“The evolution of open data policies since 2006 provides a chance for stakeholders to learn from and build on what’s been accomplished so far,” wrote policy associate Alisha Green. “This summer, a new executive directive from Mayor Vincent Gray’s office could have taken advantage of that opportunity for growth, It fell far short, however. The scope, level of detail, and enforceability of the policy seem to reveal a lack of seriousness about making a significant improvement on DC’s 2006 memorandum.”
Green says that DC’s robust legal, technology and advocacy community’s input should have helped shape more of the policy and that “the policy should have been passed through the legislative, not executive, process.” Opportunities, missed.
The bottom line, in Tauberer’s analysis, is that the District oF Columbia’s open data isn’t truly open. To put it another way, it’s fauxpen data.
In the wake of these strong, constructive critiques, I posted an update in an online open government community wondering what the chances ar that DC public advocates, technologists, lawyers, wonks, librarians and citizens will go log on to the DC government’s open government platform, where the order is hosted, and suggest changes to the problematic policy? So far, few have.
The issue also hasn’t become a serious issue for the outgoing administration of Mayor Vincent Gray, or in the mayoral campaign between Muriel Bowser and David Catania, who both sit on the DC Council.
The issues section of Bowser’s website contains a positive but short, vague commitment to “improved government”: “DC needs a government that works for the people and is open to the people,” it reads. “Muriel will open our government so that DC residents have the ability to discuss their concerns and make suggestions of what we can do better.”
By way of contrast, Catania published a 128 page platform online that includes sections on “democracy for the District” and “accountable government.”(Open data advocates, take note: the document was published on Scribd, not as plaintext or HTML.) The platform includes paragraphs on improving access to government information, presenting information in user-friendly formats, eradicating corruption and rooting out wasteful spending.
Those are all worthy goals, but I wonder whether Catania knows that the city’s current policy and the executive order undermines the ability and incentives for journalists, NGOs, entrepreneurs and the District’s residents to apply the information he advocates disclosing for the purposes intended.
Last week, I asked Bowser and Catania how their administrations would approach open data in the District.
Update: In answer to a question I posed, the Twitter account for DC.gov, which manages DC’s online presence and the open data platform in question as part of the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, indicated that “new terms and conditions [were] coming shortly.” No further details were offered.
“As we encourage more public engagement in the legislative process, I hope D.C. residents will take a moment to log onto the Madison project,” said Councilmember Grosso. “I look forward to seeing the public input on my proposed bills.”
“We are excited to support Councilmember Grosso’s unprecedented efforts to welcome residents – and their ideas – directly into the local lawmaking process,” said Seamus Kraft, co-founder & executive director of The OpenGov Foundation, on the nonprofit organization’s blog. “But what really matters is that we’re going to produce better City Council bills, with fewer frustrations and unintended consequences. These three bills are only a start. The ultimate goal of MadisonDC is transforming D.C.’s entire policymaking machine for the Internet Age, creating an end-to-end, on-demand collaboration ecosystem for both citizens and city officials. The possibilities are limitless.”
According to Code for DC, their team will published all responses collected, after the street addresses are excluded, on OpenDataDC, “a public catalog of civic data built by and for the people of Washington.” The group will continue to collect responses until mid-May 2014, sharing them with the Boundary Review Advisory Committee, the relevant government entity entrusted with working on the proposals. You can find more a bit more context about the app and the issues at WAMU.org.
Our DC Schools builds upon the data behind the Washington Post’s interactive news app, which also enables people to perform a similar geographic search, and then goes one step further than the newspaper, giving people tools to rate proposed changes and send it on to local government.
According to Code for DC, the idea for the civic app came from Chris Given, when he saw how much data was available regarding the issue
“I attended a public working group meeting at Dunbar High School and while I was impressed by the dedication of the Deputy Mayor for Education and DC Public Schools staff, I was just bowled over by the scale of the challenge of getting meaningful feedback from everyone these policies affect,” said Given, in a statement. “I wanted to create an on-ramp for engaging with a really complex issue.”
In personalizing and visualizing the school district changes, unpacking these proposals for assignment and connecting feedback concerned citizens affected by the proposals to policy makers at local government, these volunteers are demonstrating how open government data and the World Wide Web can inform residents and stimulate citizen engagement in matters of great public interest.
Notably, the civic app came to life through a collaboration between Code for DC and the office of the district’s Deputy Mayor for Education (DME). It’s an effort to use modern technology to better engage the people of DC in their government.
“The Our Schools DC app is an example of what can be achieved when government collaborates with citizens to find solutions to common problems. In addition to providing valuable information, it’s a means of public engagement that will help city leaders better meet the educational needs of communities throughout the district,” said Traci L. Hughes, Director of the District of Columbia Office of Open Government, in a statement.
Readers should also be aware of an important disclosure: Code for America paid for the costs of my travel to and from San Francisco and has further engaged me to produce paid analysis of the themes extant at the event. Part of our agreement, however, was that the organization would have no editorial control or discretion with respect to what I write about the event, organization, partners or constituents.
