With vocal support from tech community stalwarts, the former Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Philadelphia, Rebecca Rhynhart, secured the Democratic Party’s nomination for City Controller on Tuesday.
On Thursday, with things a bit more settled after a whirlwind couple of days, Rhynhart had a brief chat with Technically Philly about the tech implications of her victory and what she plans to do in office should she defeat Republican nominee Mike Tomlinson in November.
“The tech community’s support was extremely helpful to propel me to winning,” Rhynhart said. “I earned the support of several groups of people, but I particularly felt a connection there with the tech community.”
Leaders of civic hacking group Code for Philly supported Rhynhart’s candidacy through door-knocking, social media posts and meet-and-greet events, while others hosted fundraisers, like former Philly Startup Leaders president Bob Moul and Gabriel Investments’ Max Tuttleman.
According to Rhynhart, that connection is tied to her exposure to the civic tech crowd during her year-long stint as CAO, where she was able to oversee Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski’s team (both directly and indirectly, as she oversaw the Office of Innovation and Technology).
“I’m a strong believer in open government, transparency and modernization,” Rhynhart told Technical.ly. “What I want to accomplish is very tied into what the tech community feels is important. 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.”
And just what will that tech imprimatur look like in an office like that of the Controller’s office? Two ways, the candidate said.
“First, on modernization, 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. And in the field of open data, as city controller I will push for the digital release of expenditure data.”
These are things Rhynhart spoke about back when she was CAO and it’s a vote of confidence that those who used to work closely for her believe she can do it. ‘Till November.