It was November of 2013 when the Naperville city council approved a lofty strategic five-year plan focusing on three goals:
- Be an E-Government innovator
- Improve traffic flow and congestion
- Set the standard for community education and involvement
Fortunately for city officials they still have four years left to deliver results. If the next four years are anything like the first year, they may have to revise the five-year plan into a ten-year plan, because not much has been accomplished.
When the plan was approved, city officials were high-fiving each other. It wasn’t until recently, that the city council learned that it’s going to take a lot of time and even more money than expected to become an innovator of electronic government.
City manager Doug Krieger broke the news to the council when he said, “Technology is a very complex topic, and it’s also a very expensive one.” This came as a huge revelation to council members, which apparently caught them totally by surprise. This is another reason why Naperville needs a fresh flow of new council members with strong business backgrounds. Doing technology right is not a quick, easy, inexpensive fix.
Krieger went on to say that part of the problem is that the city uses approximately 130 separate computer systems, and “most of those systems don’t ‘talk’ to each other”. City employees are often very frustrated with the need to use a time-wasting series of security-related passwords in order to get their work done.
In the meantime, residents get impatient with the inefficiency of the entire process. Calling the city for help, only makes it worse for the caller who either gets disconnected, forwarded to the wrong department, or is forced to listen to mindless music.
The least the city could do is provide some nice relaxing classical music, or city manager Doug Krieger’s stand-up comedy routine with jokes that got him in trouble earlier in the year requiring ‘sensitivity and harassment’ training. We still haven’t heard Krieger’s punchline to the joke that cost residents $5000 in legal fees.