Thirteen counties recognized for their digital achievements

Thirteen Arkansas counties received honors at the Information Network of Arkansas’ (INA) second annual Arkansas Digital Government Transformation Awards luncheon Sept. 19.

The awards recognized the achievements of Arkansas government offices at the local level that have used technology to drive innovation and make positive, measurable changes that affect citizens and businesses across the state and beyond.

More than 150 Arkansas local government leaders and public servants from across the state attended the event.

Cities and counties were elgible to receive five awards: Business Service Award, Citizen Service Award, Digital Pioneer Award, Efficiency Award and the Governor’s Award, which is awarded to one city or county.

The Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) Risk Management Services and Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery received the Governor’s Award for their work on Justice Bridge, a video arraignment phone system.

AAC Executive Director Chris Villines presented the award to Sheriff Montgomery, AAC Risk Management Director Debbie Norman and AAC IT Director Mark Harrell.

“The Justice Bridge has been a passion project for AAC for the past couple of years, but it was Sheriff Montgomery who approached us with the idea,” Villines said. “Over the last two years Sheriff Montgomery has worked tirelessly with the AAC staff to make this program a reality.”

Sheriff Montgomery thanked AAC and explained that Baxter County has “already saved thousands and thousands of dollars, and potentially saved lives,” with Justice Bridge.

“I personally want to thank Chris and his team for jumping on board, and they have worked around the clock to make this happen, and I am honored to be a part of it,” Montgomery said.

Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke to attendees through a video message.

“It’s easy to talk about transformation, but transformation is hard work,” he said. “This year’s nominations represent many great achievements in digital transformation. Our office reviewed 53 nominations, and we were impressed by the creativity, innovation and passion for public service that our cities and counties have demonstrated. The work these public servants are doing helps the people in their communities, and I hope that cost savings and improvements represented by these award-winning initiatives inspire leaders from around the state.”

More than 30 government offices entered more than 50 nominations, which were evaluated by the INA Board, the Secretary of State, the Department of Information Systems and State Chief Technology Officer, the state’s Chief Transformation Officer, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

These individuals chose the winners and finalists in each category and presented them at the awards ceremony.

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