Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Government does not end at the borders of the Beltway

Perhaps it's a false impression, but it often seems to me that when people in the United States think about government, they think solely about the role of the President. In this line of thinking, the government begins and ends with President Obama and his Cabinet Secretaries.

There are others who have an expanded view of the government. These people acknowledge that one's local Congressperson or Senator plays a role.

Then you have the state's rights people. These people acknowledge that there is power in the state capitals (in my case, Sacramento, California).

The problem with these views of government is that they exclude most of government - the counties, the cities, the school districts, the water districts, and the like. I'd be willing to bet that you're more affected by your city's failure to pick up trash one day then you'd be affected by a Presidential press conference. But where do we concentrate our attention?

I should note that on a personal level, this also affects me in my job. The vast majority of proposals that I write are addressed to city, county, and state agencies, rather than to national agencies. So when I am seeking information on government procurement, I really don't care about what the Department of Defense is doing.

Luckily, there are organizations that share my concern. One of these organizations is the Public Technology Institute. Here's some information about the Institute:

Public Technology Institute actively supports local government executives and elected officials through research, education, executive-level consulting services, and national recognition programs.

As the only technology organization created by and for cities and counties, PTI works with a core network of leading local officials — the PTI membership — to identify research opportunities, share solutions, recognize member achievements and address the many technology issues that impact local government.


•Offers online training, publications and books, and conferences designed for the local government technologist.

•Creates partnerships between local government, private industry and federal agencies to ensure that jurisdictions have access to the latest and most effective technology solutions.

•Recognizes local government innovators with awards and recognition programs.

•Serves as the national voice for technology development and dissemination within local government.

•Partners with leading national media and academic institutions to showcase local government technology issues.

More information here.

Incidentally, I became aware of the Public Technology Institute via a Deltek seminar.
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