For veterans of such efforts, a portal to mapping data may not be particularly exciting or useful, but it’s a start. Notably, the city has put up anonline survey where people can request other kind of city data and suggest changes or improvements to the pilot website.
Here’s a few suggestions:
1) Study how the cities of Chicago and New York cleaned, published and used data, including market demand.
3) Make a list of every single request for data made by journalists in Los Angeles under the California Records ActRelease the data and proactively publish that type of data going forward.
4) If your goal is economic outcomes from open data, review all requests for city data from businesses and prioritize release of those data sets. Engage startups and venture capitalists who are consuming open data and ask about quality, formats and frequency of release.
6) Check out the new NYC.gov, Utah.gov and gov.uk in the United Kingdom for ideas, principles and models. Of note: the use of open standards, citizen-centricity, adaptive Web design, powerful search, focus on modern design aesthetic.
On June 27, the White House asked for nominations for civic hackers that have built tools that helped to meet the needs of the public. This morning, the Obama administration honored 15 different Americans for their work on open government and “civic hacking.”
Politico’s Morning Tech reported that Intel will fund some of the projects created at the National Day of Civic Hacking to the tune of some $20,000 – a piece. “It’s unclear how many they’ll support, but the chipmaker will pick projects that envision a more data-oriented society and use datasets from a diverse array of industries,” wrote Alex Byers. “They’ll announce the recipients over the next few weeks.” (If any readers hear of such grants, please let me know.)
Following is a small sample of tweets from or about the event, followed by a list of the men and women who were honored today, biographies provided by the White House press office, and links to their organizations and/or work. I’ll post video when it’s available.
Steve Spiker (Spike) is the Director of Research & Technology at the Urban Strategies Council, a social change nonprofit supporting innovation and collaboration based in Oakland for almost 25 years. He leads the Council’s research, spatial analysis, civic innovation, open data, and technology efforts. Spike has research experience in community development, housing, criminology, spatial epidemiology and reentry issues. He loves data, visualization, GIS and strategic technology implementation, especially open source tech. Spike is the co-founder of OpenOakland, a Code for America Brigade and is helping guide government technology decisions and civic engagement in the East Bay. In 2012 Spike was chosen as one of the Next American City Vanguard class. He is an outspoken supporter of open data and open government and speaks across the USA about data driven decision making. He also campaigns to end human trafficking and runs Stealing Beauty Photography.
Travis Laurendine, Founder and CEO of LA Labs New Orleans, LA
Travis Laurendine doesn’t fit in the typical bio box any more than his hair fits into the typical hat. As a serial entrepreneur he has been on the cutting edge of both the web startup and entertainment industry for nearly 10 years. He launched his first web startup while an Economics major at Vanderbilt University, where he was also selected as the first Vanderbilt student with a film to make it in the Nashville Film Festival. When Hurricane Katrina struck his hometown of New Orleans, he stayed back in the city and found himself wearing the hats of startup CEO, concert promoter, restaurant general manager, standup comic, film/video producer and director, MTV News journalist, band manager/agent, investor, hackathon organizer, Entrepreneur-In- Residence, and cultural ambassador. Recently, he founded Louisiana’s first hackathon organization, CODEMKRS, which is currently being transformed into Louisiana’s only modern code school. This summer he has organized hackathons for giant music festivals JazzFest and Bonnaroo and is currently planning San Francisco’s Outside Lands’ first hackathon. His official job is being the founder and CEO of LA Labs, a startup laboratory focused on the marriage of entertainment and technology that uses New Orleans as the ultimate creative incubator. He is thankful for his loving family and friends and the daily inspiration he gets from the great city of New Orleans.
Scott Phillips, Co-Founder and CEO of Isocentric Networks Tulsa, OK
Scott Phillips is the co-founder and CEO of Isocentric Networks, an advanced data center services company based in Tulsa, OK. He was previously the founder and CEO of a sensor technology company whose work included a project for NASA for use on a manned mission to Mars. Scott is also a founding board member of Fab Lab Tulsa, a 21st Century non-profit community center for innovation, entrepreneurship, and STEM education through a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Scott’s current passion lives at the nexus of entrepreneurship, the maker movement, and civic hacking, three transformative movements that he believes are democratizing how we live, work and play. According to Scott, it is easy to understand the impact of civic hacking on government when you view it in three steps; give citizens transparency, give citizens a voice, then give citizens ownership.
George Luc, Co-Founder and CEO of GivePulse Austin, TX
George Luc is Co-Founder and CEO of GivePulse, a social network that matches people to causes and enables nonprofits, companies and affinities to manage volunteers, list events and track service hours in one central community. GivePulse launched earlier this year in 2013 and has since tracked over 100K service hours and mobilized over 5K volunteers in Austin alone. George has a BS and MS in Computer Science from Virginia Tech with an emphasis in Human Computer Interaction. He spent much of his early career developing technology for people with disabilities and has worked with companies like Daylert, IBM, ESO and HomeAway. He serves as a board member of City of Austin Volunteer & Service, Austin Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau, KLRU, Open Door Preschool, and was a City Commissioner for Austin Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities.
