Fall 2018 Newsletter
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In This Issue

President’s Message The Holidays Are Here! Membership Renewals
RMG Updates Member Spotlight GMIS Data Dive™ Open for 2018 Data Entry
Director Listserv Update TML Update
President’s Message – Sid Hudson
First…Happy Holidays to everyone!

As I write this, we have just wrapped up the Thanksgiving holiday and I hope you all spent some time with your families and friends. On a personal note, I spent my first major holiday with my granddaughter, and that is something I will always cherish. As I’m sure all you grandparents will agree those little ones are something special, but they are even more special when they go home!! Ha!!!

As you may recall from the May newsletter, our Strategic Planning session was slated for June. I would encourage each of you to visit the TAGITM website and read our most recent goals that have been identified for the organization.

To provide a little insight as to what goes on behind the scenes; the Board has monthly conference calls and we have in-person board meetings twice annually. Coming up very quickly will be the face-to-face Education Committee meeting followed shortly thereafter by the face-to-face Board meeting shortly thereafter. These meetings will set the Education sessions for our upcoming conference. Approval of conference items will also begin which the CMP will need direction on fairly soon. I think we can expect another high quality conference in 2019.

Additionally, in the May newsletter I pointed out who our Committee Chairs are for this year. There have been a few minor necessary adjustments; therefore, I would encourage each of you to visit the TAGITM website again for updated Committee Chair information.

I’m a little short on words this holiday season, so I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year going into 2019!

Until next time,

Sid Hudson
Chief Information Officer
City of McKinney
President, 2018
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The Holidays Are Here!

By the time you all are reading this, Thanksgiving is either right around the corner or just passed. Regardless of the timing, I thought I would offer some quick thoughts for my fellow IT Managers across the state. If your job is like mine, in the average week you spend more waking hours at work than you do with your family on the average week. I would encourage you, and remind myself, that the work will be there when you get back. It’s the Holidays. We all need to make a special effort to turn the phone to silent, put it face down and maybe even forget for several hours where we left it! I know that sounds like IT professional heresy, but it’s something I have tried to make a conscious effort of lately.

Your loved ones, and the ones you tolerate because it’s the Holidays and your spouse makes you, will greatly appreciate it. Maybe you will even discover you have more in common with those you only tolerate, and you might find yourself looking forward to the next holiday with that very same person. I know it’s a novel idea in the digital/always connected world we live in as IT professionals, but I promise it is possible.

I know I am incredibly grateful for my new position here in New Braunfels, but, I would never be here if it weren’t for my wife, kids and other family members. They are the ones that have supported me and sacrificed with the long hours I sometimes work, so I want to show them exactly how thankful I am. The easiest way I can do that is to be in the moment with them for several days in a row, and only look at my phone seldomly, or less. I encourage you to give it a whirl as well. (You know you can’t wait to watch that Cowboy game with your family! )


Tony Gonzalez
Communications Chair, 2018
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Membership Renewals

Don't let your TAGITM membership lapse! The TAGITM Membership year is October 1 through September 30. If your dues are not renewed by December 31, 2018, your membership will expire. Renew your membership today to maintain access to:

  • TAGITM Member Resources, our document repository available through the web site
  • TAGITM Member Listserv to collaborate and discuss today's hottest trends and issues
  • TAGITM Director Listserv for those at the Executive Management Level
  • Regional Member Groups and networking opportunities
  • Continued learning at discounted rates through webinars, regional events and conference presentations

In order to renew your membership, you will need the User Name and Password for the Agency/Organization Member profile. If you do not have this login information, you may contact info@tagitm.org for assistance. Once you have logged into the Agency/Organization Member profile, click on the "Manage Profile" link in the right-hand navigation, and then scroll down to the bottom of the window and under Account History click on "Membership". You'll see your current expiration date and a link to the current invoice for the 2019 membership year. You may renew your dues online if you are paying by Credit Card or print the current invoice if you are paying by Purchase Order/Invoice.

Please note that the membership voted to increase all membership dues by $25 at the 2018 Annual Business Meeting. The purpose of this increase is to cover increasing costs and expanded programs, such as additional education offerings and access to GMIS Data Dive for members. Agency dues are $175 per year and affiliate dues are now $200 per year. The last dues increase was in 2014 and was dedicated to a membership reserve / rainy day fund.

Thank you,
Kevin Cameron
Membership Chair, 2018

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RMG Updates
TAGITM would like to welcome Brett Blanker from College Station as the new Aggieland RMG Chair. We very much appreciate Brett for his willingness to take on the role.

Speaking of RMG Chairs, we currently having openings for the Panhandle and Central Texas RMGs. Please let Kevin Cameron know if you have any questions about the RMG Chair role, are interested in serving as the chair, or know someone that might be interested serving as the chair.

