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April 12, 2024

Local government and school audits issued during the week ending April 12, 2024

On April 11, 2024 New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced the following local government and school audits were issued.

 

Village of Corinth – Investment Program (Saratoga County)

Village officials did not develop and manage a comprehensive investment program. During the 12-month audit period, the village earned $1,516 from money on deposit in its two checking accounts, which had an average monthly available balance of $4.8 million. Had officials considered other legally permissible investment options, the village may have earned an additional $148,755 in interest earnings. Village officials did not: solicit interest rate quotes or prepare monthly cash flow forecasts, or; consider other legally authorized investment options when investing available funds. 

 

Town of Glen – Water and Sewer Operations (Montgomery County)

Town officials did not properly manage water and sewer fund financial operations. The board did not adopt the water and sewer rates that were charged to customers or audit the clerk’s records and water and sewer bills and meter readings were not independently reviewed for accuracy. As a result, officials and customers have no assurance that water and sewer bills and account balances are accurate. Of the 306 bills reviewed, 73 (24%) were inaccurate. The clerk also made 12 unsupported adjustments totaling $1,981 to four customer accounts without any review or approval and the bookkeeper did not record amounts billed totaling $592,956 for water and sewer services in the accounting records and sewer revenue was overstated by $152,023 as of Dec. 31, 2022.

 

Village of Hunter – Financial Operations (Greene County)

The board and clerk-treasurer did not properly manage village financial operations. The board did not: ensure board actions were captured in the village record and transparent to the public; establish controls to address the lack of segregation of the clerk-treasurer’s duties; provide oversight of the clerk-treasurer’s payroll, or; perform required annual audits of the clerk-treasurer’s reports and records. Auditors found the clerk-treasurer did not: prepare or maintain board meeting minutes; maintain supporting documentation for deposits; prepare abstracts for payment of claims; make timely deposits, or; file annual financial reports with the Office of the State Comptroller. The clerk-treasurer also was paid $34,988 without support or approval over a two-year period for overtime ($32,462) and unused leave time ($2,526).

 

Town of LaGrange – Financial Management (Dutchess County)

The board did not develop a multiyear financial plan or manage general fund balance in accordance with town policy. As of Dec. 31, 2022, the general unassigned fund balance was $3.3 million, or 51% of the ensuing year’s budgeted appropriations, which exceeded the town’s fund balance policy limit by more than $725,000. As a result, it is difficult for the board to assess alternative approaches to financial needs without a multiyear financial plan and more taxes may have been levied than necessary.

 

Newcomb Central School District – Claims Audit (Essex County)

District claims were not properly audited in accordance with New York State Education Law prior to payment. Auditors reviewed 90 claims totaling $1.3 million and determined the board of education did not ensure 60 claims totaling $1.2 million were audited and approved before payment. Because claims were not properly audited, there is an increased risk that improper or unsupported payments could have been made and may not be detected and corrected.

 

Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District – Board Oversight  

The board did not effectively manage grants or ensure that authorized disbursements were supported and for appropriate purposes. As a result, district officials made overpayments, unsupported payments and unnecessary payments at taxpayers’ expense. Specifically, officials overpaid landowners a total of $174,950 for six grants resulting in an inappropriate use of local taxpayer money. They also made 49 disbursements totaling $145,876 without adequate support (out of 63 disbursements reviewed totaling $154,080) and paid $11,630 in unnecessary payments, including excess tree purchases, late fees, interest, unused cell phone accounts, sales tax and lease payments for a copier that had been replaced. Officials also paid employees for unsupported leave payments totaling $8,860 and made an unallowed payment totaling $1,192.

 

Putnam County Court and Trust

Auditors reviewed the commissioner’s, county clerk’s and surrogate’s court’s processes, procedures and records for the receipt and management of court and trust funds as well as estates in the commissioner’s custody. The records maintained by the commissioner, county clerk and surrogate’s court were generally up to date and complete, and auditors noted no material discrepancies.

 

Tioga County – Social Service Contracts  

While department officials generally monitored contracts through reviewing agency reports, in-person meetings with agency staff and firsthand observation of services, they could improve contract monitoring. Three of the 10 contracts reviewed, totaling $344,210, did not meet contract terms. Officials were either unaware that the agencies did not achieve contract terms or were aware and allowed the contract to continue without termination. In addition, agency records were not always complete, and seven contracts were executed, on average, 34 days after services commenced. As a result, performance measures were not always met, and the impact of services intended to improve the well-being of residents was reduced.

