Berkley creates new chief innovation officer position

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published October 3, 2018




BERKLEY — The city of Berkley has created a new position focused on innovating its technology for both residents and the municipality.

Stan Lisica, the city’s former IT coordinator, will serve as Berkley’s new chief innovation officer, who will “oversee all technical aspects of the city’s computer network, including budgeting, acquisition, installation and maintenance of related equipment, software, hardware and accessories,” according to a press release.

City Manager Matt Baumgarten said Lisica, who previously was tasked with keeping the city’s technology infrastructure up to date, grew out of that role immediately. Baumgarten also said more cities across the country are going to the innovation officer model, where a city tasks someone with continually making process improvements and making sure the city is more efficient with its resources.

“He’s been helping us redo several policies, everything from our procurement policy to the way that we purchase even the smallest goods, allowing us to really make sure we’re getting the best value for our dollar,” he said.

“It seemed like the perfect opportunity to have to match an individual with this new role that’s becoming more popular with cities. … (He’ll) help apply technological solutions to problems that we either didn’t know we have or we just lived with for far too long because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

Lisica said he’s working with a technology advisory committee composed of residents who will prioritize what things the city needs to look at, and how the city can start making things easier and start improving efficiency for the residents.

“We’re a small city, but we’re trying to do big-city things,” he said. “We’re looking as far as leveraging technology in all aspects and finding out is it going to be cost-effective. Are we going to do it just to do it, or is it going to be something that will improve the services not only internally, as far as normal operations for our staff, but externally for the residents?”

Lisica said the committee has met twice, but it will be reaching out to residents to see what kinds of things they want to see improved within the city.

“We’re looking at improving communications,” he said. “One thing that we need to take a look at is improving our communications with our senior population. Not all of them have a phone, a computer, a Facebook. I mean, some of them don’t even have a smartphone. That is something that we’re going to take a look at and see if there’s improvements to be made.”

Baumgarten said he’s excited to have Lisica in this role and to see what he can do for Berkley.

“The name of the game is efficiency, so we’re going to try to use technology to better apply services to make the resources that we have go farther; to make sure that we can offer new services that we don’t currently have; (and) improve the way we communicate with our residents, whether it’s through an app, whether it’s improvements to the website, whether it’s the way that we log service requests, the way that we have feedback to our residents that you’ve been heard and we’re acting upon your request.”