Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: email@example.com
"I smiled politely but I had no idea what you were saying." So said a non-techie National Parks Service employee, referring to the cocktail chatter he's had with state CIO's and technology vendors the night before.
He mentioned his difficulty to that same audience in Miami, during a session of the annual conference of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, which I'm attending right now.
New York State CIO Michael Mittleman commented later to the attendees, "Wasn't it embarrassing? The Park Service needed a decoder to understand what was being said last night at the reception."
You could view it as simply amusing, the inability of some techies to exit IT jargon-land. But Mittleman fears that tech people use such indecipherable language when talking to legislators. In which case the natural reaction would be a curtain descending on communication and a "no" vote on funding. "Legislators are leery of things they don't understand," Mittleman said. That's true of regular people too."
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.