 

Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) – Meals Provided at Meetings  

BOCES officials did not adequately support meals provided at meetings were appropriate, which increased the risk that BOCES may have paid for unnecessary meals. Auditors reviewed payments for meals totaling $63,009 provided at 80 meetings. Officials did not document the need for meals totaling $62,357 (99%) provided at 79 meetings and also did not document who attended 39 meetings at which payments totaling $28,446 (45%) were made for meals. The superintendent/designee did not document prior approval for meals totaling $31,991 (51%) provided at 29 meetings. Officials paid $6,772 more than federal per diem rates for meals provided at 34 meetings.

 

Western Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) – Clerical Overtime (Suffolk County)

BOCES officials did not appropriately monitor and approve overtime for clerical employees. As a result, officials may have paid more overtime than necessary. Officials paid 17 employees overtime totaling $123,276 without written preapproval and paid 13 employees overtime totaling $72,218, without any explanation as to why the overtime was worked. Additionally, officials paid 13 employees for unsupported overtime totaling $19,932.

 

Wyandanch Union Free School District – Budget Review (Suffolk County)

Auditors found that the significant revenue and expenditure projections in the proposed budget are reasonable. The district’s proposed budget includes approximately $10.9 million in health insurance appropriations; this appropriation is $1.5 million, or 17%, more than the $9.4 million projected expenditure for 2023-24. The district’s proposed budget includes approximately $1 million in New York State and Local Retirement System appropriations, which is approximately $414,000, or 70%, more than the $590,000 projected expenditure for 2023-24. The district’s proposed budget complies with the tax levy limit. 

 

April 11, 2024

An administrative agency is responsible for making the final determination in an administrative appeal and the court's role is limited to determining whether the administrative determination is supported by substantial evidence

In this CPLR Article 78 action, it was undisputed that the hearing before a Department of Motor Vehicles [DMV] Administrative Law Judge was recorded by an electronic recording system. The recording was sent to a transcription service but the transcription service only provided one audio recording transcript. As DMV was reviewing the record for this proceeding, DMV's counsel discovered that the Appeal Board [Board] had only received the first audio recording, which consisted of the automotive facilities inspector's testimony.

The Board credited the inspector's testimony but the Appellate Division said the Board "obviously ... did not consider the cross-examination of the inspector nor Petitioner's own testimony as to the process undertaken in diagnosing the vehicle's problem and the repairs provided based on the diagnosis of the problem. In the words of the Appellate Division, "the Board could not properly assess that argument without the testimony of all witnesses" and it is imperative that an appeal board's obligatory review, as well as this Court's substantial evidence review, be based "on the entire record".

As the transcripts had been provided to the Appellate Division, Petitioners argued that the requisite factual findings may be discerned by the court's review of the entire record. The Appellate Division opined that "the [Board} is the administrative agency responsible for making the final determination" and the court's role "is to examine whether the [Board's] determination was supported by substantial evidence".

Citing Matter of Morgan v Warren County, 191 AD3d 1129, the Appellate Division explained that there must be sufficient findings of facts in the first instance and the Appellate Division  could not supply the necessary factual findings upon a review of the hearing evidence given that the Appellate Division's review "is limited to a consideration of the statement of the factual basis for the determination".

Accordingly, the Appellate Division ruled that the Board's determination must be annulled and remitted the matter "to the Repair Shop Review Board for its de novo determination on the entire record."

Click HERE to access the Appellate Division's decision posted on the Internet.

 

April 10, 2024

Mayoral Control of New York City Schools report issued by the New York State Department of Education

On April 10, 2024, the New York State Department of Education released its report addressing "Mayoral Control of New York City Schools". Click HERE to access the Department's report posted on the Internet.

N.B.: This report is Copyrighted ©2024. However, the report includes the following statement:

"Except as expressly provided to the contrary, permission to copy, use, and distribute the materials within is hereby granted without fee for personal, private and educational purposes, except that reproducing materials for profit or any commercial use is strictly forbidden without express prior written permission of the New York State Education Department. Requests for permission should be sent to legal@nysed.gov."

 

Seeking a Writ of Mandamus to compel a particular action by a public official

In deciding a CPLR Article 78 action, the Appellate Division, First Department, addressed the efforts of one of the parties in the action to obtain a Writ of Mandamus to compel a particular action by a public official.

