As part of Techwireongoing efforts to educate readers about state agencies, their IT plans and initiatives, here’s the latest in our periodic series of interviews with departmental IT leaders.
Avery Maglinti, a veteran city staffer, serves as the City of Newport Beach’s IT Manager, a position he has held since the start of 2022. In Newport Beach, IT is a division of the City Manager’s Office; the IT Manager manages this division and reports to the Deputy City Manager. Maglinti’s career in the Orange County coastal town spans 21 years, including 14 years as an IT analyst, nearly three years as a senior IT analyst, and more than four years as a supervisor. computer applications.
A native of Hawaii, Maglinti holds a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
Techwire: As the IT manager of your organization, how would you describe your role? and how has the role and responsibilities of the IT manager changed in recent years?
Maglinti: I think the most important role I play is to be that facilitator and relationship builder between departments and business units in the city, and then to facilitate those conversations; or make sure that one department’s goals can be carried over to another department, where they don’t necessarily see that connection when it comes to technology. As for the changes, I think that’s exactly it. Before, I feel like IT was kind of this bunch of people who were just in a basement making sure the email was working and the PCs were working and then you took care of it. But it has morphed into this group of people who help everyone achieve their business goals and are embedded within the business unit itself to ensure they can accomplish what they need to. … I have certainly seen us go through this transition; our software systems have probably quadrupled since I started here. Same with appliances. Pretty much everyone needs some piece of technology to do their job now.
Techwire: What role do you personally play in writing your organization’s strategic plan?
Maglinti: I would say that we are rather indirect in terms of advisers. What we try to do…from an IT governance perspective is to embed ourselves in each department and then advise them (as they go) as they…define the strategic objective overall of the organization.
Techwire: What are the major initiatives or upcoming projects? What types of tenders should we watch over the next six to 12 months?
Maglinti: I think our biggest, obviously, is security, which is on everyone’s radar with everything from tools to staff training to IT staff training. We are looking at renovating many of our conference rooms, the audiovisual (visual) equipment in them, teleconferencing, adding teleconferencing to some of these rooms. And then on the software side, I think we’re going to look at part-time staff scheduling, how we can manage certain staff more effectively. We currently have a tender for public awareness of water usage in terms of water consumption on the utility billing side, so they can log in and see their water usage. hourly water.
Editor’s note: The city is currently implementing so-called “smart” water meters and this project will likely be completed by the end of the summer.
Techwire: What term or phrase do you use to refer to what many call “digital transformation”? Where is your organization in this process and how will you know when it is complete?
Maglinti: I don’t know if it’s a sentence but it’s…something I keep telling myself…what I call myself is this nimble alignment, where you’re constantly trying to realign this that the company needs in relation to all the technological developments that exist. And continually make sure you’re aligned with the purpose of what a department or business unit is trying to…achieve. I don’t think that’s something — and this is my personal opinion — that will ever happen. I think it will just be this iterative alignment… where you found something better, now it’s time to implement it, let’s change it, maybe you can hire more people in your organization or consolidate some software to achieve multiple goals at the same time and…continually look at it that way.
Techwire: Are there particular areas where further harmonization may be needed from an IT perspective?
Maglinti: I think it’s about making sure everyone is aware that security is an organizational concern and that each individual actor in the city is…aligned with our security. It’s not just IT’s job; it’s not the job of that individual person who clicked on that phishing link, but it’s a collective pair of eyes that make sure security is taken care of, with that human firewall, I guess they call it.
Techwire: What is your estimated IT budget and how many employees do you have? What is the overall budget?
Maglinti: Our IT budget is approximately $5.3 million per year. We have 16 computer scientists.
Techwire: How do you prefer to be contacted by suppliers, including via social networks such as LinkedIn? How could suppliers better inform themselves before meeting you?
Maglinti: For me, I’m good with an email, sort of an introductory email, so I can do some research beforehand. I’m just going to see where we line up in terms of vendor offerings and our long-term strategic goals for IT or even the organization, see where that lines up. And in terms of research, I just like a good old-fashioned conversation, where we can lay out our… goals, maybe what we have on our roadmap of what we’re trying to accomplish, and see where that lines up or where our particular vendor might help.
Techwire: As part of your tenure in this position, what project or achievement are you most proud of?
Maglinti: I think for me, the thing I’m most proud of is seeing a team of people able to pivot and be creative during COVID-19. It was just one of those things that everyone had to deal with at the same time; it had personal ramifications in terms of personal life and then obviously your professional life was turned upside down. Mostly for IT, coming up with new solutions…not knowing what was going on, I watched our IT team adapt and roll with it, then adjust again as needed, as things opened and closed. I was really proud to be part of a team that pulled together and did whatever had to happen.
Techwire: If you could change one thing about IT procurement, what would it be?
Maglinti: In fact, I love this one. I think… the process is working. I think for us, the way we’ve set it up is that we’re looking to get a wide variety of vendor solutions that we can choose from, or choose the most effective solution in general. It even works in terms of vendors contacting you and letting you know what they provide. I find it all really interesting when people coldly throw you off. We usually look at things through our own lens, and sometimes someone brings something to the table that you never thought of, it makes you think and maybe you can’t do it this year, but next year, it’s a little tickle in your brain that this is possible.
Techwire: What do you read to stay up to date with developments in the gov tech/SLED sector?
Maglinti: I read Government Technology* and then, I really keep myself informed. We have… MISAC (Municipal Information Systems Association of California), and I follow that religiously to see what’s going on, what’s going on here in California. Wired …any kind of tech I can get, magazine or information I can get my hands on, I’ll just browse.
Techwire: What are your hobbies and what do you like to read?
Maglinti: I would say that my greatest hobby is my family, my wife and my children. I like spending time with them. Both of my daughters are pre-teens, so I think it’s a really fun time right now. Also, I’m originally from Hawaii, so I go back and visit – all my family is there in Hawaii, so I go back as often as I can to see family. I like a good game of golf. And then as far as things I like to read, I’m more into things that make you think about what the next version of yourself is. I’m just making you think, not that this is transformational change. …Dale Carnegie, I read every year, How to win friends and influence people, just to spin the wheels on things you could implement in your daily life that are small changes.
*Government Technology magazine is a publication of e.Republic, which also produces Techwire.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been lightly edited for style and brevity.