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Gwinnett hires new technology director

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County government has placed technology as a top priority, hiring a new chief information officer.

John A. Matelski takes over the job, as administrators recently made information technology a stand-alone department in charge of technology expenditures of up to $45 million in 2008. His salary will be $134,840, according to a contract approved by commissioners Tuesday.

"Recent expansions of our computer systems are enabling county employees to work smarter and more efficiently, and we're glad to have a leader like John on board to guide future developments," said Mike Comer, deputy county administrator and chief financial officer.

Matelski previously served as chief security officer and deputy chief information officer for the city of Orlando.

"I want to take a look at the overall organization, find some places where I can find efficiencies," Matelski said, adding that he planned to work with department directors to make sure technology is meeting the needs for services such as police, fire, water and transportation.

In Orlando, Matelski worked on homeland security initiatives, and he said he wants to help in that avenue in Gwinnett.

The 43-year-old Arizona State University graduate plans to live in Gwinnett with his wife, Mary K, and the couples' two boys.

Also Tuesday, commissioners approved:

a $3.78 million contract to construct Alexander Park on Scenic Highway south of Lawrenceville.

a grant application from the Federal Emergency Management Association to purchase cardiac monitor and defibrillator equipment at county fire stations.

renewal of a $12 million contract with Veolia Transportation to operate the county's transit system.