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tv   [untitled]    April 10, 2011 7:00am-7:30am PDT

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anticipate an answer to that question or to be able to answer that question now. >> supervisor, this is an interesting conversation that i know we will have throughout the budget process, as someone who has worked on multiple consolidation proposals for many years, we all often have this issue or rise. as consolidation proposals, be a technology or other units in the city, the more complex they are, typically the greater the up- front cost and the harder they are to implement in terms of resources and time required. part of the conversation we are having here today about consolidation in the time line for data centers is heavily the time that it takes to construct a new physical facility for us to use, creating an unfortunate but realistic delay that comes
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from the time and effort required to construct, and other costs that comes with it -- that comes with it in years later. we have talked about consolidating health centers, recreation clinics around the city. whether the changes physical or a resource, often there is a delay in time. we see this effect in your point of investment and time required. >>supervisor mirkarimi: a very good point that does not come up enough. but the psychology of us having a debate about whether to close or consolidate fire stations, something that is very front and center in front of the general public is one that sort of folks the kind of debate where, on
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this question, this is invisible. this is a ghost part of what helps the engine run of our city government. that people do not see and realized in terms of direct and indirect benefits. yet, it really is the central nervous system, if you think about it, of exactly how our government is running. if it is running efficiently at the dollar rate that we can justify. i have note -- for example, i have no basis to conclude -- compared to other cities what they spend on a level of data management and i.t. performance the way that we do here. it might be worth just giving some reference, what other cities are striving to do. you know,, modern cities like
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san francisco, of course. kidding, tongue-in-cheek. but i mean cities that have similar challenges per capita, etc. in this case, consolidation has been completely astute by voters and in the general public. things near and dear to their hearts. in this case we have consented to the idea that this is the right thing we should be pursuing because of how torturous the information and data systems at, say the police department, others, it is just a relic. it has been screaming for this kind of intervention. we get that. the bottom line on our minds is that you would think that the theory is with modernization and consolidation, yields would come from a particular dividend of
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savings. we are not sure what the savings are, but we are hearing that some might be delayed. delayed release. what i would love to understand is efficiencies. where are the efficiencies that help us make a government run better? this is that nervous system that makes it that much more effective, both internally or in the public. you might not be able to answer that now, but no one has ever been able to present that to us. that has helped to underscore this particular achievement, consolidation. >> if i may respond to the supervisors comments and questions. again, i think that we are at somewhat of a crossroads in our discussion on technology and how it supports the city is a nerve center. when i came three years ago, there was not a clear
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understanding of how much was spent, a citywide, and i t. the magnitude and challenge of the opportunity, perhaps it may have taken too long in the view of people, but we are at that point now, having that conversation strategically. are we spending enough? how do we benchmark against other cities? i know that we are getting that data. los angeles, chicago, new york. other cities that we typically judge ourselves against in terms of spending and what busy roi benefit of technology in terms of overall city spending. fire stations do not operate without technology. hospitals do not operate without technology. it is an underlying element of how we provide the importance to the customer facing city services. as we enter the city's budget discussions over the next few
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months, we will be able to provide you with that data so that you have taken textual view of how we are performing in relationship to large municipal organizations around the country. that will help you, maybe, i think, provide us with challenges or areas that we could focus on where we could do better. i think that the department of technology is here to offer its services, be a spokesperson, facilitate conversations. it is not the problem of a single department. anit is an i.t. problem across the city. we are willing to come together and have that conversation about how we support the city and are we doing the right thing. supervisor mirkarimi: on the question of the reserves, i hear the concerns expressed on what it means if the reserves are
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released in totality. i also hear the caveats expressed by our colleague. i am open-minded about whether we want to release them are not. it seems to be the motivation if we are able to hold back some of the money. at least it works in these kinds of situations with other departments, hopefully. but if that is not the case, then, you know, i will remain open-minded. this has been a bit of a torturous cycle. i am hoping that we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel here in terms of what consolidation actually means. but it seems a long and winding road. supervisor chu: we have not yet taken public comment on this item. let's do that first and come back to the item before us.
