IE11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

GovOps Undersecretary: Embrace the Humanity of Government

At an event in Sacramento, Government Operations Agency Undersecretary Miriam Barcellona Ingenito called on state IT leaders to embrace the challenges of working in an often politically charged environment to “fight the good fight.”

Day two of the California Public Sector CIO Academy began with opening remarks from Government Operations Agency (GovOps) Undersecretary Miriam Barcellona Ingenito, who candidly described the work of state government as falling to truly heroic people and “some jerks.”

The complex and often politically charged environment, she said, requires solutions that extend beyond the realm of technology and presses IT leaders to handle the “thorniest questions” with grace and agility.

“My expertise comes from working alongside the people who lead government, the messy and confusing place where people decide who gets what and how,” Barcellona Ingenito said.

She urged leaders to fall back on the expertise of their teams, embracing new ways of thinking about the age-old problems of government. IT’s ultimate job, she said, is to provide critical services to those who need them most.

“I say this to encourage you to learn to love the system of government, in all its imperfections and its humaneness,” she said.

The undersecretary called on agencies and the vendors they work with to create thoughtful solutions that work toward the mission of solving real problems for their constituents.

“It’s good technology in service to what the people need and when they need it most. It’s truly understanding the business operations and the political problems that your directors and secretaries are up against. It’s thinking of technology as a means to help those with problems, not just to build something because we can build it,” she said.

Understanding the mission of an agency or client is critical, and building or deploying tech for the thrill of it should be avoided, Barcellona Ingenito said.

Artificial intelligence is one area dripping with potential for government agencies and their private-sector partners, but it’s also an area that needs to be closely watched to safeguard state-held data and delicate public trust, she noted.

“The amount of work that has gone into urgently grappling with understanding its possibilities, to understand and prepare for its pitfalls, to avoid them to set up the guardrails to provide guidance and training — all the while focusing on maintaining and protecting the public trust,” she said.
Eyragon is the Managing Editor for Industry Insider — California. He previously served as the Daily News Editor for Government Technology. He lives in Sacramento, Calif.