The office that oversees the City's tech teams is in transition - Technical.ly Philly

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Jun. 13, 2019 10:28 am

The office that oversees the City’s tech teams is in transition

The woman replacing Christine Derenick-Lopez as chief administrative officer will also join the SmartCityPHL Advisory Committee.
Philadelphia City Hall.

Philadelphia City Hall.

(Photo by Flickr user Steve Ransom, used under a Creative Commons license)

The City of Philadelphia announced Tuesday that Chief Administrative Officer Christine Derenick-Lopez, who’s held the position for the last two and a half years, is stepping down from her role for one in the private sector.

Named to take her spot as interim CAO is Stephanie Tipton, who is currently the chief of staff of the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer.

Michael Zaccagni has also been approved to serve as interim personal director. Derenick-Lopez was previously serving in both roles, and the City said it is conducting a search to fill both roles permanently.

The chief administrative officer directly reports to Mayor Jim Kenney and oversees multiple departments, including the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT), which participates in projects such as the Digital Literacy Alliance, revamping the phila.gov site and more recently has been looking into how the city will tackle the 2020 census.

The chief administrative officer gained control of OIT in 2016, when Rebecca Rhynhart held the position. Tipton’s new role also oversees the Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation, the Department of Records, the Human Resources and Talent department and a few others.

Tipton told Technical.ly that her 12-year background with the city is in operations, and she appreciates the culture of collaboration that Derenick-Lopez built while in the role.

The CAO position is about making government more efficient as a service provider, she said.

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“Generally, I like to nerd out about ‘How do we make processes more effective and efficient?'” Tipton said. “How do we make sure departments can get their work done and provide the services they need to residents?”

Tipton will replace Derenick-Lopez on the SmartCityPHL Advisory Committee, the members of which were announced in April. The group is tasked with guiding the deployment of innovative solutions that will improve tech service delivery for Philly’s residents, businesses and visitors.

Chief Information Officer Mark Wheeler said the committee’s members have met at least once and his team has hired a program manager for the forthcoming Pitch & Pilot smart cities program, but the work is on pause as the office looks to hire a smart city director.

The group’s three key areas of action will be to increase cross-departmental and cross-sector partnerships, reduce redundancy in smart city projects and help shape best practices and governance for smart city implementation and growth.

Tipton will take over the CAO position on June 17.

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