Recognition for Six Innovations in New York State and Local Government

May 12, 2017

New Yorkers are quick to point to what is wrong with government, but New York also has a rich, and continuing, tradition of public innovation.  In early May, the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government announced the Top 25 programs in their innovations in American Government Awards competition. Six of the 25 programs are located in New York State.

Reinvent Albany congratulates the New Yorkers who created these government and civic tech innovation:

Cell-Ed Pilot Program, State Of New York: Cell-ED is a pilot program to provide free English-language training via mobile phones to hundreds of immigrants in New York State who may lack regular access to a classroom, a computer, or the internet.

Fiscal Stress Monitoring System, Comptroller State of New York: The Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) provides an objective and transparent fiscal stress assessment annually for 2,300 local governments in the state, using self-reported financial data. Scores and reports published annually give local stakeholders robust tools for decision-making on budgets and service delivery.

Juvenile Community Accountability Board, Albany County: Juvenile Community Accountability Board (JCAB) provides the Probation Department a diversion option for juveniles charged with misdemeanor or low-level felony offenses. JCAB provides the victims, the community, and the juvenile a reparative experience without needlessly expending correctional resources that can used more effectively for serious juvenile offenders.

LinkNYC, City of New York: LinkNYC is a first-of-its-kind program that is transforming payphones into Wi-Fi kiosks to create the world’s largest and fastest free Wi-Fi network. Links provide fast and secure gigabit Wi-Fi, free domestic calling, USB charging ports, tablets to access wayfinding and city services, and access to contact emergency services.

Mobility Initiative, City of New York: The New York City Police Department’s Mobility Initiative is part of their Plan of Action blueprint, designed to deliver improved police services and break down the barriers between police and the people they serve. As part of this, the NYPD put a smartphone in the hands of all 36,000 officers and placed a tablet in every emergency response vehicle. By providing e-mail addresses and phone numbers to the entire uniformed workforce, the smartphones and tablets make officers, including the new Neighborhood Coordination Officers, directly accessible to the community.

Pre-K for All, City of New York (finalist): In January of 2014, the New York City Mayor’s Office released its ambitious plan to implement universal pre-kindergarten to provide every four-year-old in New York City with access to free, full-day, high-quality pre-K by September of 2015. The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) served as the lead agency for the initiative, in coordination with the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. 

Read more about the competition and the Top 25 recipients at the Ash Center’s Website. Finalists will be making presentations to the National Selection Committee of the Innovations in American Government Awards on May 17, 2017.