11 Mar Grasmick to step down in June as City of Madison IT Director
MADISON – After serving 25 years as the City of Madison’s data center manager, Dick Grasmick thought he’d retire in the same position. That’s before he became the city’s IT director in 2003 and a testament to how rapidly things have changed in the information technology field in recent years.
Grasmick announced Monday that he’d step down to retire in June, after 30 years of service.
“Having the professional staff organized the way that it is, it functions very well, and it’s something I take a lot of pride in,” Grasmick explained of his top accomplishment managing a department of 39 city IT professionals.
For example, when Grasmick was called upon last year to serve as interim Parks Director, he said his staff took up the reigns and the IT department ran smoothly.
During his tenure, Grasmick saw Madison implement and upgrade its IT functions. It upgraded its Web site with services such as text alerts and online payment for certain bills. Grasmick helped implement the vendor-run city broadband initiative.
“I think the city’s Web site is among the best municipal Web sites in the nation,” noted Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz of Grasmick’s greatest accomplishments. “When Dick started there was no Legistar, which is how people now access information about what’s going on in the city council.”
Along with rapid innovation in IT came big challenges for Grasmick and his staff. Among them: gaining funds for large enterprise projects, and making sure city IT functions were secure.
Mark Clear, 19th district alder and CEO of Madison software firm IMS, said Grasmick’s leadership “helped transform the way citizens interact with their city government.”
The city was an early adopter of the Web and e-mail, and is still very much a leader in providing complete legislative information online,” Clear said. “Dick also supervised the conversion of the city voice network to VoIP. The latest projects are text messaging alerts and even a city Facebook page.”
Madison has been recognized among government IT leaders for five years, ranking among the top municipalities in the Center for Digital Government’s Digital City Survey. It placed first in the 2005 and 2006 survey and last year ranked third among mid-sized cities (populations 125,000 to 249,000). The survey recognizes, “how cities use technology to create a seamless environment between local government and constituents.”
Grasmick sees this achievement as his legacy as he prepares to leave what he said he considers “the best job in city government.” He plans to spend more time on hobbies, including spending time outdoors, he said.
“I would like to be remembered as the person was in charge when city became recognized as a leader in government sector technology,” Grasmick said.
Going forward, Grasmick said he’ll look forward to seeing others implement projects for which he secured funding. One of them, announced by Cieslewicz this week, will involve setting up a LAN network to support a new Development Services Center Web site that will serve as a “one-stop-shop” for information to guide a building project of any size from start to finish, according to the mayor’s office.