Citing Klostermann v Cuomo, 61 NY2d 525, the court observed that mandamus "is an extraordinary remedy that, by definition, is available only in limited circumstances". 

The Appellate Division's decision also notes that mandamus "will lie only to compel the performance of a ministerial act, and only where there exists a clear legal right to the relief sought", citing Matter of Wyche v Haywood-Diaz, 206 AD3d 748. In addition, the decision points out that the remedy of mandamus "does not lie to compel an act which involves an exercise of judgment or discretion" by the official.

Further, the Appellate Division's decision notes that Supreme Court "properly denied a branch of the petition" because "the petitioners failed to exhaust their administrative remedies before commencing this proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78, and there is no basis in the record to determine that any exception to the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement would apply."

The Appellate Division then opined that "to the extent the petitioners' challenge ... was predicated upon a constitutional claim," that claim "hinges upon factual issues reviewable at the administrative level [which] must first be addressed to the agency so that a necessary factual record can be established," and thus, the petitioners were not excused from the obligation to pursue administrative remedies prior to commencing this proceeding.

Click HERE to access the Appellate Division's decision posted on the Internet.

 

April 08, 2024

Reviewing the Comptroller's determination denying an application for performance of duty and accidental disability retirement benefits

A police officer [Petitioner] filed applications for performance of duty and accidental disability retirement benefits in June 2014 based upon an incident that occurred on September 22, 2011. Petitioner alleged that he was injured when a rolling chair slammed into the back of a chair in which Petitioner was then seated, resulting in injuries to his back, as well as the development of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Petitioner returned to a light-duty position in January 2012 but stopped working in June 2013. Although the applications were initially denied, ultimately New York State and Local Retirement System [System] conceded that the September 2011 incident constituted an accident within the meaning of the Retirement and Social Security Law, and that the accident caused Petitioner's disability. Following a hearing, however, the Hearing Officer upheld the denials, finding that Petitioner had failed to establish that he was permanently incapacitated from performing the duties of his light-duty assignment. The Comptroller accepted the Hearing Officer's findings and conclusions, resulting in Petitioner initiating a CPLR Article 78 proceeding challenging the Comptroller's decision.

Both parties agreed that the applicable standard is whether Petitioner was capable of performing the duties of his light-duty assignment (see 2 NYCRR 364.3 [b].

Petitioner's expert concluded that Petitioner's psychological condition was permanent and prevents him from returning to any form of police work, including his light-duty assignment. The System's expert, however, concluded that Petitioner was permanently disabled from performing his light-duty position with his  police department, as returning to the location of the incident would trigger his condition, although Petitioner could perform a light-duty assignment elsewhere, provided certain conditions were met.

The Comptroller credited the System's expert and denied Petitioner's applications.

The Appellate Division, observing that the record indicated that there is no assignment available that complies with the limitations described in the testimony of the System's expert in Petitioner's agency, said it was undisputed that Petitioner is permanently incapacitated from performing his light-duty assignment due to his psychological condition. 

Citing Matter of Lipsky v New York State Comptroller, 56 AD3d 1101, the court held that the Comptroller's determination that Petitioner was not permanently incapacitated from performing the duties of his assignment was "not supported by substantial evidence in this record and thus must be annulled."

Click HERE to access the Appellate Divisions decision posted on the Internet.  

April 06, 2024

Selected links to items focusing on government operations posted on the Internet during the week ending April 5, 2024

8 Features of the Best Audit Management Software for Public Sector The shift to electronic working papers in the audit community fosters collaboration but inadvertently generates dark data. Audit management software offers solutions to access, analyze and maximize audit data's value. READ MORE

 

A Possible Future for Downtowns Out in the Suburbs Many center-city downtowns continue to struggle, but Americans, especially younger adults, still want walkability. READ MORE

 

AI for Everyone M365 Copilot is a set of tools that helps individuals, agencies, and organizations achieve more using AI. Bolster productivity with AI using the tools you already know and love. Try Microsoft Copilot 

 

Alarming Signs Ahead of ‘First Presidential Campaign’ of AI Era Experts point to the swift rise of artificial intelligence and generative AI, and its early use in political campaigns, as evidence it could be “weaponized to deceive voters or harm candidates” during the general election this fall. READ MORE

 

Amazon Makes Fresh AI Push With Accenture, Anthropic The effort is designed to appeal to the public sector along with banks, insurance companies and other organizations. Amazon and its partners want to bring new efficiencies and customization to the use of generative AI. READ MORE

 

App Helps First Responders Be Proactive About Mental Health The Alli Connect platform uses machine learning technology to help first responders connect with mental health professionals before their problems become severe and prioritizes user privacy. READ MORE

 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE NEWSLETTER Be the first to learn about creative applications of artificial intelligence in state and local government. SUBSCRIBE TODAY

 

Australia’s Cyber Revamp. Proposed new laws and regulations aim to improve cybersecurity, after the country suffered wide-reaching incidents, per Dark Reading.

