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County wins first place in 2011 Digital Counties Survey

By ThisIsReno

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

Washoe County was recently notified that it won first place in the category of populations between 250,000 and 499,999 in the 2011 Digital Counties Survey, a national program aimed at highlighting innovation and achievement in technology implemented by county governments.

The survey is conducted annually by the Digital Communities program, a joint effort of the Center for Digital Government and Government Technology.

Winners were divided into four population categories that ranked the top 10 positions and ties. First-place winners in each category emphasized IT initiatives and projects that cut costs and helped their agencies cope with shrinking work forces.

Digital Communities Director Todd Sander said, “Survey responses indicate counties are effectively economizing and finding innovative ways of using technology to meet the higher demand for services during this trying economic time. Counties are consolidating and sharing services to cut down on costs and leveraging technology like virtualization to capture critical savings. Congratulations to the winners!”

Cory Casazza, chief information management officer of the Washoe County Department of Technology Services, said he was particularly gratified to reach first place given that his department’s IT budget had been reduced by nearly 45 percent since 2006.

“I think we started out a few years ago just trying to keep the lights on and realized that in order for us to succeed and take Washoe County somewhere, we needed to find a way to not only keep the lights on, but add some value,” Casazza explained. Information technology provided that value, Casazza said, when switching to open source products helped prevent layoffs.

For example, Washoe County saved $250,000 by transitioning to an open source voice-over-IP system (VOIP). Casazza’s team also implemented an open source help-desk ticketing system that saved about $40,000.

Washoe County Commissioners Kitty Jung and Bonnie Weber received the award on half of Washoe County during the National Associations of Counties (NACO) Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon last week.

“It was quite an honor to accept this award along with Commissioner Jung,” Weber noted at the time. “We did not realize that more than 10 counties in our population division won honors, but only Washoe County received the first place Digital Communities award. It was great to accept this award on behalf of all of our employees involved with this Digital Communities Award. Congratulations on a great job.”

For more information about Center for Digital Government, Government Technology and the Annual Digital Counties Survey, please visit www.govtech.com.

For more information about NACO, please visit www.naco.org.