Baltimore is now a What Works city - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jun. 20, 2016 8:29 am

Baltimore is now a What Works city

The Bloomberg Philanthropies-backed effort means Baltimore city government will get help from the Johns Hopkins-based Center for Government Excellence.

Baltimore City Hall.

(Photo by Flickr user David Kirsch, used under a Creative Commons license)

Executive Director Beth Blauer and the team at the Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) have spent a lot of time traveling to help other cities use data over the last year.

Now they’ll only have to go downtown.

Baltimore is among a dozen new urban locales being added to the roster of What Works Cities. As part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies-backed effort, GovEx will work with the city on data and accountability. Along with being close, Blauer said the team is also happy to be working with a city that has been a “stalwart” of civic data use, both internally through CitiStat and in making it publicly available through the OpenBaltimore portal.

The city is seen as a pioneer of data efforts, but civic hackers and others have noted room for improvement. Blauer said GovEx will evaluate how the city is currently using data, and look to connect the city with resources.

The What Works initiative also comes at a time of transition for the city’s leadership and data efforts. The mayoral administration will change over next year. In the tech community questionnaire Technical.ly sent to mayoral candidates, Democratic nominee Catherine Pugh said she supported open data efforts and data-informed policy initiatives such as CitiStat.

Following controversy surrounding Mark Grimes’ tenure as CitiStat director, the current administration named Sameer Sidh as the new director and introduced a new public-facing policy site called OutcomeStat.

Baltimore invited the help from What Works via an application process, and Blauer said the organization will work to follow the city’s lead throughout the process. The What Works membership also formally brings Baltimore into the network of other urban governments using data, where they can share best practices.

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