 

California Bill Would Create Multi-Partner AI Research Hub Artificial intelligence and cybersecurity are fertile ground for state lawmakers this session. Bills they also propose include making a joint risk analysis of generative AI and changes to the California Cybersecurity Maturity Metric. READ MORE

 

California Forever Planning Group Wins Big Against Farmers The Silicon Valley billionaires that are trying to build a utopian city in Solano County, Calif., won a key court decision. A judge refused landowners’ request to throw out a lawsuit accusing them of price fixing. READ MORE

 

California Releases Generative AI State Procurement Guidelines Developed by state agencies, the regulations are intended to assist entities and vendor partners on incidental and intentional GenAI procurements. Their release follows considerable state explorations in generative AI. READ MORE

 

California’s Unemployment Rate Is the Nation’s Highest In February, the state reached an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, the highest in the country. Since 1976, California has created more jobs than any other state (9.7 million), accounting for 13 percent of all U.S. hires. READ MORE

 

Champ Titles Raises $18M as It Brings on More State DMVs Champ aims to be the big player when it comes to the digital title industry, with West Virginia the center of that push. The company continues to take on new clients, with at least two more states soon expected to use the company’s software. READ MORE

 

Connecticut Officials Vow to Close Loopholes in Disability Pension System State leaders promised a series of sweeping reforms to address problems in the disability pension system, just hours after the publication of a report highlighting poor management. READ MORE

 

Cybersecurity Maturity Metric. READ MORE

 

Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercises: How Far Should You Go? With global cyber threats and other international tensions growing, what scenarios should state and local governments consider when conducting exercises to test their people, processes and technology? READ MORE

 

Dallas-Fort Worth Expects $700M Bump from Solar Eclipse Experts predict that the celestial event could drive millions of dollars for local businesses, including a $179.8 million boost to the restaurant industry and $221.8 million for hotels. READ MORE

 

Election Systems Require Upgrading Ahead of Voting To protect voting outcomes, every step of the election process must be secure. Election machines are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks because they’re network-connected and expand the attack surface of government entities. DOWNLOAD

 

Experts Predict an Extremely Active Hurricane Season This Year Researchers predict there will be 11 hurricanes, five of which will reach major hurricane strength, and 23 named storms due to a historically warm Atlantic Ocean and probable La Niña conditions. READ MORE

 

Federal Agencies Issue New Warning About DDoS Attacks As this specific type of cyber attack continues to spike, the federal government is calling for increased alert and defenses from state, local, tribal and territorial governments. READ MORE

 

From Food to Climate: Programs Threatened by California’s Shortfall With California facing a serious budget crunch, lawmakers may have to curb their policy ambitions in a variety of areas. Ahead of April tax collections, it’s not yet clear if proposed cuts will be deep enough. READ MORE

 

Gain Insight & Access to Key Resources That Can Help Fast-Track Your Cyber Goals Build resilience into your cybersecurity protections to help shield public-facing services from take down and operations from disruption. VIEW RESOURCES

 

Generative AI Use Proceeding Apace, Florida CISO Says State Chief Information Security Officer Jeremy Rodgers talked about the Sunshine State’s approach to artificial intelligence at a recent cybersecurity conference. A centralized legislative framework around AI does not yet exist, he said. READ MORE

 

GOVTECH CYBERSECURITY has rounded up industry best practices on topics such as security, threats, and privacy. See how companies are helping state and local agencies tackle and prepare for all things cybersecurity. NEWS, CONVERSATIONS AND RESOURCES

 

Grand Traverse County, Mich., Targeted by Cyber Attack A spear phishing cyber attack against Grand Traverse County was stopped by security software before it damaged county computers or disrupted operations, officials report. READ MORE

 

