On Election Day, Town Councilman Touts Wireless PlatformBy Sharon Linsenbach | Print
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Ernie Odierna's day job as a VAR and public service as a Mamaroneck, N.Y., councilman provide him a unique perspective on government and technology in citizens' lives.In the late 1990s, Ernie Odierna found himself frustrated at his town's inability to communicate its plans, its successes and even its failures to citizens. The town of Mamaroneck, as Odierna saw it, wasn't leveraging technology to keep citizens informed and aware of community issues.
So in 1999, Odierna, president and co-founder of Com/Peripherals, a local data communications and security VAR, ran for and was elected as a town councilman, a position to which he has been reelected twice since. His day job and public service provide Odierna a unique perspective both on local government and the way technology can improve citizens' lives.
This year he's running for Mamaroneck, N.Y. town supervisor, and Odierna said he hopes if he's elected he can provide better, more open access to local government processes.
"There's no reason local governments can't pick up on these technologies," Odierna said, "It's not like we're trying to go to the moon!"
Of course, in setting up a municipal wireless network, one of the major issues is cost, according to Esme Vos, founder of Muniwireless.com, a municipal wireless news and information portal.
Odierna said he believes that won't be an obstacle. He wants to set up a technology advisory board that would accept and evaluate bids from other local VARsCom/Peripherals is not permitted to bid for ethical reasonswhich will help local businesses flourish at the same time he's helping Mamaroneck citizens.
And Odierna says his platform won't just help the tech-savvy among his constituents. He said he believes that technology can also help those who aren't familiar with the Internet, wireless networks or other innovations. He also plans to incorporate an enhanced voice recognition capability within the town center's administrative building to help route callers quickly and efficiently to the correct department. "We can't ignore the people that aren't totally immersed in technology. We have to bring it down to their level and help them understand the personal benefits," he said.