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Elections / Municipal government

Rebecca Rhynhart won. Here’s her plan to bring tech into the Controller’s office

The city's former Chief Administrative Officer, who scored the Democratic nomination with backing from the tech scene, won by a landslide last night.

Rebecca Rhynhart, City Controller nominee for the Democratic party. (Courtesy photo)

With a little help from Philly tech scenesters back in May, former Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Rhynhart scored the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Controller’s Office, unseating incumbent Alan Butkovitz in a move that Philly Mag called a sign of the Democratic machine’s waning power.

But the job wasn’t done for Rhynhart, 43, who served as city treasurer under Mayor Michael Nutter before joining the Kenney administration: she still had to win the thing. And last night, with a whopping 82 percent of the vote, the Democratic beat out Republican nominee Michael Tomlinson and became the first woman to be elected to the Controller’s office.

Our city’s newly elected controller was introduced to the tech scene in May last year, when Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski and his team came directly under her watch, in a shakeup that removed a layer of bureaucracy and gave Wisniewski’s team more leeway to work on projects like the city’s website and the release of open data sets.

When she became the Democratic nominee, we asked her how she planned on making tech a part of the oversight office.

“The role of the City Controller is auditing every department every year to root out fraud and increase efficiency,” Rhynhart said. “I plan to look for not just fraud but ways to modernize processes through technology. The ROI could be huge.”

As city controller, Rhynhart promised to push for the digital release of expenditure data.

“What I want to accomplish is very tied into what the tech community feels is important,” said Rhynhart. “That formed the basis of our relationship. My message to them is that I’ll be a strong partner and ally. I will be an advocate for modernization, data, and serve residents in a better way.”


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