Key Technology and Public Policy Leaders Discuss a Puerto Rico Digital Rebuilding Strategy

Press Release updated: Oct 26, 2017 07:00 EDT

With the objective of promoting a truly effective and efficient rebuild of Puerto Rico enabled by a coherent digital strategy, the “Dear Fiscal Board” speaker series will hold its third conference on November 16th in Washington, D.C. presented by Piloto 151.

New America, a think tank committed to renewing American politics in the Digital Age, is to host the event, bringing together public policy and technology leaders who have played pivotal roles in formulating fiscal and information technology (IT) policies at the Federal and local levels.

Giancarlo González, co-organizer of the series, articulates the central query of this event: “What are the necessary building blocks of digital policy and infrastructure required to rebuild Puerto Rico?” That question will be fielded by former US Digital Service members who have experience transitioning agencies to the use of efficient and scalable technologies. Also at the event will be Bill Cooper, lead drafter of the 2016 Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which created the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. Cooper will evaluate whether the Board has made progress toward structural government reform to fit 21st century needs.

What are the necessary building blocks of digital policy and infrastructure required to rebuild Puerto Rico?

Giancarlo Gonzalez, Co-organizer

As the Trump administration proposes $228 million in funding for a Technology Modernization Fund, dependent upon an independent review board and experts familiar with agile development techniques, Vivian Graubard from New America notes, “We should strive to have a similar structure in any relief bill for Puerto Rico to ensure technological development is invested in accordingly to deliver results.”

The event will also cover how to leverage the talents of the tech community for social good. Alberto Colón Viera and Froilán Irizarry are two of a group of over 200 members in the “Maria Tech Brigade”, an effort to develop technologies of value for citizens after the September hurricane. But as González notes, “For the private tech sector to assist effectively, the government needs to provide a basic digital infrastructure and engagement strategy — we need to identify what that is for future emergencies.”

Finally, the event will evaluate how to sustain Puerto Rico’s IT ecosystem in the wake of hurricane damage to power grids and the telecommunication infrastructure that maintains the economy at a near standstill. A panel led by Sofia Stolberg, of Piloto 151 and leader of the Tech Hire initiative, and Greg Gershman of Ad Hoc LLC will address how to connect local tech talent with job opportunities.

Puerto Rico’s long-term success depends on its ability to establish a proper digital structure, and the willingness of the federal and local governments and the PROMESA Board to work together to adopt best practices for government services. “They must facilitate responsiveness and user collaboration to ensure much-needed transparency, savings, and efficiency, while providing a foundation for economic development and a transition to a ‘native digital’ government focused on serving the needs of its citizens,” added González.

For additional details, visit DearFiscalBoard.com.
Ticket donations will go 100 percent to support the HelpPRdespacito.com fund.

Media Contact
Iris Rivera (Puerto Rico) (787) 506-0363

Giancarlo González (Washington, D.C.) (787) 319-7404

Source: Piloto 151

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About the Author: Carrie Brunner

Carrie Brunner grew up in a small town in northern New Brunswick. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Carrie writes mostly on provincial stories.
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