Walter Gasparini’s career in the public sector began at the federal level, when he worked in the Department of Veteran Affairs in P.E.I. For the last dozen years, however, he has been director of information technology services for the Region of Waterloo, Ont.
Gasparini says the push is on to improve how the regional government presents information to its citizens. It has begun to look more closely at an integrated approach to service delivery and an electronic approach via the Web. The region is also seeking to implement a citizen forum type of application so it can get feedback from its citizens on the types of programs it may launch.
One of the main challenges in promoting ESD is in changing the culture in the public sector, Gasparani said. And the problems go beyond just changing the perception of how government could work by delivering more services online.
“The internal knowledge and experience for implementing and supporting the technology to do that is a challenge and it’s expensive to do that, especially because you need to keep costs down,” he said.
Despite the challenges, Gasparini looks back fondly on some of his achievements: He introduced new technologies in areas where they hadn’t existed, he participated with colleagues from other municipalities in the region in building a fibre network, and he helped provide Internet connections to public libraries in rural areas.
Still, as he examines his current role in managing the day-to-day operations, he expects his role to evolve into “looking more strategically two or three years from now, asking where we want to be with certain things.”