For the 17th year, the Center for Digital Government* has recognized the premier leaders in government technology with the “Best of California” awards.

The recognition came during this week’s California Digital Government Summit in Sacramento.

Following are the winners in each category and a brief description of the winning project:

Demonstrated Excellence in Project Management
Austin Walls-Barcellos, Project Manager
Covered California
Mr. Walls-Barcellos created a successful strategy and led a team of state staff and consultants in the Salesforce Service Cloud implementation of Covered California’s Client Relationship Management (CRM) tool. He and the team used agile methodologies such as daily standup meetings and sprint reviews, planning and retrospectives with video conferencing, to regularly engage and communicate with the customers throughout the yearlong project. Walls-Barcellos managed all facets of the project — with 2,000 users — including market research, procurement, vendor selection and management, stakeholder engagement, and training across the department.

Best Application Serving the Public
Resident Support Portal
City of Los Angeles
The city of Los Angeles new residents’ portal, LAcity.org, allows residents to personalize the site with content about their neighborhood and City Council district. By simply entering their address, residents get a completely personalized experience that highlights their local council member, neighborhood events and specific services at their address — for example, trash pickup day. The page gathers information from Twitter, the Open Data Portal, the GIS Portal, and the MyLA311 System and displays them all in one central location.

Best Application Serving the Public
GetCalFresh.org Application Assistance Tool for CalFresh Food Benefits
California Department of Social Services
The GetCalFresh tool makes it easier for Californians to access CalFresh food benefits by providing a streamlined, statewide and mobile-friendly way to initiate an application with counties. The tool has increased online application numbers and state participation rates. It also helped diagnose barriers to completing enrollment. To date, more than 1 million people have been able to submit an application for CalFresh food benefits in less than 10 minutes online.

Best Application Serving the Public
Get It Done (GID) Expansion
City of San Diego
Get It Done (GID) is a citizen reporting tool that allows citizens to report non-emergency issues, schedule appointments, and obtain information through the GID mobile app or webpage. Appointments include picking up illegally dumped items, removing graffiti, or ordering a trash container. Valuable customer and employee feedback is collected for improvements to the program. The 2018 expansion provides more services, including passport scheduling and hazardous-waste disposal, and integrates seven additional municipal departments into the CRM system.

Best Application Serving the Public
MyCitations: Online 'Ability to Pay' Determinations for California Traffic Courts
Judicial Council of California
The Judicial Council of California in partnership with the Superior Courts developed the “MyCitations” traffic tool to provide a new online option for people struggling with traffic court debt. Key features include: 24/7 access to request an “Ability to Pay” determination; “request options” including a reduction in payment, a payment plan, more time or community service; and a method for court clerks and judges to review and respond to requests with a final electronic order.

Most Innovative Use of Citizen Engagement
Community Development Resource Agency (CDRA) e-Services: A Virtual Public Counter
County of Placer
The Placer County “e-Services” portal streamlined the complex planning permit process and modernized the customer experience with 24/7 access. The portal deployed a “first” — use of both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The chatbots provide real-time integration with the county’s GIS for zone and parcel information. Citizens can quickly research potential development projects, display permit requirements, receive fee estimates, file ePermit applications online and more.

Most Innovative Use of Citizen Engagement
Metro’s Indoor GPS for the Blind and Partially Sighted People — LA Union Station
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Metro installed a Bluetooth beacon-based indoor location guidance system at Union Station that allows blind and partially sighted riders to navigate by using a mobile app on a smartphone. The app provides audio instructions for turn-by-turn indoor navigation for vision-impaired people, using Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons and 5G. The system includes indoor positioning systems, mapping and route planning. Metro is working to eliminate all barriers and ensure equal access to and participation in the Metro transportation system.

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs
Electronic Accounting Modular Interface
California Department of Health Care Services
This system electronically receives and transfers invoice data between the Health Care Services business partners and the Controller’s Office for processing payments. The system automated a previously manual process that sent more than 1,200 paper invoices with an average total of over $4 billion per month in payment information for over 80 percent of Medi-Cal payments. The system uses a modular framework so that other payment systems can be incorporated.

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs
Career PathFinder
County of Los Angeles
Career PathFinder is an online, interactive tool that leverages “big data” to help current and prospective employees plan their careers. Supported by analysis of hundreds of thousands of Los Angeles County employee records from the past 30 years, the Career PathFinder transforms the data into insights about employee career paths and salary information to guide career building — and is used by both employees and career planners. The project’s annual cost avoidance is more than $192,000 per year.