Group Seeks Federal Funding Ban on AI-Powered Surveillance The NOTICE Coalition, on behalf 42 advocacy organizations representing various student groups, argued in a letter to the U.S. Department of Education that AI-powered security systems violate privacy and human rights. READ MORE

 

gWorks, Focused on Smaller Agencies, Buys Freedom Systems The acquisition is just the latest for the Nebraska company whose software is used by municipalities, utilities and special districts. Private equity helped make this deal possible, reflecting a larger gov tech trend. READ MORE

 

How a Modular Business Solutions Strategy Addresses Workforce Gaps State and local governments face ongoing workforce challenges, including budget constraints and difficulty competing with the private sector. Often, antiquated technology and outdated processes make it even harder to attract and retain new employees. READ MORE

 

How Did the Auto Industry Get the EV Adoption Timeline Wrong? Although electric vehicle sales grew by 50 percent last year, that is far below the 70 percent growth the industry had forecast. High costs, infrastructure access, charging concerns and grid reliability continue to dissuade drivers. READ MORE

 

How Inclusive Content Can Increase Resident Engagement Local government websites should be resident engagement tools, not digital brochures or org charts. We use intuitive navigation, smart search, and more for optimal self-service. DOWNLOAD NOW

 

How Public-Private Collaborations Can Fight Ransomware A new report looks at three major counter-ransomware collaborations between the public and private sectors, offering up a list of challenges along with some best practices. READ MORE


How States Are Addressing the High Cost of Housing Housing used to be primarily a local concern. With millions of units needed, state policymakers are exploring ways to boost supply. READ MORE

 

Identify & Mitigate Your Risks Faster with Cybersecurity Advisory and Service Support Effectively identify and decrease risk across your organization’s attack surface and support your organization’s continuous operations and delivery of government services. LEARN MORE

 

Jackson County, Mo., Struck by Ransomware Attack The assessment, collection and recorder of deeds offices remain shuttered as the city updates systems following the cybersecurity incident. READ MORE

 

Kansas Bill Would Create Judicial, Legislative CISOs A recent cyber attack on the state court system underscored the need to boost government defenses. The bill would also bring more consolidation to executive branch IT operations. READ MORE

 

Kansas Lawmakers Agree to Billion-Dollar Income Tax Cut Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and GOP legislators have agreed to reduce the state’s top income tax bracket, starting at $30,000, from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent. The proposal would cost $1.4 billion over the next three years. READ MORE

 

Keep Your First Responders In-The Know: Tools for Dependable Communication The more first responders know about a situation, the better decisions they can make. This paper from Verizon offers practical guidance on the latest strategies and tools for keeping first responders connected. DOWNLOAD

 

Keeping First Responders Safe: The Latest Tools and Strategies This paper from Verizon details how network upgrades, additional data and artificial intelligence applications are set to change how agencies respond to emergencies and keep first responders safe. DOWNLOAD

 

Laguna Beach Investigates Inappropriate AI Images of Students Officials at Laguna Beach High School in Orange County, Calif., have launched an investigation after a student allegedly created and circulated inappropriate AI images of other students. READ MORE

 

Law Enforcement and First Responders Prepare for Monday Eclipse Emergency management officials in Ohio have been prepping for the event for months, anticipating large crowds and slow traffic. Aside from inconvenience, stalled traffic threatens response times to everyday emergencies. READ MORE

 

Lobbying Helps Rich Cities Get Richer Lobbying at the state and federal level is a good investment for all cities, but pays off most for ones that are already wealthy. READ MORE

 

Long-Awaited Cyber Incident Reporting Rules Taking Shape CISA has published a draft of a new set of federal rules that require critical infrastructure entities to report cybersecurity incidents and ransomware payments, opening it up to comments. READ MORE

 

Longtime Philadelphia Technologist Is Elevated to CIO Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle L. Parker appointed veteran manager Melissa Scott to serve as chief information officer, the city announced Monday. Scott has been on staff more than eight years and arrived from private-sector IT. READ MORE

 

Lowell, Mass., Considers Cybersecurity Amid Attack Recovery CIO Mirán Fernandez told the City Council that a cyber attack created an opportunity to rebuild a free Wi-Fi service that hadn't followed established protocols during implementation back in 2004. READ MORE

 

Meeting the Moment with AI Microsoft’s mission is to help every person and organization on planet achieve more. Our approach to AI is grounded in that commitment. Learn how Microsoft is meeting the AI moment

