In Pennsylvania, Avenu has successfully managed IT Services for Monroe County for over 20 years and Patricia Clancy has played a vital role from the beginning and every step along the way. Patricia is now the Chief Information Officer for Monroe County and shares some insights that she has gained over the years and what she is looking forward to next.
How did you get your start in IT?
I started my career as a computer programmer for a local bank. They needed someone to support the equipment in all six of their branches, so I took on that responsibility which led to helping install, and then managing, their network. In my next role I became the sole IT resource that supported over 250 employees. Through this experience I helped develop a helpdesk and network team that professionalized the company’s approach to IT support. These experiences prepared me for my first job with Avenu, 20 years ago, when I started as the Infrastructure Manager for Monroe County. I’ve been able to learn and grow with the IT department to provide the support Monroe needs.
How large is Monroe County?
There are roughly 175,000 residents who live in Monroe County, and they are supported by 800 County employees across 12 different buildings and a few remote offices. County services include the Commissioners’ Offices, Courts, District Attorney & Public Defender, Voter Registration and Elections, Tax Assessment & Tax Collectors, Emergency Management, Treasurer, Children & Youth, Jail, and the list goes on.
So what IT Support does Avenu provide to the County?
We support all the IT needs for all 800 staff members, across all the individual departments.
How large is the IT staff and what roles do they play in serving the County?
Currently we have 17 IT staff members who cover a wide range of services, including:
Most titles are self-explanatory for an IT department with the exceptions of Business Analyst and Social Media Coordinator. What support do each of these roles provide?
Our Business Analyst plays an important role in evaluating workflows of various departments and working with them to streamline their processes for better efficiency. This role has been in place for 6 years and has made a significant impact across most of the County’s departments.
The Social Media Coordinator is a newer role which has been well received by both citizens and individual departments. In this role, the coordinator works to curate and share news regarding important information or events.
Are there any challenges faced by the IT team that stand out to you recently?
Two big ones – Covid-19 and the 2020 elections. Much like the rest of the country, most of Monroe County’s employees went remote and our IT department worked tirelessly to stand everyone up in a short period of time.
For the 2020 elections in Monroe County, we implemented electronic pollbooks which were not only faster, but more efficient. The devices talked to each other, and the system could verify if a person was at the correct location or if they had already voted. It was fortunate that we implemented in time for 2020 because it added an extra layer of security which meant that Monroe did not go through the rigorous scrutiny other counties faced.
With the constant changes in technology, how have you been able to keep up and stay ahead of trends?
I have a love of learning and have always had a natural curiosity about what is going on in the industry and where it’s going next. It’s not unusual to find me reading about, or taking a course ovarious IT and leadership topics.
Are there any upcoming projects that you are excited about?
Yes! Our team is in the process of developing an IT Continuity Response Plan to support the County and Courts’ connectivity in a variety of different ways. Having a response plan in place is important so that should an emergency occur, everyone knows who is responsible for do what as well as knowing what steps should be taken.
As technology keeps evolving, what are you looking forward to learning next?
Cybersecurity, cybersecurity, cybersecurity. I want to keep up with the latest innovations on how to secure the systems, and how to assess and defend against potential threats. Overall, I want to be in a position to continually be able to evaluate our risk management position and implement any needed changes.
You’ve had a tremendous and successful career in serving Monroe County. What do you attribute your success to?
Certainly, I have a great team who helps every step of the way. They are each so dedicated and very good at what they do each and every day.