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Local IT agencies brace for impact

A slight majority of city and county chief information officers expect their budgets to be cut before the end of the year as the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic leaves government revenues in tatters, according to a survey published yesterday by the Public Technology Institute. Of 172 CIOs surveyed, 51 percent said they expect funding to drop this year. If that seems rosy, that's because IT agencies have mostly been spared from the financial impact with governments relying on technology more than ever before. “We’re not seeing IT furloughs yet because they are keeping the lights running," said PTI executive director Alan Shark. But Shark warned local IT shops will still see lean times ahead as cities and counties take years to recover. Benjamin Freed reports.

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Local government becomes must-see TV

Whether it’s because homebound people are desperate for guidance in an open-ended emergency or they’ve simply scraped the bottom of their Netflix queues, some government officials have found themselves surprised by the sudden popularity of virtual meetings and news conferences. San Francisco’s virtual public meetings, which include everything from Mayor London Breed’s press conferences to full gatherings of its Board of Supervisors, are regularly attracting hundreds of participants. “Residents are able to watch the virtual meetings and also residents are able to give input and comments on individual agenda items just as if they were in person,” said San Francisco CIO Linda Gerull. Colin Wood explains.

Former 18F staffers create 'State Software Collaborative'

To help state governments save time and money replacing legacy IT systems with modern technology, two former employees of 18F, the federal government's digital services agency, announced a new initiative yesterday they’re calling the “State Software Collaborative.” The effort is meant to help agencies in different states to procure, develop and maintain software solutions together. The project, which will be run from Georgetown University, is the brainchild of Robin Carnahan and Waldo Jaquith, who both recently left 18F. All states have basically the same types of interactions with the public, so they should work together, Carnahan told StateScoop. “Our theory is that up to 80 percent of what states do is the same,” she said. “And there will be some customization for changes in policy among states, but most of it is quite similar.”   Ryan Johnston reports.

Wi-Fi comes to Arizona parking lots

Community libraries across Arizona will be outfitted with Wi-Fi access points to support remote workers and students in communities that have been deemed “high-need” by the state, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Wednesday. Through a partnership with Cisco and the Arizona state library system, external wireless access points will be installed at five libraries across the state, including one in Maricopa County, which surrounds Phoenix. The access points will allow people sitting in their cars in the parking lot to connect to the internet, so they can work or study while maintaining social distancing measures. Ryan has more.

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