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are there any members of the public that wish to speak on this item? public comment is closed. just to the item over all, just some thoughts on it. when you talked about there being a way for a proper motivation for the reserve to be maintained, the one thing is that when we first put the reserve on the table, we said we would do that to the extent that pending an update on i.t. consolidation efforts for the data center -- from everything i've heard, even though the department has been delayed and not gone the way that people thought it would, they have done everything we have asked them to do in terms of consolidation. at the new facility there are plans to do it at the airport. i believe they have met that criteria. in terms of having it reserved in place to create incentive for
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motivation, i think the department has demonstrated that they are delivering on the project. i do not know what further motivation could there be to lay off or spend more money, as they have done everything we have best of them. the potential for not releasing the reserves is important, given where we are in our time line. if we made the decision not to release reserves, the apartments would quickly have to figure out how to make that gap. we are not talking about small numbers. we are talking about $1.5 million from the health department. it is not insignificant for the department in terms of how it is that they will figure this out. given what we have to do and 60 day layoff requirements, we could really benefit from one month of salary savings, meaning cuts will be larger than
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anticipated. that is why i would be supportive of maintaining reserves. on the issue of releasing partial reserves, the issue for this committee is the agenda in coming months. already, we have arboretum items coming up. we have several supplementals coming in through committee, in addition to the deliberations in may and june. realistically there is a way to revisit and make sure we are making progress. i am not sure the partial reserve would be the way. frankly, we would have to hear this item again and we would hear this same information again. there are many things to focus on. perhaps a better use of time rather than telling you to come back and data consolidation, instead of coming back improving the same thing over and over again, why not tell us about the
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opportunities for short-term savings and where there would be if we were to move forward with projects like funding master release changes. it would be better served in terms of where the budget is going, rather than dwelling on this issue. that would be my thought on the reserves. so, committee members, we have the release of reserves. is there a motion for anything here? supervisor mirkarimi: yes, i very much agree with much of what she said. i would like to offer a slightly different consideration. i would certainly be amenable to releasing the reserves, but i am not sure that i would want to do all of it. by understand the hectic pace we are confronted by. yet we want the trains to keep rolling forward. if i am not mistaken, there is a
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report due back in two months or so. and i correct on this? >> per the recommendation of the budget analyst, we would be able to provide the report to you. supervisor mirkarimi: i would be open to releasing half of the reserves today, relatives in condition to that report, let's see the progress of the report. we would then release the remainder on balance. what would that achieve? who knows. we are hoping the desired effect. i think that that might make us feel a little bit better, just about the trajectory we are on right now. and the fact that this is only about obviously until the rest of this budget cycle. supervisor chu: with the mayor's
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office like to respond to a partial reserve -- with the mayor's office like to respond to a partial -- would the mayor's office like to respond to a partial reserve? >> the plea that i would make would be that i certainly agree, this conversation is not over and of the purpose of doing a partial release would be to give us a vehicle to continue to have that conversation. my plea would be, number one, what exactly are we going to try to achieve over the next three months? but what is the goal of continuing to rally -- to leave that reserved in place? the reason that i ask, if we look at who is here -- the finance directors and chief information officers of our biggest apartments are here. this issue is very important to
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them. they have this uncertainty in their budget with a very short time line in front of them. in addition, we are in the process of cutting their budgets. this kind of uncertainty over what is going on while we are trying to make additional cuts, i think that is difficult for the department as they try to manage through the last three months. i understand the point that you are trying to get, there are things that we still want to accomplish here. i would argue that it would probably be operationally, in terms of our time and synergy for the budget process, it would make more sense to have that conversation as a part of the budget process than to have us come back in a month and half in believe that operational uncertainty as they try to help us figure out how to operate the
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larger budget. that would be likely and request of the committee. supervisor chu: mr. president? supervisor chiu: let'to remind folks of where we were last year, i recommended cutting this full amount. we will find a way for cost savings in short order that did not happen. while i did come here open and moving forward to releasing i.t. reserves, we understand the frustration that done enough work is being done. one question that i have for mr. wagner, do you expect various i.t. departments to be coming back with significant cost savings proposals for 2012? i am wondering if that could be the metric by which we decide to
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release half of the reserves? >> just so that i understand, are you referring to the consolidation proposals? or are you asking whether they are making additional i.t. cutts as part of their budgets? supervisor chiu: i am asking about both. in the next few weeks, has it been made clear to the heads of each department that they need to continue to look for savings. if they had come from consolidation, that would be great. we want to make sure that there is that because progress for the next fiscal year. >> supervisor, you have a lot of major departments in the room. from my perspective, we have not issued them instructions to simply cut their i.t. budgets.
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we have given them reduction targets. as we always do, we have worked with them to understand whether i.t. savings can be a part of that goal. in terms of citywide direction, guidance and policy direction that we have been taking has been centered around discussions that have gone on through development above five- year i.t. lamps -- development of the five your i.t. plan. -- fisa your -- five year i.t. plan. i would be open to hearing john's thoughts on that or whether there are recommendations for specific initiatives that she would like us to pursue.
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i think that that is the big picture. we asked departments to make reductions in proposals that they can meet best. some of those reductions will involve by tea, others involved reduction in other operating costs. -- involve i.t., others involve production in other operating costs. >> -- supervisor chiu: without i.t. reserves, this work will like it done. it has been pulling teeth to get to where we are today. i am not particularly confident that in the next couple of months we will get to a place where we want to be. i am asking for some assurance an understanding of how that will happen. if the supervisor's idea of hanging on to these reserves is a way to make sure that this gets done in the next couple of weeks, it makes sense to me.