 

New Central Florida Highway Will Charge EVs as They Drive State Road 516 will be equipped to recharge batteries of electric cars and trucks as they drive along the toll expressway. Although it will be less than five miles long, the road will cost nearly $550 million. READ MORE

 

New Washington, D.C., Tool Uses Generative AI to Make Data Accessible DC Compass, a new GenAI-based tool launched by the district in partnership with Esri, offers users answers to data-related questions. It is now available in a public beta version to improve its speed and accuracy. READ MORE

 

Newsom Approves Closure of 3 Prisons but Resists Pressure for More California officials say that the state’s 31 prisons are necessary to accommodate the fluctuating inmate population. Analysts say the cash-strapped state could save money by closing five more. READ MORE

 

Nine Website Design Techniques to Help Residents Find Information in Two Clicks Local government websites should be easy to navigate. Learn more about CivicPlus's 2-click concept to and build trust within your community by ensuring they can find the information they need in the most efficient way possible. DOWNLOAD NOW

 

North Carolina Adds to Growing Body of AI Ethics Guidance for Lawyers Read the whole entry

 

North Carolina Completes Yearslong Transition to NG911 The state began transitioning in November 2018 when Durham County 911 joined via AT&T ESInet, hosting a hosted call solution and text messaging, and Anson County 911 completed the state’s transition in February. READ MORE

 

North Carolina Schools Say Phone Bans Work, Despite Unpopularity In the 2021-2022 school year, 76 percent of public schools across the nation banned non-academic use of phones during school hours. After some North Carolina schools banned their use, kids are less distracted and getting into less trouble. READ MORE

 

North Texas Innovation Zone Aims to Drive AV, Delivery Tech The Mobility Innovation Zone in Alliance, Texas, north of Fort Worth, is becoming a center for developing next-gen transportation technologies. It’s situated near an interstate, rail lines and an air cargo hub. READ MORE

 

Ohio’s 911 System Upgrades Will Save Time and Lives The shift to the Next-Generation 911 program will provide more accurate caller location information, increase the communication methods accessible to dispatchers and will reduce response time, potentially by minutes. READ MORE

 

Ohio’s Upcoming 911 Upgrade Is ‘Going to Save Lives’ “I can call for a pizza on my cellphone and they know exactly where I am, but emergency service is pretty far behind right now. For something like 911, we should have accurate information. There’s no question about that.” READ MORE

 

Online Government Services Need a ‘Human Copilot’ Despite progress toward digital services, people are still getting left on the outside looking in. For those having trouble navigating online government, connecting with staff for assistance might be the answer. READ MORE

 

Outdated Tech in Minnesota Wastes County Workers’ Time The 25-year-old computer system used to manage the state’s child protection cases and social service programs wastes hours each week of individual employees’ time and stalls legislative efforts to improve child welfare. READ MORE

 

Paper-Based Payments Continue in Cyber-Struck Birmingham Some city sources have attributed a cyber incident in early March to ransomware, although the municipality has only called it a “network disruption.” Birmingham is using paper-based processes to pay staff, but public effects may be more minor. READ MORE

 

Public-Sector Workforce Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels, but Gaps Persist After shedding nearly 1 million jobs, staffing levels are now higher than at the start of 2020. But severe shortages remain in several fields such as nursing, public safety and education. READ MORE

 

Report: Insecure Passwords Rampant Among .Gov Emails “Password” and “12345” were popular .gov email passwords in 2023, reveals a new report from cyber crime analytics company SpyCloud. There’s also been an increase in password reuse among accounts. READ MORE

 

Roanoke’s Biotech Renaissance and State-Led Housing Solutions Cities and states are working on novel solutions to old, intractable problems. Governing magazine’s return to print showcases stories of the people who are making them work across the country. READ MORE

 

Roanoke’s Reinvention: How a Small City Shifted Its Economy Cover Story: Roanoke lost the headquarters of two Fortune 500 companies. It created a promising future by retooling itself for biotech. READ MORE

 

San Jose CIO: AI ‘Challenges Us to Think Differently’ The Silicon Valley city has marked itself as a leader in AI with establishment of the GovAI Coalition and early adoption of guidelines — and CIO Khaled Tawfik says AI will likely change how leaders approach technology. READ MORE

 

