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Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Melissa Chiong, Business Programs Supervisor for the City of Tampa

Accela Engage Series: Q&A with Melissa Chiong, Business Programs Supervisor for the City of Tampa

Melissa Chiong is Business Programs Supervisor for the City of Tampa. Last year, she accepted the Open for Business Award on behalf of the City of Tampa for its work in providing a one-stop shop for citizens and contractors to get development services. This will be her second year attending and her first year presenting a breakout session.

Have you attended Engage in the past?
Yes, I attended last year for the first time.

What do you enjoy most about Engage?
I enjoyed meeting other agencies and hearing about their solutions, accomplishments and challenges.

What are you most looking forward to at Engage 2016?
I am looking forward to meeting more people and interacting with some of the customers and Accela staff that I have talked to over the phone and via email. I am also looking forward to seeing what’s new and what is on the product map for the future.

What do you hope to learn at Engage 2016?
I hope to learn new skills that can be used to further enhance our solution.

What are you presenting on this year at Engage?

1. Planning & Development - Accela Citizen Access Implementation Best Practices
2. Engaging the Public with Building and Planning Data

What interested you about presenting at Engage?
I do a lot of reference phone calls and presentations for other agencies and prospective clients. There always seemed to be interest in our ACA success, so I thought it would be nice to put together a presentation on it.

Recently, we have also had a lot of questions regarding Civic Insight. Our customers are starting to take advantage of this site and all that it has to offer. We see a lot of potential for Civic Insight and we are excited for the future of it.

What do you hope attendees will get out of your sessions?
I hope that they will get some tips to help engage their customers in their online solutions. We are always striving to improve our online presence.

How does your presentation reflect the event tagline, “Where Civic Tech Connects?”
Both presentations reflect the theme because both are focused on engaging customers and citizens online. Both presentations offer better communication and transparency to the public.

What are your top challenges right now?
Our top challenge is time. We have a lengthy list of enhancements we would like to implement and are working to prioritize and schedule all of them.

What initiatives are you focused on in the next year?
We are focused on upgrading to version 8 and continuing to enhance our current solution. We are adding some new records and new scripts to further streamline existing processes. We are also hoping to replace Accela EDR (Electronic Document Review) with a more robust plan review system.

How is technology changing the way your municipality does business and engages citizens?
Technology is changing the way we do business by offering our customers transparency into our processes. We have also been able to streamline our processes, allowing us to offer more efficient services to our customers. We are now able to offer all of our applications online, saving our customers the step of physically coming to our office, which has saved our customers time and money. By introducing Contractor Central, our contractors can now request and monitor inspections in the field right from their phone. Prior to the implementation of Civic Insight we spent a lot of time reporting on activity in neighborhoods, but now the neighborhood associations and citizens can look up the information on their own.

For more information about Accela Engage, visit the conference website.

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