The Center for Digital Government’s winner of the 2019 Digital Cities Survey in the category of up to 75,000 in population is Weston, Florida. The city government has minimized the number of full-time city employees while emphasizing efficiency, effectiveness, and flexibility. It has only ten official city employees who act as contract administrators managing the service providers who perform most services, including police, fire, building, code enforcement, planning and zoning, engineering, parks, public works, landscaping, IT, and administrative services. The city believes that this style of governance allows elected officials and city staff to more quickly adapt than other contemporary municipalities.
The city’s Technology Strategic Plan 2018-2021 has recognized the need for better enterprise-wide technology plans and has laid out four key goals:
- Promote Efficiency and Efficacy – by offering a positive return on investment (ROI) and/or reducing future expenditures and improving internal productivity and/or simplifying operations;
- Improve Service Delivery – improving accessibility while decreasing complexity to city services and improving the quality, responsiveness and/or usability of the city services;
- Increase Transparency – improving accessibility of public records and decision-related materials and promoting resident engagement and collaboration; and,
- Mitigate Risk – improving cybersecurity and privacy measures and resiliency through disaster recovery.
As the city of Weston is only 23 years old, the IT department was able to create a strong and flexible technology base.
“Initially we really took the time to invest properly in our foundation layers,” Ryan Fernandes, city director of technology services, said. “Unfortunately, a lot of folks inherit systems that are already there and maybe have a lot of what you would call ‘technical debt.’ We were able to start from the ground up, to build our stack layer by layer, fortifying each layer as we got all the way to the top.”
To see the full list of cities ranked nationally by The Center for Digital Government, click here.