L.A.’s new tech spending policy outlines ‘consultant’ role for IT agency

Under a new plan, the city’s IT department works alongside — but does not control — other agencies’ IT efforts.

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles aims to streamline how it buys IT with a new policy it released earlier this year, the city’s chief information officer Ted Ross said.

Under Mayor Eric Garcetti’s executive directive, issued in April, city departments must partner with the budget office, personnel office, chief administrative officer and Information Technology Agency to develop lists of “technology needs” to include in each agency’s spending request. The plans help ITA cut down on duplicative efforts and streamline tech purchasing, Ross said.

“We’ve seen the diaspora of technology spending in organizations, and ours is no different than others,” Ross said. “We’re working with every city department to establish technology planning.”

But the planning goes beyond just writing strategic plans, Ross said. 


“Instead of just saying, ‘Hey, what technologies do you need?’ it’s really a conversation about capabilities,” Ross said. “It’s more about their mission and what they need. We can fill in the kinds of technologies that they require.”

In these planning discussions, Ross and the ITA team primarily serve as consultants and help teach other agencies about technology best practices. This cost-cutting measure comes as some states, like Minnesota and Illinois, are putting their information technology departments in charge of the state’s tech projects. On a recent episode of StateScoop’s “Priorities” podcast, state IT offices said that strategy emerged during the 2009 economic downturn.

Ross said that for LA, using the “consultancy” model gives agencies more flexibility. 

“There is a better way for you to leverage technology, and maybe technologies,” Ross said. “It’s an advisory role where we’re influencing, instead of us trying to control everybody.”

Jake Williams

Written by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is a Staff Reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop. At StateScoop, he covers the information technology issues and events at state and local governments across the nation. In the past, he has covered the United States Postal Service, the White House, Congress, cabinet-level departments and emerging technologies in the unmanned aircraft systems field for FedScoop. Before FedScoop, Jake was a contributing writer for Campaigns & Elections magazine. He has had work published in the Huffington Post and several regional newspapers and websites in Pennsylvania. A northeastern Pennsylvania native, Jake graduated magna cum laude from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, or IUP, in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. At IUP, Jake was the editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Penn, and the president of the university chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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