Kevin Cameron
Membership Chair, 2018
Find My RMG
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Member Spotlight
City of Longview - logo Organization Name:
City of Longview - East Texas - 81,522 citizens

Longview was founded in the early 1870's when Southern Pacific Railroad extended its track from Marshall westward into Gregg County. The railroad laid out a new town on land purchased from Ossamus Hitch Methvin Sr. Management for the railroad called the new settlement Longview, reportedly because of the impressive view from Mr. Methvin's house. Longview incorporated on May 17, 1871, the first community in Gregg County to do so. The population of Longview grew to 5,036 in the 1930's, and more than doubled to 13,758 by 1940 – due to the discovery of crude oil in the area. Longview's growth has continued throughout the years and has a population of 81,522.

Longview is the county seat of Gregg County and is located on the U.S. Interstate 20 and U.S. Highway 80 corridor that stretches from Dallas/Fort Worth through Shreveport/Bossier City, La. Dallas lies 125 miles west of Longview, and Shreveport is 60 miles east. Longview is proud to be the hub of East Texas outdoor recreation and leisure travel, and is famous for its fabulous festivals, fine dining and historic downtown. In July, the Great Texas Balloon Race is a competitive event attracting world class hot air balloon pilots from around the world who compete for points toward national and international titles. There are 25 lakes within 75 miles of Longview, providing many outdoor activities.

Number of IT Workers in the Organization: 18 - (2) Administration, (3) Analysis, (4) Applications, (4) GIS, (5) Infrastructure

Significant Technology Achievements:
City of Kilgore Interlocal Agreement - In 2012 Longview was approached by the City of Kilgore to provide IT services to them. An interlocal agreement was formed and the partnership began. Since then, Longview has overhauled their network, started a hardware refresh program, implemented a VoIP system, introduced virtualization, moved them to G Suite, and countless other projects. In addition, Longview now maintains Kilgore’s GIS as well.

CitySend - CitySend is a free mobile app for our citizens. The app allows residents to identify issues and report service requests from their smartphone (iOS, Android, Windows Mobile). These service requests then feed directly into Cityworks, our asset management system, via API. In addition, citizens can pay their water bills and traffic fines, view adoptable animals, use GIS webapps, access social media, and keep up with news and events. Longview won a TAGITM Excellence Award for this project in 2013.

Cityworks - Longview has been using Cityworks for asset management since 2008. Since this time, it has become an enterprise system and now includes permitting, licensing, and land. In 2013 Longview won the Cityworks Exemplary User Award.

Cybersecurity Program - Cybersecurity is a priority for Longview. We have implemented DDOS protection, Palo Alto firewalls, a SIEM, improved antivirus software that works better with virtual desktops, improved documented policies, and required in person cybersecurity training for all employees. In addition, we have utilized the Department of Homeland Security for a risk and vulnerability assessment and penetration testing. We are currently working on the Center for Internet Security controls.

G Suite - In 2012 Longview transitioned from Novell Groupwise to Google Apps for Government. Later renamed to G Suite, this has been one of the most transformational changes to our organization to improve collaboration and productivity.

Managed Wireless - In 2013 Longview began the transition to a managed wireless solution due to increased connectivity at our convention center. Xirrus has been implemented in all City facilities to allow us to manage the access points remotely. We can also easily expand to new facilities as needed making this an enterprise system.

Physical Access Control - In 2015 Longview implemented Keri Systems physical access control at many facilities and will be implementing it at new and existing facilities as resources are available. It allows for centralized management and has helped implement required employee badges throughout our organization.

Security Cameras - In 2015 our convention center was looking to improve physical security. We chose Milestone and Axis cameras so that it could be expanded to other facilities. Today we have hundreds of cameras in many facilities.

Plans for Future Technology Initiatives:
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software - Longview currently has an RFP out for ERP software. This three-year project will replace our aged financial software, non-existent HR software, Payroll, and Utility Billing software. This is a significant investment to help the city have fully integrated software where we do not today.

Active-Active Data Center Implementation - For several years we have been working on an active-active data center between our primary data center and our hardened Emergency Operations Center. To date we have designed and purchased similar hardware and installed buried fiber between the facilities. When finished this project will allow us to be fully functional instantly with all resources in the event of any failure or disaster. All that is left is to purchase a little more hardware and this dream will become a reality.

Most Challenging Project:
Utility Network Assistance - About 8 years ago our utility stood up their own wireless radio network for SCADA and maintained it independently from the primary city network. In addition, they did some upgrades to their Traffic infrastructure and added them to this network as well. Recently they approached Information Services to assist with supporting, improving, and correcting problems they are having with this network. An inventory of what existed on this network was incomplete. Currently, we are leveraging GIS to improve visibility across our organization’s collective technology Infrastructure. This single view of what infrastructure exists will assist with troubleshooting and network improvements for years to come. This is one more example of our staff thinking outside the box on ways to utilize the tools we have at our disposal.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) - Longview has dabbled in VDI for many years (if anyone remembers Pano cubes). We went all in with an HP C7000 blade chassis, blade servers, Tintri storage, HP zero clients, VMware, and Unidesk software. Like with any new technology, we hit a few bumps in the road along the way. These bumps, coupled with user's acceptance to change, did initially cause some unhappy customers. Over time we have smoothed the bumps and we even have users that praise the functionality that VDI brings to the table. Although, the complexity and vendor changes do take some skilled maintenance behind the scenes, Longview is fortunate to have the right team to solve these issues and be creative in their approach. As an example, the use of VDI is allowing us to move from traditional laptops to Google Chromebooks in many areas. This is a tremendous savings to our organization.

