New director of technology and innovation, but no CTO
Candidate Bob Buckhorn promised a big emphasis on technology and the appointment of a "chief technology officer” to lead the charge.
City Hall does have a lot of technology initiatives under way:
• New software for city administration: The joint city-county Enterprise Resource Planning software system is a $34.1 million initiative to combine administrative functions like budgeting, accounting, purchasing and personnel. The ERP is meant to replace out-of-date and expensive-to-maintain systems while saving money and maximizing economies of scale.
• New software for business permitting: The city is installing a fully automated electronic permitting system from Accela Automation, a company based near San Francisco that provides web- and cloud-based software applications to government agencies. Accela Citizen Access, part of the software package, is designed to let contractors apply and pay for permits, submit construction plans electronically, schedule inspections, check the status of a permit or inspection, and print an approved permit online any time. Users also will be able to look at maps and access permitting services from devices such as iPhones and iPads. The system's first-year costs are $2.7 million.
• More public Wi-Fi: Buckhorn's staff has begun talking with telecommunications companies to bring Wi-Fi to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Lykes Gaslight Square Park and the Riverwalk. The city recently created seven Wi-Fi hot spots in the lobbies of the Tampa Municipal Office Building, Police Department and Solid Waste Department, and in the City Council's lobby and chambers and the lobby and conference room of the Development Services Center.
• More social media: Under Buckhorn, the city makes a consistent and focused use of social media — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare — to push out news and information about City Hall, its initiatives and community news in general.
What City Hall does not have is a "chief technology officer” who is a part of the mayor's senior staff. The senior staff consists of the chief of staff, city attorney, chief financial officer, police and fire chiefs, administrator for economic opportunity, public works and utility services administrator, and budget and neighborhood empowerment director.
Instead, in November 2012 Buckhorn promoted Russell Haupert to be the city's director of technology and innovation. Haupert, 52, is "hipper” and "more engaged with the tech community,” than his predecessors, Buckhorn said. But the mayor decided not to elevate the position, as he had discussed during the campaign.
"I didn't want to get into changing that because of civil service laws, but he functions as a de facto chief technology officer,” Buckhorn said.
This is similar to what Buckhorn ended up doing with three other positions he proposed creating during the campaign: a deputy mayor for economic opportunity, a deputy mayor of neighborhoods and community empowerment and a director of protocol, international trade and commerce. After being elected, Buckhorn decided against the protocol director because the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce already had such a position. And he promoted two other city officials to jobs with expanded authority, but opted not to call them deputy mayors. We rated those three promises Compromise.
Buckhorn promised during his campaign to appoint a chief technology officer who would be a member of his senior staff and lead the city's technology initiatives. He hasn't created this position, but it's clear that the mayor places a high priority on making City Hall more tech-savvy. This is a case where Buckhorn seems to have followed through on the spirit, if not the letter, of his promise. Therefore, we rate this as a Compromise.
Interview with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Feb. 26, 2013
E-mail interviews with Ali Glisson, city of Tampa public affairs director, Jan. 7, 2013 and March 11, 2013
Tampa Bay Times, "Tampa to make getting building permits faster, easier and trackable online," Jan. 12, 2012, accessed March 20, 2013
Tampa Bay Times, "After years of friction, Tampa and Hillsborough officials find spirit of cooperation," Feb. 18, 2012, accessed March 20, 2013
Tampa Bay Times, "Tampa looks to expand downtown WiFi access," Jan. 12, 2013, accessed March 20, 2013
Tampa Bay Times, "Tampa creates public Wi-Fi hotspots in city buildings,” Feb. 5, 2013, accessed March 25, 2013
No CTO yet; Buckhorn still contemplating changes
As part of his campaign promises, Bob Buckhorn said he would appoint a chief technology officer, or CTO for the city of Tampa, to act as a point person for the city's technology initiatives.
As mayor, though, Buckhorn hasn't appointed a CTO. He recently told PolitiFact Florida that he would like the city to be more nimble and tech-savvy, particularly with regard to social media. But he said he was undecided whether a CTO is really necessary for that.
At any rate, he said he wouldn't make any major changes to the city's technology team until after the Republican National Convention in August 2012. "The IT department has a lot on its plate with the RNC and security issues,” Buckhorn said.
Given the inaction on this promise, we rate it Stalled.
Interview with Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Feb. 28, 2012