Sal DiCiccio Inauguration

Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio gives his inauguration speech at the Orpheum Theater on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Technology is the only way to move the city of Phoenix forward, according to City Councilmen Michael Nowakowski and Sal DiCiccio and together with former Mayor Phil Gordon they’re calling for Phoenix to embrace that.

Gordon and DiCiccio didn’t always get along while serving on the council together, but DiCiccio said they’ve always been friends and they’ve gotten together since his term ended. During one conversation DiCiccio asked the former mayor what one issue was that he always wanted to get to and never got to address. The answer was technology.

“Back in 2010 it was all saving money and cutting waste,” DiCiccio said. “That’s what we did. What we never got to was pushing the technology envelope the way we should.”

DiCiccio brought it up to Nowakowski, a member of the Finance, Efficiency, Economy and Sustainability Subcommittee, and together the group decided to look at what could be done internally to increase efficiency through technology and provide better service for citizens and what could be done as a city to put a technology component into capitol projects.

“When you look at companies that want to move here, an important question they ask is where you are with your technology,” DiCiccio said. “Do you have fiber availability? What infrastructure do you have in place?”

Gordon, Nowakowski and DiCiccio have suggested that the city host a summit to bring experts on technology together from across the nation to create a 10-year plan to move the city forward.

“All of us think we know a lot, but we don’t,” DiCiccio said. “The idea is to pull the smartest and brightest people not just from Phoenix or the state but to look nationally, have them come out and put a plan together to make the city of Phoenix the best place in the nation for technology. That is the wave. If you want to improve quality of life and make sure people have secure jobs you’ve got to be at the cutting edge of technology.”

Nowakowski has already requested that the idea of a summit be heard before the Finance, Efficiency, Economy and Sustainability Subcommittee. It’s unclear when that might happen, but DiCiccio said Councilman Bill Gates, who chairs that subcommittee, is on board with the idea.

The city’s acting city manager, Ed Zuercher, has said the idea will take a lot of planning but could happen in April or May. It will be up to the subcommittee how quickly the idea moves forward. The subcommittee meets at 10 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.

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