Seattle’s City government website www.seattle.gov has been named the #1 City government web portal for 2011 by eRepublic’s Center for Digital Government. I was honored to be with the City’s web team in Hollywood for the awards ceremony on September 16th. Our open data feed, data.seattle.gov received a Digital Government Achievement Award at the same ceremony.
Not only that, but www.seattle.gov has been named the #1 City web portal three times in the past eleven years – years 2000, 2006 and now again in 2011.
What’s the “secret sauce” to winning the “Best of the Web” competition?
To answer that, I’ll share the electronic mail note I sent to all 200 employees of the Department of Information Technology (which I lead) on September 1st:
For all City of Seattle Department of Information Technology staff:
Today, Thursday morning, September 1st, the Center for Digital Government announced its “Best of the Web” awards for 2011. The City of Seattle’s web portal, www.seattle.gov , is named the top City government web portal for 2011. The press release from the Center is online. In addition, our open data website data.seattle.gov received a Digital Achievement
Award in the government to citizen category. We’ve won the “best web portal” award three times – in 2000, 2006 and now in 2011. When you consider there are 275 cities over 100,000 in population, and many thousands of smaller ones, winning three times in 11 years is a phenomenal achievement.
This honor is a direct reflection of the hard work of the City’s web teams, especially the central web team led by Bruce Blood and Jeff Beckstrom, and the data.seattle.gov team led by Neil Berry and Ben Andrews.
But everything we do in the Department of Information Technology is a team effort. We don’t have a great web portal without a great server and unix computing team to do the hosting. Our community technology folks help those without access to the Internet to get that access and use www.seattle.gov . We absolutely need a great data communications team to maintain our data network and Internet access. Solid 24×7 operations is essential, and our data center staff provide that. Information
security is of paramount importance not just to the web site but also in our web applications and throughout our infrastructure. And our technology planning and oversight unit helps facilitate a visionary strategic technology plan for the City and our department.
Content for the web site comes from departments, and that requires great partners in our department web teams and content providers like the Seattle Channel. That, in turn, requires a strong desktop support team and good service desk to keep our desktop and other technology systems functional. We need money and good people to support all this effort, and we have a great finance, accounting and human resources team to support that.
They don’t give awards for “best telephone network” or messaging team or communications shop or telecommunications integration team, but “best web portal” is a direct reflection of the excellence and commitment by work groups across the
But it is also a reflection of Mayor McGinn’s leadership, especially the thoughtful leadership and decisions of Chief of Staff Julie McCoy, with input and support from many others in the Mayor’s Office, on the Council, and in departments.
Achievement Award in the Government to Citizen category. I especially want to thank Mayor McGinn, Chief John Diaz, Chief Gregory Dean, and Diane Sugimura for leadership in making departmental data available on that site, and Council member Harrell for his support of funding for data.seattle.gov despite the difficult budgets we’ve recently faced. They lead a true ommitment to an open, transparent, government for Seattle!
We live in difficult times. The economy is rocky. Budgets are constrained, and we’ve lost a number of people and positions. I had a meeting with the Mayor earlier today, talking about budget. I directly told him that despite losing 27 positions and $11 million in funding over the past four years, our workload has only increased as the use of technology expands in City government. He acknowledged that and told me how proud he was of the continued dedication and skilled work of DoIT’s staff, despite the hard economic times and the reduced revenues available to City government.
For one moment today, as you encounter and overcome the everyday problems and challenges of your job, sit back and bask in the glory of this achievement.