TAGITM Members Earn Annual Statewide Technology Awards
The Texas Association of Governmental Information Technology Managers, TAGITM, is an information system's professional organization that provides a forum for generating ideas, sharing problems, and developing solutions. The association's main objective is to enable cities, counties, schools and appraisal districts within Texas to realize the full potential of automation benefits. The association currently has over 200 cities, counties, appraisal districts and school districts as part of their membership program.
During the annual conference in May 2012, the association selected Williamson County, Bell County and Lubbock County to receive the "TAGITM Excellence Award” for their projects which are described below.
TAGITM Excellence Award
Williamson County - Excellence Tokens
Williamson County wanted to create a tool by which each of their employees could recognize the excellence in one another. Each employee has 10 digital "tokens" which they can give away during a quarter. As employees award a token, they are able to include comments to specifically tell the token recipient why they are being awarded a token. Employees may also award a token anonymously. At the end of the quarter, the management team will look at the three employees who received the most tokens throughout the quarter and will recognize all three of them, but will also name one as the winner of the "Technology Services Award of Excellence." The goal of the program was to encourage employees to recognize the excellence in others, but also be aware of their own excellence.
This program has been a tremendous morale booster and employees are seeing each other as their customers and are offering one another exceptional customer service, going above and beyond their regular responsibilities. This tool has been utilized since the first of 2012 and it has had a tremendous influence on employee morale, but it also recognizes -- and therefore emphasizes -- excellent customer service.
Bell County - DPS Revenue Stream without Human Interaction
The application of technology integration into existing processes and collaboration with a large State Agency and private vendor has contributed to the automation of steady revenue flow into Bell County without any County personnel involvement. While many counties in Texas may have already implemented the DPS electronic ticket XML file interface, Bell County may be one of the first counties in Texas to have automated the entire process from citation issuance to case disposition. The Bell County integrated process makes citations available for plea, payment and disposition at the County's on-line payment website in less than 24 hours. The net result is an automated citation revenue stream appearing in Bell County's bank account each day without any human interaction.
The implemented project will save the County approximately 2.5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees per year in productivity time. While the citation time benefit has been instantaneous, the telephone credit card payment time savings will take a little longer to realize. The biggest project benefit is the near real-time public service benefit that is being offered by Bell County. In less than 24 hours, someone can access the 24x7 website to enter a plea, make a payment and close out a case with no human interaction by any Bell County Justice of the Peace personnel.
Lubbock County - Regional Mobile Command
When small jurisdictions are hundreds of miles and hours away from major Metropolitan areas of the state, local jurisdictions must work with each other to provide resilience and response to the citizens they serve in creative ways, and nearly always without the financial resources and assets available to larger communities. After action reports from Lubbock County Emergency Teams from the area who had deployed to support Hurricane Katrina relief efforts clearly illustrated the needs in West Texas and the South Plains for survivable sustainable communications, not present initially in the Katrina response. It was clear, if you do not take it with you, you will not have it at the time its needed most, wherever you deploy.
The Lubbock County, Texas Mobile Operations Vehicle provides internet access, data, wired and wireless Voice over IP using existing phone lines from the core network. Utilizing inter-operable radio communications, including Wi-Fi it has been repeatedly tested in exercises, and proven in events. It also serves the State of Texas Rapid Response Task Force as statewide asset. Resilience of the Lubbock County data network supports Voice over IP telephony and data services, making the MOV a mobile office building inheriting operational sustainability of the core network.
The system has exceeded all expectations in deployments across the region and the state. It has been used in tornado responses, wild fire responses, onsite hostage negotiations, accident investigations, virtually every conceivable law enforcement tactical application, and has on more than one occasion deployed to provide incoming 911 Call center answering services when cities in the region were isolated by severe fiber cuts. In a Texas readiness exercise in Waco the unit and team proved to be the first asset at the exercise that was operational and which always achieved and delivered the full range of services within its stated capabilities, resulting in the Lubbock County Mobile Operations Vehicle being assigned as the primary vehicle of its type to the Texas Rapid Response Task Force for all hazards response across the state, and will be requested to pre-stage in Waco, Texas for hurricane response events.