Civic News

With another MOIT director out, Mayor Pugh searches for ‘a visionary’

At her weekly news conference, the mayor lamented the woeful state of Baltimore city government's technology.

Mayor Catherine Pugh speaks at Spark Baltimore.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

There’s more turnover to report in the city’s top tech role.

Evette Munro is out as acting director of the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology (MOIT)Mayor Catherine Pugh said at her weekly news conference Wednesday.
It’s just the latest change at the office, which has seen four leaders since 2012. Munro stepped in after Jerome Mullen left the post in February. He held the position for two years following Chris Tonjes and Rico Singleton, each of whom resigned. Last year, a former contractor with MOIT pleaded guilty to a theft charge.
The mayor didn’t provide a direct reason for the latest departure, but said the office needs to be “scrubbed.” She spoke frankly about the state of tech in City Hall.
“This city is so far behind in technology advancement,” she said. “When we walked in here one of the things we talked about was putting permits online. That’s not something I should’ve had to ask for. That’s something that we should be doing. I need someone who is a visionary, who understands that the future is technology, and that we’ve got to change the that way we’re doing business.”
Pugh said she saw larger tech companies eager to work with cities in public-private partnerships at the recently-held U.S. Conference of Mayors. She laid out some of the issues before the office.
“We should be prepared to be one of the smartest cities in this nation. Part of that is, how prepared are we for 5G? What are we doing with our conduit system?” she said, referring to the 17-million-foot underground system of tube that carries cable and wiring that was the center of a dispute with Baltimore Gas and Electric in 2015. “How are we allowing information to be transported from the mayor’s office to the various agencies to the community? That’s what I want to see in the city government.”
However, she said, the city needs the “right person” to lead on those efforts. That’s been tough for the city to attract. Pugh said her office is currently undertaking a national search for a new MOIT director, and that she is beginning interviews. She did not set a timetable for the hire.


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