2018 Clarity Award Finalists

UPDATE! Village of Buffalo Grove, Illinois takes home the top prize.

The Clarity Award, presented by ELGL and Cartegraph, recognizes governments that are telling clear, compelling stories, and engaging their employees and/or their residents by moving the needle in measurable, actionable ways. After a nomination period where submissions were received from across the country, the Nomination Committee is excited to announce the three finalists.


Village of Buffalo Grove, Illinois

Digitized Vehicle Check Forms Save Public Works $20K, 35 Days of Labor, & 13K Sheets of Paper Annually

“Pushing paper” is usually viewed as a necessary component of our jobs. And it’s the last place employees tend to look at for cost savings. Even something as simple as a daily vehicle check sheet can be the impetus for bigger savings than one might realize.

We needed to streamline the efforts used to fill out, track, and file vehicle check sheets, in order to continue doing more with less.

Advice for other cities that want to replicate the idea?

It can be a culture change to track data in a way that decisions can be made from that data. If you don’t know what you’re doing, then it’s hard to drive effective change. Employees can ask, “Would you rather I do work, or spend all this time filling out reports on what I did?” The answer needs to be, “both”, and in order to allow good data to come into the system, a work order and asset management solution needs to easy to use and quick for data entry. Cartegraph OMS is that modern solution that allows us to gather good data from all levels of the organization, and effectively monitor and digest that data when making decisions. Once you’ve passed that hurdle, and your team is on board with some small wins like this idea that eliminates some mind-numbing paperwork, they will understand the goal and help drive high performance government.

Why is your story compelling and innovative? 

“Pushing paper” is usually viewed as a necessary component of our jobs. And it’s the last place employees tend to look at for cost savings. Even something as simple as a daily vehicle check sheet can be the impetus for bigger savings than one might realize.

What problem were you trying to solve? 

We needed to streamline the efforts used to fill out, track, and file vehicle check sheets, in order to continue doing more with less.

What were the results? What was the impact on the organization or community? 

As Village’s continue to struggle financially, it is important to find ways to become more efficient as high performance government entities, without leaning on additional tax payer dollars, additional employees, or other ways of throwing more “stuff” at a problem. Rather, Buffalo Grove Public Works strives to do as much as we can with the resources at hand, making sure that we continue to be lean, agile, and responsive, while not lessening the quality of service that our residents have come to expect. In fact, we continue to provide even better quality as we focus on the things that we are good at. In actual savings, this project tallies $19,922.56, 34.96 work days, 13,145 sheets of paper (1.3 trees worth) in savings annually, allowing the Village to reallocate that time and money into other areas.


City of Colorado Springs, Colorado

City of Colorado Springs Partners with Waze to Automate Road Work Notifications

The City is publishing road closure & hazard information into Waze, a crowdsourced navigation app. This connection leverages existing data to give citizens safe travel routes while providing transparency & accountability about our temporary infrastructure sales tax.

Advice for other cities that want to replicate the idea?

  • The Waze team wants to work with you. They want to partner with communities to publish the data.
  • The most difficult part of getting the data was aligning our data output with the Waze data schema, and even that wasn’t very difficult!
  • We publish this data as a public REST endpoint using our ArcGIS system, but we’re hoping to move this into our data portal as soon as our Open Data program is up and running. That way we can enable other apps to use the same data in the future!
What problem were you trying to solve?
  • Drivers need to get where they’re going safely– we’re fixing roads all over town and the construction is a hassle.
  • Citizens need to know that their government is working hard with the tax dollars they approved in the 2015 ballot. This tool provides information about the closures to facilitate safe routes while reminding citizens that this is their government at work on their infrastructure.
  • City staff need to have the system publish this data automatically, without additional workload. The Waze Connected Citizens Partnership takes data from the City’s public works permit management in Cartegraph and visualizes road hazards and closures on the navigation tool that citizens already use.
What were the results? What was the impact on the organization or community?
  • So far (1/23/2018), we’ve published 1,076 active cone zones, representing nearly 23,000 total days of lane closures for construction, emergencies, and special events!
  • Automating the process of publishing this data saves over $10,000 a year and nearly 300 hours in status update meetings alone, as well as giving project managers and the public a live view of public works road work.
  • The citizen advisory group for Issue 2C, the temporary sales tax for infrastructure repair, has praised the Waze partnership as innovative and transformative, providing useful data to the community as well as leading with transparency and accountability in a fiscally conservative environment.
  • Check out the video PSA about this partnership!

City of Tigard, Oregon

Tigard Does Not Throw Away its Shot with Hamilton-themed State of the City

This combination of a live performance involving local youth and using hip-hop music from the hottest ticket on Broadway to share the city’s messages was bound to be either fabulous or a complete train-wreck. Some in the the packed-house at the Broadway Rose Theatre may have come just out of curiousity…but they left smiling and proud to have been in The Room Where It Happens. In addition, the city actively promoted the event a month in advance via social media. Tweets, Facebook posts, and Nextdoor messages used the tag line “A Revolutionary State of the City Event” and highlighted the fact that while tickets to Hamilton were pricey, tickets to Tigard On were priceless.

Advice for other cities that want to replicate the idea?

An organization has to be willing to take the risks and try something new, creative, and somewhat questionable. To say “Fie on talking heads and PowerPoint!” Then, once they’re over that hurdle, they have to trust their people and give them the freedom to (possibly) fail. Failure has to be an okay option, otherwise creative, compelling, inspiring, engaging stories and events won’t happen.

What problem were you trying to solve? 

Boring State of the City-itis.

What were the results? What was the impact on the organization or community? 
Immediate feedback for Tigard On! came in the form of a standing ovation from the 240+ audience members. Dozens more watched the performance via Periscope. Since then the musical video has been viewed close to 150 times on You Tube, and comments via social media have been overwhelmingly positive. More importantly, to me at least, was the reaction from the high school kids who performed Tigard On! They said they really enjoyed the experience because of the musical challenges, and also because they got to be a part of something for their city…and learned more about what the city does in the process. I will also add that, other than the high school students and their director, all elements of the production – writing, graphics, photos – were done in-house by city staff, saving the city money.

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