Montgomery County, MD was ranked first in the 2013 Digital Counties Survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government in conjunction with the National Association of Counties. The award was announced late last week, following the judging of hundreds of submissions from across the country by a panel of experts, including Center for Digital Government executives. The survey assessed computing, networking, applications, data and cybersecurity, open government, mobile services and more for jurisdictions during 2012.
“Montgomery County is tackling the issue of open data and transparency like few counties have, reaching for goals more common in big cities and state government,” according to the June 18, 2013 Digital Counties Survey article written by Matt Williams for Government Technology magazine. “Backed by a mandate established through local legislation, the County launched a major open government initiative featuring a suite of interconnected websites designed to offer data sets and engage citizens in conversations, as well as bring them to the County’s mobility, transparency and accountability offerings. In whole, the program is called openMontgomery.”
“We are very pleased to be recognized for our efforts, as increased transparency and better online accessibility to County programs and services are high priorities in this administration,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “We are working hard to make government more accessible and responsive to the people we serve.”
In December 2012, the County launched a major open government effort that includes an openMontgomery (http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/open) portal with easy access to performance measurements, budgets, contracts, open solicitations and internal audits. The portal includes a dataMontgomery (http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/open/data.html) site with an increasing number of raw datasets, ranging from employee salaries to restaurant inspection results so that the public can develop their own mobile applications; a new engageMontgomery (http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/open/engage.html) social media platform for idea sharing and brainstorming to improve the community; and a new mobileMontgomery (http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/open/mobile.html) site that features mobile access to County information and services, including 311, storm operations, and the Ride On Real Time bus information.
“It is very gratifying to know that our continued efforts to provide digital citizen services are recognized by the Center for Digital Government and our peers as leaders in the nation," said Sonny Segal, Chief Information Officer for the County.
Montgomery County’s openMontgomery components are hosted in a private cloud – a strategy that is saving the County $2 million a year. The cloud includes more than 100 applications, along with County department and agency data.
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In addition to launching openMontgomery in 2012, the County also appointed a chief innovation officer to oversee a formal innovation program; continued to use the data analytics from the CountyStat program to increase accountability and efficiencies; and continued to expand the County fiber network to additional sites, including the public schools and college.