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Civic hackers unite at the Python for City Government Process Improvement Meetup

Bringing together Baltimore civic leaders and technologists, the meetup is held the first Friday of every month.

Inside the Python for City Government Process Improvement meetup. (Courtesy photo)

Department heads, Python enthusiasts and civic problem solvers meetup the first Friday of every month to crowdsource solutions in city government.

Founded by Babila Lima, director of the Business Process Improvement Office for the Baltimore City Department of General Services (DGS), the Python for City Government Process Improvement meetup was started as a way to improve Python skills in city government (as the name implies) and bring agencies together across the department of General Services to find solutions in a data driven way. (They’ll be among the mid-Atlantic technical groups represented at Technical.ly’s Super Meetup on August 13.)

“What I was drawn to was we use Python internally and I wanted to get connected to folks that were using Python,” said Billy Daly, chief technology officer of workforce development nonprofit Baltimore Corps about why he joined the meetup. “Broadly, I was really interested open sourced data projects.”

Daly, along with the DGS data fellow Jason Jozwiak, have inherited organizing the meetup from Lima and cofacilitate the monthly gathering that has now transitioned to Zoom and Google Meet. They assure that there’s something worthwhile in the meetings for Python and civic innovation enthusiast alike.

“Being able to say hey, not only is this how you use this particular library in python but this is specifically how you apply the tool to solve this real world challenge is one of the most exciting things about the meetup,” said Daly about the draw for Python enthusiast.

Civic enthusiasts and city government department heads come with a feeling that the solutions to some of their issues might be a brainstorm away.

“It’s still really valuable for them to be able to see just what’s possible with this technology,” said Daly about city government officials that come to the meetups. “As well as potentially make connections to folks who are doing it on the ground.”

The meetup is the first Friday of every month from 12-1:30 p.m. All are invited to pop in and pop out at their leisure.

 

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
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