Maria MacGunigal, Sacramento’s CIO of more than six years, appreciates the similarities in her 26-year city career to the classic “janitor to CEO” arc — though in her case, she began as a student intern before ascending to the C-suite through GIS and enterprise applications. More recently, she has been spearheading the literal work in the trenches she said must happen if smart cities are to become real.
In 2018, through a partnership with Verizon, Sacramento became one of a few cities to begin deploying wireless 5G broadband. Based on that, Sacramento now offers free Wi-Fi in three of 27 city parks, with more coming. Corridor-length traffic management is also on the way.
The CIO has also led consolidation of city IT, helped forge a digital strategy and scrutinized process improvement, including for the city’s 311 system. A new customer resource management system and mobile app for 311 is imminent, but a focus on operations and organization has helped lower call wait times by more than 56 percent.