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How One Jurisdiction Won a Spot in Digital Counties Awards

The county IT department is managing the transition to a new $20.5 million civic center and will also replace its 30-year-old public safety radio system in 2021-2022.

In the 19th annual Digital Counties Survey from the Center for Digital Government,* leading jurisdictions have moved on from immediate emergency response and are now looking at lessons learned as well as at what work should turn permanent. Today, Techwire looks at one California jurisdiction, Mono County, that garnered second-place honors in its population category, up to 150,000 people.

Mono County, a consistent top winner in its population category, has delivered another strong performance in this year’s survey. The local government, which serves about 14,000 residents, quickly transitioned nearly 90 percent of its workforce to remote work during the pandemic, connecting with residents via a decade’s worth of investment in gigabit-speed broadband and via cloud-based apps around COVID-19 response, vaccine distribution and communication. Data collected helped shape pandemic response and enabled provision of public-facing dashboards. County IT Director Nate Greenberg and his team worked with and inside COVID-19 first-responder departments to help create a dedicated app in a low-code platform to manage the overall pandemic response, and also created a custom vaccine registration app and several simple apps for related pop-up services.

Officials built on more than five years’ expertise to stand up a new HR management system in Quickbase, centralizing employee and position lists. Mono’s work management system for IT also runs on Quickbase. Implementation of Palo Alto Networks’ GlobalProtect firewalls in late 2020 enabled the county to secure and control traffic even when staff were in the cloud and not in-network, boosting the overall security posture. During the past year, county IT deployed two sets of portable infrastructure to support remote Emergency Operations Centers in disaster or incident locations. Mono County is also updating its current IT Strategic Plan, a process that should be complete by year’s end.

County IT is managing the transition to a new $20.5 million civic center and will also replace its 30-year-old public safety radio system in 2021-2022. Mono County has redundant backup data centers, but storing backup snapshots in the Microsoft Azure cloud has enabled restorations in the cloud with scant data loss and further empowered a three- to five-hour restore time should disaster strike or a data center fail.

An overall look at the 2021 Digital Counties Survey is available online.

*The Center for Digital Government, Techwire and Government Technology are part of e.Republic.