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Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell

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Mar 14 2010

City of Seattle will host Open Gov West Conference

Media Advisory issued on Friday, 3/12/2010:

Conference will bring together leaders from this region to discuss opportunities for governments and organizations to collaborate on policies and technologies that will make government more efficient and open.

Friday, March 26, 2010 (7:30 AM – 5:30 PM)
Saturday, March 27, 2010 (8:00 AM – 4:30 PM)




Seattle – The City of Seattle will host the first regional open government conference to discuss best practices for new technologies that relate to opening up City data, new public engagement tools to enhance communication with the government, and improving customer service access and response.

Government 2.0 tools are progressing at the city, state, and federal level. These tools are transforming the way citizens communicate with the government and are empowering governments to be more efficient.

The two-day conference will bring together community activists, regional technology companies, regional policy makers, and local and state agency representatives. Through this conference, regional leaders can share and collaborate on Government 2.0 tools and establish regional partnerships on technology and transparency policies. Open Gov West is sponsored by the Seattle City Council and Mayor McGinn’s office.

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Sep 08 2009

10 Technology Initiatives for 2010


Councilmember Harrell announces technology initiatives for 2010
Plan aims to improve city’s accountability, transparency, and effectiveness

SEATTLE – Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, today proposed a Government and Technology outline that will optimize the use of technology, resulting in increased transparency, enhanced access to customer service and city information, and improved government effectiveness and efficiency.

The initiatives were developed after reviewing the city’s technology, governmental systems and protocols. The next step involves the Department of Information Technology and the Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board working with other city departments to provide feedback on the recommendations.

“I am proposing the applications that I believe we should use internally and support externally, both of which can determine the effectiveness of service to our citizens,” said Harrell.

The Seattle Government and Technology outline calls on the city to implement the following in the coming years:

1. Migrate to a system where publishing and release of city data are in an open format that is more readable and favorable for programming. This allows the public to use city data in the most appropriate way and enhance its original purpose by allowing data collaboration and integration through mashups and semantic web technologies.

2. Declare an “Apps for Seattle” contest and call upon local web developers to program innovative mobile applications and Internet-based applications using open city data.

3. Provide service for mobile phone applications that allow residents to report a city complaint such as potholes, graffiti, streetlight outage, or abandoned vehicles.

4. Use web video conferencing tools for meetings conducted by employees, boards and commissions, resulting in reduced travel time, cost and fuel.

5. Provide residents with new personal conservation management tools that allow them to maximize their home energy efficiency.

6. Provide a suite of applications and products that allow residents and businesses to communicate remotely with their security, heating, cooling, and lighting systems. This will increase consumer utilization and awareness of a smart grid network.

7. Deploy a “” Public Engagement Portal that consolidates the city’s multiple sign on accounts and provides single sign-on access with features including a customizable interface, status report checks on problems reported, public polling, and enhanced collaboration with the public using tools such as IdeaScale or Google Moderator.

8. Maximize the use of technology in reporting, posting, and tracking photos of graffiti and tree inventory on Google Maps or the city’s Geographic Information System (GIS).

9. Develop a “Wiki” website format for city information that allows online public collaboration, editing and content moderation.

10. Implement new city-wide software to reduce the volumes of wasted printed pages at the end of print jobs from the Internet.

“These technology initiatives will engage our local high-tech industry and spur entrepreneurs and development of business,” said Councilmember Harrell. “Now, more than ever, we must embrace the use of new technology as a strategic tool to better communicate with residents, drive innovation and economic development in our local workforce and save money by improving operational efficiencies in governmental systems. I look forward to working with our Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board to help drive the process of moving forward in 2010.”

Additional information regarding “Apps for Seattle” will soon follow.

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Aug 10 2009

Press Release: Council Approves Funding For Public Engagement Portal

A major shift in how the Council serves and listens to the public.

SEATTLE – The City Council today authorized the Department of Information Technology to begin the first phase of development of the Public Engagement Portal. In August of 2008, Councilmember Bruce Harrell requested the Department of Information Technology to work with other City departments to develop a Public Engagement Portal. The goals of the Public Engagement Portal are to 1) engage and listen to Seattle residents more effectively, 2) optimize two-way communication between policy leaders and residents, and 3) enhance the City’s Customer Service system.

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Aug 06 2009

Update: Public Engagement Portal Initiative

As you may recall, in August of 2008, I suggested a technology platform for the city that requested the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) to work with other City departments to develop a Public Engagement Portal. The intent of this portal is to engage and listen to our residents more effectively and to optimize two-way communications between policy leaders and residents. The Mayor’s office and my colleagues on the council have been very supportive and have provided valuable feedback and input during this process. I have advanced 10 primary reasons to support a Public Engagement Portal:

  • 1. Consolidates over 50 available online service registrations to one single login.
  • 2. Implements and standardizes online forms and interfaces for resident and business users.
  • 3. Reduces user frustration from multiple online accounts and reduces help desks costs.
  • 4. Future CRM (Constituent Relationship Management) integration—which will support a ticket feature system and tagging/indexing system.
  • 5. Improves City’s communication to residents of available online services.
  • 6. Accelerates participation in SPU and SCL’s electronic online billing service which will reduce paper, postage and labor costs.
  • 7. Improve Council and Executive’s ability to capture more quantitative feedback from the public.
  • 8. The implementation of online polling will allow Seattle’s residents “one-click” access to voicing their opinion on major legislation regarding the City of Seattle.
  • 9. Prioritize questions or subjects for Town Hall meetings such as how Google Moderator operates.
  • 10. A tool to promote and implement structure around citizen volunteer bases (i.e. block watch formation, regional mentoring strategies…)

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Apr 17 2009

Open Government: No Closed Door Meetings

Published by under Open Government

For the record, I never participated in any four-person meetings that became the subject of recent headlines regarding private budget meetings. Five is the magic number in a nine- member council since, as Councilmember Sam Smith would say, “Five makes policy.” However, I believe establishing a “rolling quorum” by rotating smaller groups below five is unlawful and a breach of public trust. Transparency in government is something that I feel very strongly about. That is why I agreed to Co-Chair the Council’s Special Committee on Open Government. The goal of this committee is to ensure that all City departments implement best practices for open meetings and public-records disclosure. I believe government proceedings should take place in public settings. I do believe the Council does a great job of attempting to conduct its affairs in a transparent manner. Committee and Full Council meetings are conducted in a public setting and are broadcast live on the Seattle Channel 21. Subsequently, the meetings are re-broadcast and citizens can dial up past meetings by going to the Seattle Channel website. I will continue to meet with members of the public to understand where we can make our work more transparent in some of the following ways: (1) using technology to make documents more available and accessible; (2) examining logistics of how we communicate such as meeting times, locations and translation barriers; and, (3) examining best practices for boards, commissions and committees utilized by the City.

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