The Lane County Regional Information System (RIS) is an information technology support organization that serves public agencies within and near Lane County, Oregon. There are 5 RIS partner agencies: the cities of Eugene and Springfield, Lane Council of Governments, Eugene Water & Electric Board, and Lane County.
The RIS partnership has been in existence under various names and forms since 1965. The RIS mission is to enable partner agencies to effectively share information and technology. RIS performs information technology functions that are more effectively accomplished by a single organization than by the individual partner agencies. Each partner agency has its own information technology support staff, and RIS staff members work cooperatively with agency staff members to achieve objectives of a regional nature.
RIS policy oversight is provided by the Regional Executive Group (REG), a committee that includes the CEO or CEO designee from each of the partner agencies. Budget and workplan oversight is provided by the Regional Information Officers (RIO), a committee comprised of the CIO from each partner agency plus a Regional Technology Services Coordinator who provides staff support to the RIO. In addition, there are permanent and temporary regional committees that coordinate and oversee specific RIS services.
RIS operates as a Lane County department, with staff members who are Lane County employees. Internally, the department is organized into 3 sections: a regional justice & public safety support section (AIRS), a regional technical & operational support section, and an administrative support section. The first section is the responsibility of the AIRS Manager, the second section is the responsibility of the RIS Technical Support Manager, and the third section is the responsibility of the RIS Management Analyst. These three positions report to the RIS Director and together with the director comprise the RIS Management Team. There are a total of about 30 staff members within the RIS department, with a total annual budget of about $10,000,000. Services include computer system support for local police, jail, courts, and 911 dispatch functions. Services also include housing of computer and network equipment in a regional data center, operation of email systems, provision of Internet access, system support for almost 200 special purpose computers, and management of a regional network. RIS services are continually being developed and redefined as technological advances offer new opportunities and as agencies find new ways to exploit technology. RIS operates as an internal enterprise that is required to recover the cost of providing services. This requires a strong customer orientation and an entrepreneurial attitude on the part of RIS employees.
RIS faces challenges that need to be met for continued success. There are more demands on local government funding than there is available funding, so there is ongoing pressure to do more with less. RIS must continually develop and improve services or risk having customer agencies redirect funding to uses of higher value. RIS must ensure that the manner in which services are provided produces both good value and customer satisfaction.
To meet these challenges, RIS hires creative, motivated employees who want to work within a fast paced, entrepreneurial local government organization. RIS employees work with leading edge technology and are given support and encouragement to make full use of technology and training opportunities in the performance of their duties. For the right individuals, RIS is a very satisfying and rewarding place to work.
RIS provides services to local government functions such as public safety that operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. RIS therefore is organized to respond to critical customer needs on a continuous basis. The RIS data center is staffed around with clock with operational staff members who are assigned to a day shift, a night shift, or a morning shift, including staff coverage on weekends and holidays. Operational staff members typically work 5 days per week, 8 hours per day or 4 days per week, 10 hours per day within their assigned shift.
Most RIS staff members have work schedules based on the 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday through Friday business day, with variation as needed to perform certain functions outside the standard business day. Most technical staff members are assigned on-call duties at additional compensation about 1/5 to 1/3 of the time. During periods of on-call duty, staff members are required to be available via pager or other wireless communication device and to be prepared to report to work if necessary when critical problems occur. Each technical staff member is assigned to a team of individuals who are jointly responsible for specific functional areas. Individual team members develop and maintain specialized expertise in one or more of the team’s areas of responsibility, and all members of each team are expected to be able to provide basic emergency support for all critical areas supported by their team.
Staff members work cooperatively as members of project teams and independently when appropriate. As Lane County employees, RIS staff members receive compensation and benefits as indicated in the Human Resources web page ( http://www.co.lane.or.us/MS/default.htm ). Most non-supervisory RIS employees are represented by the American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees (AFSCME) labor union that negotiates wages, benefits, and working conditions for represented Lane County employees.