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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

City Receives First Place Award for Innovative Use of Technology in Government

The City of Westminster is honored and excited to announce its acceptance of the 2021 Digital Cities Survey First Place Award for Municipalities in the population category of 75,000 to 124,999. This award is bestowed each year by the Center for Digital Government on cities in five population categories that have demonstrated exceptional achievement in advancing technology. This is the 18th year that Westminster submitted a survey for the award, the 18th time it has achieved a top ten ranking nationwide, and the second time it has received a first-place award.

A first-place trophy has been delivered to the City and a formal presentation will be made during a virtual celebration on December 8. The City Council will formally accept the award at its December 13, 2021 meeting.

“Innovative cities are able to leverage data and harness new technology to enhance the services they provide,” said CDG Vice President Phil Bertolini. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for putting technology to good use toward improving the lives of constituents and strengthening the relationships they have with their partners.” The Digital Cities Survey generally focuses on advancing technology in the areas of:

  • leadership alignment,
  • citizen engagement,
  • regional collaboration,
  • cybersecurity,
  • process improvement,
  • disaster recovery planning,
  • networks,
  • IT budget management,
  • IT performance measures,
  • IT staff recruitment,
  • staff retention, and more.

The 2021 Survey focused more specifically on cities nationwide who align their technologies with city goals to improve the interactive experience for residents and others doing business with the city; to save tax dollars through newly found efficiencies; boost transparency, cybersecurity, and engagement; and innovate through unique and exciting projects.

This year’s first place winners in each population category include:

  • City of San Jose, Calif. (500,000 or more population category): San Jose completed a new IT Strategic Plan aligned to the City Council’s new City Roadmap. A “Drive to Digital” initiative was launched in support of community and economic recovery efforts, which provided process reengineering and automated service delivery. Implementation of a Regional Virtual Security Operations Center and founding of the Coalition of City Chief Information Security Officers brought together professionals and partners to advance cybersecurity.
  • City of Long Beach, Calif. (250,000 – 499,999 population category): Long Beach provided WiFi hubs in city parks for remote learning, expanded Tech To-Go lending in libraries, enhanced the Go Long Beach app for citizen reporting, and put feedback mechanisms in place, such as analyzing social media posts. The city embraced data and KPI’s which supported key restoration efforts such as locating economic development BizCare pop-ups in those neighborhoods most impacted by the pandemic.
  • City of Corona, Calif. (125,000-249,999 population category): Corona has successfully leveraged the cloud with close to 90 percent of its infrastructure in the government cloud, making cyber protection much easier. In addition, the city’s internet connection has been bonded into four different data centers in different facilities to create failover capabilities.
  • City of Westminster, Colo. (75,000-124,999 population category): Westminster’s engagement accomplishments included WestyRISE, a resident Advisory Resiliency Work Group with a subcommittee on data and technology and a citizen's group on data transparency; Council meetings and study sessions which allow live call in; a citizens’ Civic Academy; and the “Innovation Challenge” for citizens’ and employees’ ideas – several of which have been implemented.
  • City of Shawnee, Kan. (up to 75,000 population category): Shawnee completed their first-ever strategic plan and received CARES Act funding totaling $550,000. The Maps and Open Data Portal’s "Fast Facts" and GIS StoryMaps provided innovative, expanded transparency. The drone program increased scene visibility and safety of police officers. City services were also added such as online business license renewals with 45 percent of renewals made online.

See a full list of winners here.

“The City of Westminster embraces technology and embeds it into citywide operations to support our missions, vision, and values,” explains Emily Littlejohn, IT Director for the City of Westminster. “Technology touches so much of what the City offers the community, whether that’s connecting first responders at the scene of an accident; helping bridge the digital divide by loaning hot spots at our libraries; or offering online services such as bill pay and permit tracking. A first-place win in the Digital Cities Award Survey both confirms that the City is on the right track and will drive and motivate our continued improvement in the coming years.”

The eRepublic’s Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The Center conducts an annual nationwide Digital Cities Survey to evaluate how well cities are doing in achieving and demonstrating the characteristics of a digital city. In 2021, the City of Westminster submitted a comprehensive 33-page survey application highlighting the current status, past year achievements, and future plans in each of the 12 categories of digital government including:

  • Big Picture/Summary
  • Aligned Leadership
  • Citizen/Customer Centric
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Governance/Transparency
  • Data Driven Government
  • IT Investment
  • Resilience
  • Staff/Supported
  • Continuous Innovation
  • Connected Infrastructure
  • Business Process Alignment

“After completing the Digital Cities Survey each year, I am always amazed at how much we have accomplished,” notes Larry Garlick, IT Services Administrator. “Placing first gives me confidence that the technological direction Westminster is taking is comprehensive and effective."

An outstanding team of dedicated and highly skilled Information Technology Department Staff combined with the continued support and efforts of the City Council, City Manager’s Office, and other City Departments have been key in achieving this award.  This year, Westminster was one of only three Colorado cities selected in its population category.  Other winners are posted on the Center for Digital Government’s website at www.govtech.com/cdg.

Winning this award affirms that the City of Westminster is making notable technological progress on several of the City’s Strategic Plan goals, including “Provide visionary, effective, and collaborative government“ and “Advance the City’s long-term sustainability to provide ongoing excellence in City services and a well-planned community that meets the needs of residents now and in the future.”

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