1. Encourage open data
Will you encourage City departments to place useful data on the open data portal on a timely basis? If so, how will you do this?
Yes. The state agency I work for has a comprehensive accountability system with a variety of data related to higher education available to the public. We also deploy other data and information in a variety of ways. I believe all levels of government should be transparent and provide relevant data and information. To accomplish this I would explore a resolution from city council to city manager to identify a process for identifying key information/data by department and a plan for how to deploy that information/data to the public.
2. Social media
How do you and/or your staff view the value of social media in promoting citizen engagement and service delivery? What has been your experience with social media?
Social media can be an important force multiplier in transparency and citizen engagement. It is not a panacea as some populations (such as elderly) do not use social media in the same way or volume as younger people. However, social media should be a part of our engagement strategy.
3. Website usability and content
What steps (if any) will you take to address the needs of community groups and concerned citizens seeking to improve website usability, identify missing content, and enhance the information richness of the City’s website?
After all the money spent on the new website, I am not very pleased with its usability and its search engine function is pretty poor in my experience trying to find information. I believe much more work needs to be done to make our site more useful to the public.
4. 311 Services
Do you support studying whether Austin should join cities such as Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. in pledging support for a publicly-accessible open-standard protocol for 311 services, such as the currently proposed Open311 API specification?
Yes. As a former neighborhood association president, I believe having such a tool to track non-emergency issues would be very helpful.
5. Director of Digital Innovation
Do you support the designation of a Director of Digital Innovation to be accountable for innovation with the City’s digital portfolio (e.g. website, open data, civic applications, open government technology)? Please consult the following article for further information of this type of public servant position.
I would be willing to consider such a position, but would look first to add such a position within existing personnel resources already dedicated to IT.
6. City strategy for digital innovation
San Francisco and Philadelphia have Innovation Offices led by a Chief Innovation Officer. Boston has the Urban Mechanicsprogram. New York City has a Chief Digital Officer and a Digital Roadmap. Which of combination (if any) of these organizational approaches do you believe will best encourage digital innovation for Austin?
Both of these models look promising. However, we need to identify a very clear business plan that identifies specific goals we are trying to achieve and clear metrics for how we will measure success.
7. Budgetary resources
Do you believe the current level of budgetary resources allocated towards City information technology is sufficient? What should be the City’s IT priorities?
The first question for me is whether we have achieved the results we expect from existing IT investment. I am not interested in simply spending more money on IT if we have systemically failed to deliver a good product or services. Once that question has been satisfied, and a clear plan can be identified explaining how additional resources will be used and what we will achieve with those resources, than I would be willing to consider additional investment.