INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: HCD/HABC INFORMATION OFFICER

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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: HCD/HABC INFORMATION OFFICER
Problem Identification:
Two separate entities are responsible for housing programs within the city. The Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC), largely funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has responsibility for public housing and management of Section 8 funds. The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has responsibility for neighborhood development and housing social programs. Currently HABC manages the IT organization which supports both agencies. The result is that HABC issues receive priority over HCD, and there is little or no coordinated effort to develop applications common to both HABC and HCD.

Recommended Action:
Hire a department information officer to manage technology activities for both the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. Consolidate information technology staff into a single unit serving both organizational entities.

Classification:
Organizational, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
HCD, HABC

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
None

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
90 days

Next Steps:
Develop job description and job responsibilities for the CIO position, recruit qualified candidates, and reorganize current IT staff.

Analysis:
The IT staff currently managed by HABC has been the de facto support staff for both HABC and HCD. The HABC IT staff has done a very credible job of developing a technology infrastructure that serves both organizations. Their network infrastructure appears to be well thought out and comprehensive, with consistent standards and appropriate use of third-party support services. From an application perspective, however, the priorities of HABC have eclipsed those of HCD, resulting in largely unmet IT needs within HCD.

By creating a unified IT function, the priorities of both HABC and HCD can be better balanced. These two entities share a common responsibility for managing housing programs within the city and have many areas of commonality, such as inspection programs. Currently there is little or no coordination in the development of applications that are common to the two organizations. Implicit in the creation of an independent IT function reporting to the Commissioner/Executive Director is the ongoing responsibility to maintain careful accounting to ensure that federal funds are not subsidizing City operations inappropriately. This would require the consolidated IT function to institute time accounting and expense accounting.