Most Rewarding Project:
City of Kilgore Infrastructure Overhaul - As mentioned before, we provide IT support for the City of Kilgore. One of the first needs was to overhaul their entire network. This included new switches, routing improvements, and consolidation of three data centers. This project was completed in record time and it provided a good backbone for the many additional technological improvements we have provided the City of Kilgore.

Nexus Implementation - Last year we implemented Cisco Nexus switches. Core bandwidth/resiliency improvements increased from (4) 1 Gbps bonded links to dual bonded 40 Gbps into the data center and increased single path 1 Gbps to dual path bonded 10 Gbps.

What is Most Valuable About Being a TAGITM Member:
One word: Community. A couple of staff members recently had the privilege of speaking at another region's IT conference which covered several states. TAGITM is by far a superior organization. This includes the Listserv, regional member groups, and just a general willingness of our members to help each other. TAGITM is doing great things for our state IT community and the camaraderie is second to none.
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GMIS DATA DIVE™ OPEN FOR 2018 DATA ENTRY
Data Dive - logo

The GMIS Data Dive™ is now open for 2018 Data Entry with a new set of dashboards to streamline entry and reporting.

DASHBOARDS

  • Profile – Complete this section first! Answers to these questions define your agency and are critical to filtering results.
  • Compensation and Benefits – NEW! – Includes a variety of metrics related to position salary, insurance, retirement and other benefits. Salary information should be entered for the prior budget year, NOT the current budget year. This is the only section for which prior budget year data is requested.
  • Core Business Functions & Office Productivity
  • Data Center and Hardware
  • Governance and Legal
  • Telecommunications/Network
  • Citizen Engagement and Utility

A new feature of the platform is that completion percentages are calculated by individual dashboards. Once the 70% threshold is reached for a dashboard it will be eligible to pull results for that dashboard once overall results are released later this fall.

WEBINARS
Two Webinars are now available to review the GMIS Data Dive™ and the changes which have been implemented with the new platform.

GMIS Data Dive™ Webinar – Part 1 covers all aspects of the GMIS Data Dive™ Platform including Data Entry, Copy Prior Year, Navigation, Dynamic Reporting and more! If you are relatively new to GMIS Data Dive™, this is the webinar for you.

GMIS Data Dive™ Webinar – Part 2 focuses on the changes implemented with the revised platform. If you have been using the GMIS Data Dive™ and need information on the changes, you will want to view this webinar.

To access the webinar click on the links above. The webinar may also be accessed from the Help Section within the GMIS Data Dive™.

ACCESS
The GMIS Data Dive™ Platform is accessible using your personal credentials via the GMIS International web site. If, at any point, you have forgotten your user information, please contact info@tagitm.org. All representatives of your organization have access to the GMIS Data Dive™ using their personal login credentials.

QUESTIONS
Should you have any questions regarding the GMIS Data Dive™ Platform, please reference our Help Page located in the upper right hand corner of the survey screen. If you are still in need of further assistance, please contact our support team at info@tagitm.org.

Beth Ann Unger
TML Representative, 2018

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Director Listserv Update
In the last newsletter, we updated you on the change in rules to be a part of the Director ListServ. We just wanted to remind you of this change and encourage those of you that have strategic responsibilities but aren’t the highest ranking person in your organization to discuss with your Director the value you might get from or add to the Director ListServ. We don’t want lost your input to the group, if your director is otherwise engaged.

Additionally, I wanted to put another plug out there for you all to continue adding files to the digital library on the TAGITM site. As you can see in the screenshot below, there are several categories under the digital library. We can all share great info via this resource and it sometimes gets overlooked with all the activity on the Listserv. I can tell you from recent personal experience, there are not a lot of files in some areas. I was recently looking for a Webmaster Job Description and saw that the last job descriptions were submitted in 2011. Surely someone out there has hired a webmaster since 2011 and has an updated job description.

Tony Gonzalez
Communications Chair, 2018
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TML Update

Texas Municipal League held their annual conference October 10th – 12th in Fort Worth. This year, TAGITM hosted a Smart Cities Strategy panel featuring Frisco Jeff Mayor Cheney, Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker, Carrollton’s Director of Managed Competition & Strategic Planning Shawna Eikenberry and Fort Worth Chief Technology Officer Kevin Gunn. The panelists shared their city’s challenges and successes on the road to becoming a Smart City. There was also a good session on Cybersecurity with House Representative Giovanni Capriglione who chairs the House Select Committee on Cybersecurity. Rep. Capriglione highlighted the need to raise awareness about the increasing threats cities face and the challenges associated with meeting those threats, particularly for cities with extremely limited resources.

TML is gearing up for the 2019 Legislative Session and monitoring the filing of city related bills. Check out the TML Legislative Update for more information on city related legislation.

Beth Ann Unger
TML Representative, 2018

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