MISA BC - President's Message

President's Message

President's Message

As written for the March 2017 edition of Municipal Interface.

On a recent trip outside of Canada, I was moved by the efforts of my host city to overcome poverty and make great strides in providing sewer, water, roads and municipal services to local residents. I felt a deep sense of pride belonging to the broad family of local government employees, people dedicated to providing a quality of life for the residents in their communities across the world. 

Closer to home, I reflected that our municipal success in building strong communities is more reliant on working together than ever.  Consider for a moment the ever-expanding menu of technologies with an impact on our service delivery, including IoT, AI, broadband, business intelligence, mobile and big data, to name a few.  Garnish those with a liberal dose of cyber, Agile, TOGAF, ITIL, enterprise architecture, 311, etc., and find one city with experience in all, or half, or even one.  Slim pickings.  MISA has a big role in Canada, and our potential, from facilitating knowledge sharing and education to enabling direct collaboration, is immense.

In our last chapter update, MISA BC set an ambitious agenda to further engage its membership in a variety of areas.  We’ve been busy!  In September, we hosted our largest fall conference ever, drawing well in excess of four-hundred delegates.  The beautiful City of Victoria was a significant attraction but we also introduced new events to keep the schedule relevant and compelling. This year, we garnered considerable interest in a number of municipal led speaking engagements.  Our birds of a feather workshop continued in its popularity, and our new “Been There Done That” CIO round table drew a solid crowd.  With greater member engagement the goal, we held our first special general meeting at the fall conference (our AGM is at our smaller Spring Workshop).  Presentations on the MISA BC strategic plan and new association website attracted over one-hundred members and packed the room to standing capacity.  Considering membership needs in all regards, we even supplied a complimentary beverage (perhaps, we’ll try popcorn, next year).

Consultation, innovation, and change were focus points over the fall for our hard-working team of volunteers.  To validate our draft strategic plan and better understand where member priorities and concerns lay, we undertook a member survey on key elements of the plan.  The board carefully considered responses to the survey, along with feedback from the fall conference information session, and was able to formally adopt the plan in January.  We are very excited to have a roadmap for the next couple of years.  Owing to changes in our provincial Societies Act, we’ve had to modernize our bylaws.  This push has provided an opportunity to include a provision for electronic elections, a technology that will extend the MISA BC franchise and engage members who often aren’t able to attend our spring AGM to vote.  To lay the groundwork for future board elections, we developed an online voting process and piloted a solution for electing our vendor liaisons to the executive team.  There were more complexities than expected, but the end result was better accessibility to the vendor community and about a fifty percent participation rate – pretty good by municipal standards.

Rounding out the year, many of our volunteers were involved in the transition to our new website, in partnership with MISA Canada.  We are still ironing out a few small issues, but otherwise enjoying new online payment capacity and discussion forums.

Looking forward, the MISA BC horizon includes a variety of key education events in both physical and online modalities.  In addition to delivering our Spring Workshop on Agile methodology in April and keystone Fall Conference in September, we are moving ahead with a Municipal Leaders Spotlight webinar series.  Local government technology leaders throughout the province are an innovative group who do great things and have much to share with their colleagues in different municipalities.  To bridge the formidable gaps of distance and time, our webinars will provide an opportunity to spotlight successful initiatives in an interactive forum online.  Our inaugural event, highlighting Smart Communities at the City of Maple Ridge will take place on February 27th.  I invite you to check the events section of the MISA BC website for information on future webinars – you are more than welcome to participate.

We asked our members for their help making MISA BC an increasingly relevant and valuable organization, and I think it’s working. Increased engagement through our special general meeting, strategy consultation process, vendor elections and a greatly expanded volunteer team, shows the desire to work together throughout our IT community.  We will continue to push ahead and further the means to provide education and knowledge sharing opportunities for our membership.  Most importantly, we will carry on the task of fostering connections between municipal IT staff in British Columbia and building the relationships that matter.

Darin Young

President, MISA BC