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7 Ideas From Local Government Leaders to Borrow

In October, dozens of city and county leaders from across the U.S. shared their best ideas at OpenGov Transform, a virtual conference. Local government leaders came together to discuss strategies for transforming communities through better equitable data use, improved cybersecurity measures, building stronger teams and more.

In October, dozens of city and county leaders from across the U.S. shared their best ideas at  OpenGov Transform, a virtual conference. Local government leaders came together to discuss strategies for transforming communities through better equitable data use, improved cybersecurity measures, building stronger teams and more. 

Through the week of sessions  -- spanning budgeting, finance, citizen services, and procurement --  Seven ideas came up repeatedly:

1. Automating current budget processes is a priority. 

For more than half of the attendees, automating current budget processes is a primary focus for the next year. Local government agencies are planning their budgets on digital platforms, leading to collaboration across departments, streamlined budgeting process, and fewer internal inefficiencies.

2. Data is being used to advance equity by informing policy and funding initiatives.

When a community’s data is properly utilized, funds can be allocated to the programs that make the most impact. Local governments are making data-driven decisions to make improvements through policy and service delivery. Not to mention, governing with data allows leaders to justify the budget for important resource allocation.

3. IT is taking a more strategic role in government. 

IT departments across the country are collaborating more with different areas of their agencies. Their initiatives are enabling the digital transformation, facilitating performance measures, improving service levels to meet resident expectations, and bringing people across government together around use cases.

4. Advice from women leading the government transformation. 

One of the most inspiring sessions (log in to see all sessions) discussed what’s needed to enable the next generation of local government talent. Speakers shared advice on leadership, professional growth, and taking charge of change. The panel included:

  • Elizabeth Tanner, Director, Department of Business Regulation, State of RI
  • Sharon Stanley, Director, Support Services Agency, City of Cobb County, GA
  • Lyn Farrow, Assistant City Manager, City of Annapolis, MD
  • Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde, City Manager, City of Boulder, CO

5. Government budgets are being driven by strategy.

Thanks to improvements in budgeting tools and software built for government, budget planning is more strategic than ever. Budget maturity models, equity budgeting and citizen engagement are leading to a more collaborative, outcome-focused budgeting process across the country. 

6. Reporting the use of ARPA funds is an organizational challenge.

As governments across the country are planning how to spend ARPA funds, reporting and transparency is a challenge for many. Agencies are looking for tools and technology to help with this 6-year reporting marathon, such as OpenGov’s free eBook on 10 Tips for Success with ARPA Reporting.

7. Governments are future-planning for risk events.

Whether it’s through people, process, or technology, local governments are planning now to improve organizational resilience around embezzlement, ransomware attacks, break-ins, natural disasters, and other events. They are mitigating risk by upgrading technology, making contingency plans, and training staff to make the best decisions around risk.


Overall, attendees were inspired by the strategic changes being made in local governments. We’re thankful to each and every government panelist that shared their insights. If you missed these informative discussions led by and for government leaders, all OpenGov Transform sessions are available here. It’s not too late to experience them yourself. 
OpenGov is the leader in cloud-based solutions for government. The OpenGov Cloud™ is the only integrated cloud solution for budgeting, performance, communications and reporting. This multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”) solution connects stakeholders to the budget process, engages them for real-time feedback, accurately forecasts personnel costs, and integrates with key government systems, resulting in improved outcomes, enhanced internal efficiencies, and more time for strategic