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>> madam chair, members of the committee, monique zmuda. i have been looking at these requests over the next five years. there is a pent-up demand for a number of infrastructure operating systems. the number of departments that have been forced, because there is insufficient money to take a look at their existing practices, existing operations within the i.t. area, and make trade-offs, we know a number of departments have fresh projects where all of their computers and software must begin to be replaced. there are a number of infrastructure requirements. i can tell you that what a
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number of departments have done, particularly large departments, they have found existing savings within their own organization and applied those savings to meet new needs rather than request general fund money. whether or not there is a cost savings that can be used towards the deficit is another question. i do know that there is a tremendous effort to reallocate in every appropriate resources and to prioritize those resources. with respect to a partial reserve, certainly, this board has the authority and capability to do it. i also think that with all of the hearings taking place in all of the departments, there will be ample opportunity to question the department and for the department to provide information on what their i.t. budget is and how it is changing from year to year. by that time, the board of
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supervisors will have access to the five-year i.t. plan and you will have the entire picture. what the financial strategies might be to meet those needs and what sacrifices the department and city needs to taken on in order to accomplish many of these. supervisor chiu: i hear that. i appreciate the information that has been done. it does make me think that what the supervisor has proposed in terms of withholding some of the i.t. reserves in this area would be a good thing. we are asking departments right now to come up with 10% cuts, plus 10% contingency cuts. even if we get caught in the general fund in department, we are still $100 million away from where we need to be. what are different groups within these departments doing and are
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the things that we can do throughout the apartment of technology that will result in greater efficiencies? supervisor mirkarimi: something that has been festering for almost three to four years now, related to the west of consolidating services, and i appreciate the sidebar conversation we just, it is that 3.5 years ago we passed legislation for all the city commissions. we want streaming audio.
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people that can get off their computers. the ongoing proceedings and deliberations of the number of commission task force that the general public should have complete access for, it has not happened. the budget item that was for that particular endeavor that we passed was literally under $60,000. at most, to date, from what i understand is the progress report has seen only five departments out of the huge network of departments and agencies represented by advisory group interests have been able to get signed on. the reason for bringing this uppe, the fact that if we are nt having the hearing today about the realizing of financial savings or efficiencies have
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been enhanced internally, i would like to think that the outgoing benefits would be something that benefits the public directly. i am not feeling that yet, although i hear that that is happening, that it is in the making, and when we see the gift presented and unwrapped it will be in standing. but as it is now, this is problematic for me that this legislation 3.5 years later has not been realized, something that was so simple and, surely, affordable, wiring in everyone through streaming audio. access to deliberations that are not covered by sunshine in an ongoing proceedings disclosure and sf tv. that is not happening. so, i will make an alternative motion. i would suggest pepper, and it is ok if we have friendly
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disagreement here, i suggest that my motion that we release half of the reserves today and we ask for a condition of report to come back within six weeks, by six weeks, to hear what the progress is. of course, i think we would be poised to release the remainder amount. supervisor chu: thank you. i am hearing a motion to release half of the reserve and to bring the item back in six weeks? correct? supervisor mirkarimi: yes. whenever the period of time, but i am trying to give you, instead of two months, three months. supervisor chu: call of the chair, you are saying. i do not support releasing only half of it. i truly think that this budget committee needs to focus on
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savings and other ideas from the department. it is time to ask the part of technology to come to us and say, where else are we going to get the savings from? i do not see how i am going to squeeze this or more from i.t. consolidation. i would hate for us to spend all of this time on an issue that we are making good progress on. i think that it would be more worth our time to get cost saving alternatives in the near term, that would be a better use of our time. the other thing that i want you to understand before we take this vote, if we say that we will take a 50% released in reserves, what we are saying is that we will only release $750,000. meaning that you have a cap or a shortfall in your budget, roughly. if we come back in one month,
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the department but have no ability to deal with it. let of noticing provisions would kick in and he would not be able to realize a savings. we're with the department code to figure out how to realize the shortfall? they would go directly to contracts. they are not going to reduce the rent. they will not have savings in the other categories. i want to impress upon all of us here, the reason i will not be supporting partial release, frankly, we have exhausted this item. we need to come back and monitor it, focusing on the future and other opportunities. second of all, i think apple you will be leading the department in a bad situation. contracts and other things to close the gap. making a decision later on in the process. that is just my thought on it. i will not be supporting that motion.
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ok, so there is a motion to release 50% income -- continue the item to a call of the chair. could we do a role called? supervisor chiu: the supervisors have just articulated my own ambivalence. it is my hope that if he were to come back in six weeks and provide a report, that it would give us a road map of the savings that we could expect to see in the next year. i would be worried that if we simply released to the reserve, there will be no incentive for departments to work together to compose the solutions that help us to deal with our budget situation and make us stronger as a city. i think that what the supervisor is proposing makes some sense. i understand that the
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departments are assuming this money is coming in, but in my mind that is part of the problem. we should have been assuming all along that we had to find cost savings and it has not happened. people have assumed that they will be able to live within the budget they have set. framing everyone's priorities and how they will find cost savings as opposed to assuming that this committee is going to not press forward with the need for overall i.t. consolidation. i think that what the supervisor has proposed makes sense and i look forward, i hope, too good answers and solutions in the coming weeks. supervisor chu: i know that supervisor mirkarimi is looking to make a point, but one thing that i would ask to be specific, given that all of us

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