Seattle Fire Trucks Are Deteriorating Too Fast for Repairs Since 2016, there’s been more than a 50 percent increase in Fire Department vehicles being pulled from service due to breakdowns or malfunctions. Currently, 45 percent of the department’s fire engines are older than 15 years. READ MORE

 

Starting Smart with Generative AI Generative AI can transform government by enhancing operational efficiency and the constituent experience. READ MORE

 

Stockton, Calif., Poised to Be Tenant on Floating Data Barge The city will lease space at Stockton 1 Data Center on a barge at the Port of Stockton. San Joaquin County is among other public- and private-sector entities renting space at the Nautilus Data Technologies facility. READ MORE

 

Texas Once Hustled to Get Kids on State Health Care. Now It’s Kicking Them Off. Texas’ recent unwinding of Medicaid and CHIP has been criticized, dropping more than a million people eligible for the health insurance programs. Decades ago,

 

Texas officials got kids health insurance in record time. READ MORE

 

The 2024 Election and the Need for Robust Website Security Local government websites are vital platforms for ensuring transparent, efficient, and secure election processes. However, these platforms are often prime targets for hackers and cybercriminals seeking to exploit vulnerabilities and compromise the integrity of election data. This fact sheet offers a concise, high-level overview of vital cybersecurity practices to consider in preparation for the upcoming 2024 US election. DOWNLOAD

 

The Pathways We Need to College and Good Jobs It takes partnerships among school districts, higher education, employers and community leaders to unlock the potential for more students to earn a degree that leads to significantly higher lifetime earnings. States can do a lot to make that happen. READ MORE

 

Timeline of Election Day Preparedness: From Planning to Execution Infographic outlines proactive steps to enhance communication, safety, and security during election season, starting four months prior to election day. DOWNLOAD INFOGRAPHIC

 

Tips for Overcoming IT Resource Drain in the Public Sector Here are five things you can do to help eliminate IT resource drain within your organization and provide improved IT service to employees and citizens. READ MORE

 

Transforming Government with Document Process Automation Document process automation (DPA) technology gives agencies a single, cohesive solution to manage their document-based projects. A DPA solution pulls documents from disparate systems into a centralized location that is accessible and visible to all collaborators. The result is a more efficient process that can save government agencies time and money. DOWNLOAD

 

Trolls and Their Tolls on Social Media Communicators This eBook from CivicPlus offers strategies for dealing with online trolls and guidance on how social media communicators can keep the peace on their websites without restricting free expression and meaningful and productive conversations. DOWNLOAD

 

U.S. ED, CISA Form Council to Tackle School Cybersecurity The new Government Coordinating Council will work with all levels of government to open channels of structured communication and put best practices into action in K-12 districts nationwide. READ MORE

 

U.S., Britain Will Partner to Safety Test AI Models The two nations have signed a pact committing their AI Safety Institutes to work together in testing emerging artificial intelligence models. Technologists will align their scientific approaches, trade information and do joint testing. READ MORE

 

Want Government Contracts? Revamp Your Personal LinkedIn A recent survey confirms that government employees are increasingly turning to online platforms like LinkedIn to vet potential vendors. A poorly optimized personal profile could cost a vendor valuable contracts. READ MORE

 

We Need a Lot More Housing. It Won’t Come from Washington. Biden’s budget would provide billions, along with heavy-handed regulation, but it won’t expand the supply. The way to build more housing and tame prices is for states to encourage local innovation. READ MORE

 

What’s New in Digital Equity: NTIA Announces $800 Million in Digital Equity Funding Plus, the FCC is preparing for a vote that could restore rules around net neutrality, state digital equity plans are continuing to be accepted, and more. READ MORE

 

With Tech, El Paso County, Colo., Brings the Outdoors Closer The county, through its Trailability Program, is using off-road TerrainHoppers to make trails accessible to people with disabilities; this year, GPS will enable solo rides. The county is also sharing scenery information via auditory devices. READ MORE

 

Women's Share of Council Seats in Big Cities Has Grown Dramatically With their numbers up more than 50 percent since 2016, women have achieved near-parity on councils in 15 major cities. Salaries on those councils have climbed an average of 27 percent. READ MORE

 

Wyoming CISO Steps in as Interim CIO as TR Sheehan Departs Wyoming Interim CIO TR Sheehan will move on from the position he has held twice, and CISO Aaron Roberts will add the CIO role to his duties, for now. Both men have been with the state for more than a decade. READ MORE

 

CAUTION

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
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