IT director keeps city on cutting edge

Jason Woolums ensures Johns Creek stays ahead of curve



JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Johns Creek is shaking up its structure a little, creating an Information Technology Department and promoting Jason Woolums to IT Department director.

Johns Creek has a reputation for embracing technology, and this was just the next logical step in its organization, said City Manager Warren Hutmacher. Woolums was one of two IT full-time employees with the city.

After the other man left to take a new job, the city decided to make Woolums IT director and will hire one staffer to work for him. Before the restructuring, the two IT employees were paid equally.

Now Woolums will get a bump in salary (with an eye to keeping him) and work with a systems manager, Jamie Nguyen, leaving the change revenue neutral, said Jeff Breslau, city communications director.

The restructuring will give the IT personnel a more familiar and formal structure, Woolums said.

As IT director, Woolums will be responsible for the all systems and applications hardware and software as well as facilities’ security systems.

In fact there aren’t many places in the city that the IT folks don’t look after.

For example, there is the Enterprise Resource Planning package.

“It is used to manage our entire community development and finance software packages,” Woolums said. “We manage all the police and fire records maintenance systems as well as email, phone, applications, file and print.”

IT also includes networking infrastructure connectivity and security.

“If the city plugs it in and our data touches it, it’s our baby,” Woolums said.

The one exception is the Geographic Technology Systems Department which will remain its own area of expertise.

“The new organizational structure also spells out roles and responsibilities and gives us better definition of duties,” he said. “It’s a much more clear organizational structure.”

It also gives a clearer organizational path should the IT Department expand in the future.

Anything technical with fire and police also comes within Woolum’s bailiwick and that includes all the technology inside vehicles – which is more technology than was available to the Apollo space capsules. Also the city’s Open Data portal comes under Woolums.

Under the Open Checkbook program, citizens can look at the city budget and at each department’s expenditures to see how well the city is adhering to all budgeted items.

“It gives details department by department and fund by fund,” Woolums said. “It is great for data geeks like me. We want to make government as transparent as we can while maintaining security of the data. That was the charge from the mayor and City Council.”

If you ever want to see Woolums in action, though, the best place and time is during City Council meetings or other live-streaming events at City Hall. He is the guy in the back surrounded by sophisticated equipment.

After the meetings, the video clips are “bookmarked” so the public can cut right to the subjects of interest. That spares the user the annoying task of trolling through the video in a visual or audio search for the pertinent information.

That is the one bit of technology for which reporters are most thankful.

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