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Technology Summit 2004

Sister City Program Mayoral Summit "Transforming Government Through Technology" June 24-25, 2004


On June 24-25, 2004, the Sister City Program of the City of New York, Inc. in partnership with the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT), and with the cooperation of the City University Of New York (CUNY), hosted a Mayoral Summit entitled, "Transforming Government Through Technology." Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg opened the Summit with a Keynote Address at City Hall.

Mayor Bloomberg (sixth from right) posing with Sister City Program officers, DOITT Commissioner Gino Menchini, and international delegates at City Hall. Credit: Ed Reed, Mayor’s Photo Unit

Beijing, Budapest, Cairo, Jerusalem, London, and Madrid sent Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and other high-level technology officials to participate in this Summit. Rome and Tokyo were represented by local individuals.

Ambassador Nancy E. Soderberg, President of the Sister City Program, hosted the Summit. The New York City delegation included the Honorable Marjorie B. Tiven, Commissioner for the NYC Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol, and other senior and executive staff members from a variety of New York City municipal agencies.

The Technology Summit took place at four beautiful venues: City Hall, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Gracie Mansion, and the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In his opening keynote address, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stressed the important role technology plays in government. Technology can be used to increase accessibility to citizen services, increase transparency and accountability, and increase efficiency. Mayor Bloomberg also emphasized how the human component determines the effectiveness of any program that uses technology. Without the support and willingness of individuals in government to adopt new technologies, meeting the challenge of doing more with less is not possible. New York City, as well as each of her Sister Cities, recognizes that technology can make government more accessible and more effective for its citizens.

The Summit included sessions on the New York City 3-1-1 Citizen Service Center, the creation of the NYC.gov portal, and the development of a Citywide Geographic Information System (GIS) Utility.

First Deputy Commissioner Larry Knafo conducting a tour of the 311 Call Center during the first day of the Summit. Credit: Sister City Program of the City of New York, Inc.

The Honorable Gino P. Menchini, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Information Technology and Communications, addressed participants on the importance of customer service and how leveraging existing resources has contributed to successful consolidation and cost savings initiatives in New York City. He addressed the use of technological innovations in municipal governments and how New York City is pioneering this partnering of technological innovation and government responsiveness.

Our Sister City, Beijing, presented on the use of technology in the development of the official Beijing City website. The construction of E-Government for Beijing is one of the most important development strategies for the city for the 21st Century, and it is using the forthcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics Games as a catalyst for implementing its E-Government initiative. The main goals of Beijing's e-government initiative are to reduce administrative hierarchies, clarify administrative work, increase transparency, and enhance government-public interaction. By 2008, Beijing’s government services should be available on-line 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

(from left to right) Ron Bergmann (DOITT Deputy Commissioner), Zhu Yan (Beijing), Tang Wei (Beijing), Tang Jianguo (Beijing), Veronica Kelly (Sister City Program). Credit: Tamas Revesz

(from left to right) Maria Jesus Fraile Fabra (Madrid), Enrique Martin Cabrera (Madrid), Ron Spalter (CUNY), Mico Licastro (Rome), Andrew Salkin (First Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission), Mieko Sato (Tokyo). Credit: Tamas Revesz

The second day’s sessions focused on the many innovative applications of technology by individual municipal agencies to improve the delivery of city services in areas such as transportation and public health. London began the day with a presentation on its pioneering traffic congestion policy, the first of its kind to be implemented in Europe. The traffic congestion policy includes road pricing plans, peak hour travel pricing, pre-payment plans, and the multi-use Oyster Card. Launched as part of its efforts to implement a comprehensive
e-Government by 2005, London’s high profile initiative of congestion charging has proved to be highly successful.

The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission followed with a presentation on its plans to install geo-tracking software and credit card capabilities in the taxi fleets. The New York City Department of Health/Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) discussed the development of Syndromic Surveillance, an early warning system which uses technology to provide real time monitoring of city health conditions through the use of existing electronic data from hospitals, pharmacies, major NYC employers and the 911 emergency call center. In addition, the DOHMH leads the City of New York in the use of mobile computing technologies to perform a variety of field-based activities.

Summit participants toured the museum and viewed the exchange floor at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Credit: Sister City Program of the City of New York, Inc.

An evening reception took place at Gracie Mansion for the Friends of the Sister City Program and Technology Summit participants, hosted by Sister City President, Ambassador Nancy E. Soderberg, Commissioner Gino P. Menchini, and Commissioner Marjorie B. Tiven. Guests included representatives of the Mayor's Office, senior DOITT officials, officials from CUNY, and the Consuls General from our ten Sister City countries.

Other highlights of the Summit included:
  • Tours of the Federal Reserve, the 311 Citizen Call Center, the New York Mercantile Exchange, City Hall and Gracie Mansion;
  • Welcome remarks by the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Mr. Timothy Geithner, and the First Vice-President, Ms. Christine Cumming;
  • Welcome remarks by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New York Mercantile Exchange, Mitchell Steinhause;
  • Publication and distribution of Sister City White Papers;
  • New York City Photo Exhibition - A special preview of New York City photographs by Pulitzer Memorial Award winning photographer, Tamas Revesz was available. Mr. Revesz’s photos are part of an exhibit that will travel to Tokyo in the summer of 2004 as a Sister City project.
  • Tour of Hudson River Park by New York Water Taxi. Commentary provided by Hudson River Park Trust personnel described the software and technological expertise required to construct a project of such unprecedented size and complexity, and by the Tom Fox, President of Water Taxi, who detailed the technological advances of his vessels.
  • Welcome Banner displayed at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Terminal 4 to welcome delegates to this Summit.
The Technology Summit furthered one of the Sister City Program's goals of fostering partnerships among our sister cities in business, security and culture through summit meetings on topics of importance to New York and our Sister Cities. The Program recognizes that governments around the world face a challenging set of circumstances. In addition to international conflict and the shadow of terrorism, uncertain economies are driving unprecedented change in the way governments respond to citizens’ needs. Technology has an important role in municipal government, and enables municipal agencies to deliver services far more efficiently and effectively. In addition to this Summit, we have conducted summit meetings on Rebuilding Tourism and Terrorism and Crime.

The Sister City Program of the City of New York is located in the office of the New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol. The Commission is the liaison between New York City and the diplomatic community, the United Nations, and the US Department of State.

The Sister City Program acknowledges the generous support of Accenture and Lynn Korda Kroll, Chair of the New York City-Jerusalem Sister City Relationship, for this Summit.


  Official Press Release
  Summit Schedule
  311 Citizen Service Hotline One Year Anniversity Press Release

  Conference Papers
  Beijing White Paper
  Budapest White Paper
  Cairo White Paper
  London White Paper
  Santo Domingo White Paper
  Madrid White Paper
  New York City White Paper
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