Chief information officers and other tech leaders in cities throughout California are gearing up for the annual conference of the Municipal Information Systems Association of California, set for next month in Monterey.

The 39-year-old organization meets annually to discuss technology, governance, legislation and other matters of interest to California’s municipalities. The conference is also a venue for vendors to showcase their goods and services and establish working relationships with city officials.

This year’s conference runs from Sept. 29 through Oct. 2.

The conference will include a mentorship initiative, designed to build mentor-mentee relationships among some senior IT leaders and their less-seasoned counterparts, said Brad Walker, MISAC’s Folsom-based executive director.

“Some of the members have been asking for that,” Walker said, adding that the MISAC conference is the ideal clearinghouse for such programs.

Jeff Lewis, former IT director for California cities including Concord, Merced and Modesto, said that as a lifetime member of MISAC, he’s seen the need for mentorship growth. As older municipal IT leaders have begun retiring, he said, the new generation of leaders has been hungering to learn from them. Lewis is also director of the Smart Region Initiative of Joint Venture Silicon Valley and a senior consultant for Government Technology Group.

The agenda of breakout sessions and presentations runs the gamut of IT-related issues, including:

  • “Rebounding from a Cyber Attack,” by San Diego Harbor Police, who suffered a data breach this year
  • “Cloud Security – Don’t Leave Home Without It,” by George Khalil, Riverside’s chief innovation officer
  • “Moving Technology from an Expense to an Investment in the Eyes of the Public,” from Rick Balzer, president of IntelesysOne
  • For those interested in transportation tech, Ahsan Baig, CIO of Alameda-Contra Costa Transit (AC Transit), will speak on “Connected Bus – A Digital Transformation Journey.”

And perhaps illustrating the inherent conflicts in IT funding and governance, keynoter Galen Emanuele will speak on “Navigating Conflict, or Delivering a ‘No’ Using the Tool of ‘Yes, And.’”