Software Development

Chris Alfano’s impassioned bid for Code for America’s National Advisory Council

Voting for the advisory board closes on Sept. 30, and here's why the Code for Philly cofounder wants you to get off Slack and go vote for him.

Screen time. (Photo by Jessica Calarco, used via a Creative Commons license)

Chris Alfano, cofounder of Code for Philly, wants to help shape the model Code for America will follow.
That’s why, instead of looking from afar and Philly shrugging, the local staple of Philly civic tech is running for a spot on the recently announced National Advisory Council of the civic hacktivist coalition.

Alfano, who has long been the link between the national org and Philly, voiced his bid for the board in an impassioned Facebook post.
“I’m running for Code for America’s national brigade advisory council to be a voice for us playing to our strength as a lean network of local groups that collaborate nationally only where there are economies of scale,” Alfano wrote.
The social media posting also gave a sneak peek into two conflicting philosophies within the management of the organization. Alfano openly embraced one of them.
“Some want us to focus on fundraising from big tech companies nationally to pay operating costs for local groups across the country but I’m wary this is neither achievable nor sustainable,” Alfano wrote. “Instead, I want us to take full advantage of our might as a network of agile groups, employing open-source philosophy to drive change from the ground-up.”

The announcement of the newly-created board comes at the four-year mark of the Code for America brigade program, and was the result of a lengthy dive into the organization’s own structure. Thirteen nominees hailing from CfA’s local outposts are up for one of the nine seats that make up the council.
According to Christopher Whitaker, manager of the brigade program, the council marks the “beginning of a new governance structure that will increase our ability to function more effectively together while preserving the strength of local communities.”
“I Code for America because I believe that—like the labor movements of the industrial era—open data and technology represent humanity’s opportunity to turn the driving trends of the day into an equalizing force that lifts up everyone,” Alfano went on in his Facebook post. “Local civic hacking groups that put technology to work for the people becoming an effective network of collaboration will be absolutely vital to turning the tide on corruption and inequality.”
Sept. 30 is the final day to cast your votes and, like you might expect from an organization of civic activists, they’ve opened up the process to allow the whole community to vote.

Companies: Code for America
People: Chris Alfano
Projects: Code for Philly

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