Features

Steve Bortner – City of Harrisburg 

Driving technological transformation 

Steve Bortner is a visionary leader who drives technological evolution as the director of information technology for the City of Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. With a focus on modernization, he orchestrates initiatives to overhaul the city’s core systems, bringing them up to speed with the demands of the digital age.  

Steve Bortner | Director, Information Technology | City of Harrisburg 

Steve Bortner | Director, Information Technology | City of Harrisburg

Embracing innovation at every turn, Bortner and his team are pioneering groundbreaking solutions that promise to revolutionize the city’s interactions with its residents and employees. Their efforts bring a new era of efficiency, accessibility, and connectivity, positioning Harrisburg at the forefront of technological advancement among municipalities. 

The city has about 500  employees working in 12 departments. Harrisburg, which sits on the Susquehanna River, has a population of around 50,000 and was founded in 1860.  

“I’m dedicated to leveraging innovation to revolutionize how our city functions. By modernizing core systems and implementing cutting-edge solutions, we aim to make essential services more efficient and accessible for all residents and employees. It’s about embracing the power of technology to create positive change and improve the overall quality of life in Harrisburg,” Bortner says. 

Embracing technology 

One of the major projects that Bortner’s team is undertaking is the modernization of core systems. Currently running on outdated mainframe platforms, these systems are being migrated to a modern cloud-based platform. This consolidation effort improves technology adoption and ensures ongoing support and adaptability for the future. With financial systems successfully migrated, work is underway to migrate the remaining systems, streamlining operations and extending system usage to citizens and employees. 

Steve Bortner | Director, Information Technology | City of Harrisburg 

In addition to system modernization, Bortner and his team recently implemented an asset management system for the city’s VMC department. This system allows for efficient tracking of orders, inventory, work order hours, and costs, enabling the department to ensure optimal operations and better serve the citizens. Leveraging mobile scanners and iPads, the VMC department can update work orders in real-time, enhancing efficiency and continuous improvement efforts. 

Over the years, the city has embraced various technologies to enhance its operations. From implementing an Enterprise Content Management system to enhancing cybersecurity measures, the city is committed to leveraging technology to serve its residents better. While the focus has primarily been on enhancing existing systems, the city is open to exploring new technologies that offer value to its residents, businesses, and employees. 

Looking ahead to the rest of 2024 and beyond, the city has several projects on the horizon. These include completing the migration to the Munis Enterprise Resource Planning platform, establishing a redundant data center for continuity of operations, implementing Multi-Factor Authentication for all employees, and enhancing cybersecurity measures based on recommendations from a recent assessment. 

“With the backing of the entire organization, I remain committed to providing efficient and secure options for residents to interact with the city,” Bortner says.   

Through ongoing modernization efforts and innovative solutions, Bortner aims to create a technologically advanced and citizen-centric city. 

Ensuring staff satisfaction 

Bortner leads a dedicated team of professionals focused on meeting the city’s and its residents’ technological needs. With a team comprising seven full-time employees and 1 part-time consultant, Bortner ensures that the department remains well-equipped to handle the challenges of modernizing city operations and implementing innovative solutions. 

Steve Bortner | Director, Information Technology | City of Harrisburg 

Recruiting and retaining top talent is a priority for Bortner, who fosters a work environment that encourages growth, collaboration, and productivity. By providing employees with the tools and support they need to succeed, Bortner ensures that his team remains motivated and committed to achieving the goals set forth by Mayor Williams and her administration. 

Balancing the technological needs of the city with budgetary constraints is a significant challenge, but we remain dedicated to finding cost-effective solutions that meet the needs of city employees, residents and businesses,” Bortner says. “The satisfaction of delivering a product or solution that positively impacts the community drives my team and I.” 

Bortner’s team is receptive and eager to learn when introducing new technology, he says. Through presentations by vendors and team members, they evaluate the usefulness of new technology and determine its potential deployment within the city’s environment. 

A journey in tech 

Bortner’s technological journey traces back to high school when he first took a data processing class in 1980. At that time, personal computers were still in their infancy, and technology vastly differed from what we know today. Intrigued by this emerging field, Bortner delved into the world of technology, eventually earning a degree in computer science from DeVry University in 1984. 

Steve Bortner | Director, Information Technology | City of Harrisburg 

Following his graduation, Bortner embarked on a remarkable 32-year-long career in information technology at The Baltimore Life Insurance Company, where he ascended to vice president for information services.  

“My tenure in the private sector equipped me with invaluable experience and knowledge, honing my expertise in technical management and leadership,” Bortner says.  

In July 2017, Bortner assumed the role of director of information technology for the City of Harrisburg. Despite not initially envisioning a municipal role, Bortner recognized the opportunity as a natural fit for his technical acumen and extensive background in information technology. Embracing the challenge enthusiastically, he brought his wealth of experience to the dynamic environment of city governance. 

Outside of his professional endeavors, Bortner is deeply rooted in his personal life and community. As a lifelong resident of southern York County, Pennsylvania, he finds solace and joy in spending time with his family, which includes his wife and their two daughters.  

In his leisure time, Bortner enjoys indulging in various hobbies, from vacationing at the beach or embarking on cruises to watching sports and tending to his backyard.  

Bortner continues to make strides in information technology, leaving an indelible mark on the City of Harrisburg and beyond. 

Published on: July 2, 2024

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