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July 29, 2013
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Nevada County third most digitally advanced for its size

Nevada County was recognized for information and communications technology for government services and efficiency.

The Center for Digital Government and National Association of Counties announced the winners of its 2013 Digital Counties Survey, which listed Nevada County third for the less than 150,000 population category.

The survey recognizes leading examples of counties that use that use technology and overcame tough fiscal barriers to improve government services and efficiency.

Steven Monaghan, chief information officer for Nevada County, said there are about 100 different projects a year that improve efficiency, from small changes such as the online move of employee leave requests to larger projects such as the Mobile Worker Project, which seeks to reduce vehicle emissions using a combination of field-based technologies and automobile license fees.

“It’s really a combination,” Monaghan said, adding that the Center for Digital Government survey includes 25 different questions that are filled out that include “What are you providing for citizens?” “What have you done for network security, privacy?” etc.

Various county departments are taking part in new innovations and projects to bump efficiency, Monaghan said, including the permit application process, which was changed in the past year to be online, and online job applications and the disbursement of County Executive Officer Rick Haffey’s Friday memo.

“We automated all of that electronically through a workflow system that automatically creates the memo,” Monaghan said. “When they hit publish, it goes to Facebook, LinkedIn and emails. There’s just dozens of things like that we do every year.”

Kimberly Samuelson, director of Enterprise Content Management Strategy at Laserfiche, a content management solutions company with more than 30,000 organizations worldwide, said she has seen the trend in the past 10 years of increasing online information for city and county governments.

“What governments have sort of been learning to do is see the value in online information and be able to make better use of it to make better decisions, to govern better and inform their citizens,” she said, also including making transactions and information available through the web or kiosks.

Samuelson said she visited the Nevada County government website and noticed the efficient use of online document availability, an improvement from the old way of having to fill out paperwork and stand in line or use email, which requires attachment-opening capabilities and download times.

Monaghan is pleased with Nevada County’s third-place position in the survey, especially considering the county placed in the top three for the past 10 years.

“I’m really happy about it,” he said. “I’m real proud of our staff, and the overall organization has been supportive and embraces the use of technology.”

Even though the county offices reduced the number of employees from 1,050 to 775, the same number of services are offered, and efficiency is at its highest, Monaghan said.

Part of the success is from the “sweet spot” Nevada County is in with its desirable quality of life and ambitious and successful staff members.

“We’re small enough to be agile and innovative and collaborative but large enough that we have the resources to be able to do some of those projects,” he said. “We live in such a great place, get a lot of quality county employees, really top-notch folks who come here for the quality of life. We’re fortunate we get that kind of hiring pool compared to other communities.”

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

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The Union Updated Jul 29, 2013 11:06AM Published Jul 30, 2013 12:58PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.