PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney’s efforts to modernize city government continued today with the creation of the Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation.
Under this new structure, the current two-person Open Data team and the seven people involved in transforming the city’s website will move from the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT) to the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Rebecca Rhynhart. “This will allow OIT to focus on the core legacy systems and IT services to departments that are sorely in need of modernization,” said Rhynhart. “At the same time, this new structure elevates the prominence of the initiatives of open data and digital transformation.”
This new Open Data and Digital Transformation Office will be headed by Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski. It will focus on publishing public data as well as lead the Alpha.phila.gov website project. In addition, the group will help departments improve city services by applying a user-centered design approach. Having this team directly within the Office of the CAO will provide increased access and opportunity to integrate open data and digital transformation across all government departments.
Open Data is a citywide initiative to both enhance transparency of government and also spur business growth as people use the data released. Recent Open Data releases include the landmark release of all city employee salaries and Police data.
The Alpha.phila.gov project is an effort to transform the City’s website around the needs of its users. It is being built in the open, alongside the current phila.gov, so that public feedback can be incorporated throughout its design and development. Its placement within the Office of the CAO will ensure heightened prominence for this initiative.
Mayor Kenney created the position of Chief Administrative Officer, and named former Budget Director Rebecca Rhynhart to that post, in order to bring innovation to key enabling functions of city government. Rhynhart’s cabinet includes not only OIT but, Procurement, Fleet Management, Performance Management, Records, HR & Talent and Public Property. Andrew Buss, the city’s Director of Innovation Management, also reports directly to the Office of the CAO on Innovation.