public safety radios. In addition, work on a social services app and a single point of access for mental health have drawn interest from other governments that would like to see them become hosted platforms or cloud applications.
“We don’t introduce and we don’t develop technology for technology’s sake,” McCaffrey said. “We truly look at it as the investment of taxpayer dollars toward the end of delivering value to and for community stakeholders through innovative information and business systems.”