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs
List of Approved Surplus Lines Insurers (LASLI) Portal
California Department of Insurance
The LASLI portal allows applicants and insurers to securely submit and pay for their statutorily required documentation online and to also go online to handle initial application, annual renewals, updates and amendments. The documents can be securely shared and reviewed by both the state Department of Insurance and the Surplus Lines Association of California.

Best Application Serving an Agency’s Business Needs
Emergency Response Investigation Service (ERIS)
County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services
The ERIS app allows county social workers who are investigating suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect to access up-to-date criminal history information on their county smartphones while conducting home visits. The app uses identity resolution technology to match the same client across multiple county departments, providing quick background checks on relatives and alerts for high-risk people in the homes visited.

Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations
Homeless Activity Reporter Web Application
City of Elk Grove
The homeless-activity reporter Web application is an online mapping tool that enables police and code enforcement officers, nonprofit volunteers and city staff to efficiently collect and analyze current data regarding the needs of the Elk Grove homeless populations, coordinate their activities, and increase the reach and impact of services. Being able to share the data and communicate the extent of homelessness in the city provides staff with quick, measurable data, and accesses visualizations of hot spots and where there is a need for more resources.

Best IT Collaboration Among Organizations
Data Science Federation
City of Los Angeles
The Data Science Federation is a collaborative research partnership among the city of Los Angeles and 18 area colleges and universities. Created to tackle tough city problems, it expanded early work in data science and data-driven decision making. Each project involves a local university partner, domain experts from the city, and staff from ITA; and produces a predictive model or analysis. One project helped predict the risk of homelessness for people entering three L.A. centers; it received an $80,000 grant to provide services to prevent homelessness.

Best Mobile/Wireless Project
County-Wide Interoperable Radio System (CWIRS)
County of Los Angeles
The hardened and resilient CWIRS system provides services to over 7,000 users in more than 35 county agencies as well as outside partner agencies. More than 6,000 users were migrated, and 14 hilltop repeater sites were replaced with 19 state-of-the-art repeater sites. The new platform provides connectivity to the radio system via smart devices, Wi-Fi and cellular systems, and provides higher levels of system security and encryption, voice call recording and the ability to track users with GPS. Overall, countywide coverage increased from 80 percent to 92 percent.

Most Innovative IT Workforce Initiative
Student Internship Program and New IT Building
County of Alameda Information Technology Department
Trophy #1: Student Internship Program: The Alameda County Information Technology Department (ITD) Student Internship program provides high school- and college-age students with eight-week internships in the IT department, using the latest technologies to solve real business problems under the guidance of experienced professionals. Over the past five years, interns have made significant contributions, helping to build websites, assist in hardware and networking setup, and creating new “mobile first” apps, such as the AC Shuttle program and Public Works Road Closures apps.

Trophy #2: New IT Building: The interns, recruits and current employees have a beautiful new headquarters with many high-tech features designed to promote collaboration and innovation. The “activity-based” workspaces have an open-floor design with meeting rooms, state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, video screens equipped with content-sharing and collaboration software and other features that promote collaboration among employees and with business partners throughout the county.

Most Innovative Use of Data and Analytics
ShakeAlertLA — Earthquake Early Warning Mobile App
City of Los Angeles
ShakeAlertLA is a mobile app that sends alerts to users within the Los Angeles County area for earthquakes greater than magnitude 5.0 within 1.8 seconds. You can also use this app in English and Spanish to prepare for an earthquake, get details on recent earthquakes, and find help after an earthquake, including finding a shelter. The Southern California earthquakes in July triggered an even greater demand from officials and the public for expanding the app, which has been downloaded over 670,000 times.

Most Innovative Use of Data and Analytics
Homeless Outreach and Resource Allocation Project
County of San Joaquin
San Joaquin County is working to address a widespread homelessness issue. The county created a new position to provide the “point in time” homeless count, required by the federal government. The count gathers historical reports of homeless locations from agencies to provide an initial heat map to direct volunteers during the count; create a survey app; and apply analytics tools to examine the data collected to draw new insights. The results led to a resolution at a joint meeting with the county and the city of Stockton to end veteran homelessness in the county by 2025. 

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Techwire's parent company.