Craig Michael Lie Njie, CEO, Kismet World Wide Consulting Mountain View, CA
Mr. Lie Njie is CEO of Kismet World Wide Consulting, which he founded in 2002. Lie has over 20 years of professional experience and currently consults world-wide on a variety of topics including privacy, security, technology design and development, education, entrepreneurship, management, sales and marketing, and mobile application development. Lie was given his name as an honorarium for his three years of service (2005-2008) as a Peace Corps Volunteer in The Gambia, West Africa, where he designed, deployed, and taught the first two years of The Gambia’s first Bachelor’s in Computer Science program at the University of The Gambia (UTG). Today his program is still successful and sustainable. After returning from the Peace Corps, Lie recruited and managed a volunteer team to build and release the free WasteNot iOS app to help people world-wide share their good ideas for reducing environmental impact. He furthermore helped the United Nations as a technology consultant and researched and documented the privacy risks of health and fitness mobile apps.
Christopher Whitaker, Project Management Consultant at the Smart Chicago Collaborative, Chicago, IL
Christopher Whitaker is a project management consultant at the Smart Chicago Collaborative, utilizing his experience in government and community organizing to advance civic innovation in Chicago. Whitaker also serves as the Chicago Brigade Captain for Code for America, supporting civic hacking events and teaching a weekly Civic Hacking 101 class. He is a graduate of DePaul University (MPA) and Sam Houston State University (BA, Political Science). Previously, Whitaker served with the US Army in Iraq as a mechanized infantryman.
Jessica Klein, Co-Founder of Rockaway Help, Brooklyn, NY
Together with a group of journalists and residents, civic hacker and designer Jessica Klein co-founded “Rockaway Help” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Rockaway Help is committed to empowering the community to find solutions for emergency response, preparedness and rebuilding through hyperlocal open news and the development of innovative community-designed technologies. As part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, Jessica lead workshops and hackathons for designers, engineers and Rockaway Beach, New York residents to identify problems and prototype design or technology solutions in the devastated coastal community. Jessica is currently the Creative Lead of the Mozilla Open Badges project where she promotes openness and creativity in formal and informal learning environments and develops ways for learners to design their own unique narrative around their credentials. Jessica created the Hackasaurus project, the Web X-Ray Goggles and Thimble tools to help teens learn how to code through hacking. Over the last decade, she has worked at a variety of institutions dedicated to learning including the Museum of Arts & Design, The Rubin Museum of Art, The Institute of Play, Startl, The Hive and Sesame Workshop. She also founded OceanLab NYC, a project which asked parents, teachers and kids in the NYC community to investigate their urban coastal environment through casual interaction and play.
Caitria O’Neill, Co-Founder of Recovers San Francisco, CA
Hooray for the #WHChamps Open Gov panel – championing people who aren’t tech savvy, rural communities, and working within and outside of gov
Caitria O’Neill is a co-founder of Recovers, a disaster preparedness and recovery technology company in San Francisco. After a tornado struck her hometown, Monson, MA in 2011, Caitria and her sister Morgan worked within their community to connect survivors with local skills and donations. This kind of seat-of-the-pants organizing happens in every neighborhood, after every storm. The Recovers team has turned the best practices of many efforts into a user-friendly tech toolkit for risk mitigation and community response. In less than two years they have helped hundreds of thousands of people find information, aid, and ways to pitch in. Caitria holds a BA in Government from Harvard University, FEMA NIMS/ICS certifications, and was named an Up-and- Coming CEO by Forbes Magazine. Her work has been featured by CNN Opinion, TED.com, and Bloomberg Businessweek.
Steven Clift, Founder of E-Democracy Minneapolis, Minnesota
Steven Clift is @democracy on Twitter. He launched E-Democracy.org in 1994 and it is the world’s first election information website. His “government by day, citizen by night” insights were built as leader of the State of Minnesota’s first e-government initiative. He spoke across 30 countries for over a decade from Estonia to Libya to Mongolia on open government and civic participation to support non-partisan, volunteer-powered efforts for inclusive online local democracy. An Ashoka Fellow, today he is E-Democracy’s Executive Director. He leads a dedicated team with the BeNeighbors.org effort to connect all neighbors online (and off) in public life across race and ethnicity, generations, immigrant and native-born, and more. He lives with his lovely wife and two children in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Gerrie Schipske, Councilwoman on the Long Beach City Council Long Beach City, CA
At white house for champions of change award #whchamps
Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske is currently serving her second term on the Long Beach City Council. She has championed open, transparent and accountable local government since she took office in 2006 by being the first elected official in Long Beach to disclose their calendar and to communicate daily via blog, email, Facebook and Twitter. In January 2012, she took public education and transparency efforts one step further with her “Open Up Long Beach” initiative and website which provide residents increased access to the city’s every day affairs and documents, and includes opportunities for residents to “ go behind the scenes” of city operations. These efforts were lauded in California Forward’s report: The State of Transparency in California: 2013. Gerrie also brought transparency to the Medical Board of California on which she serves by initiating the requirement that members disclose each meeting any contacts they have had with interested parties. Gerrie earned her JD from Pacific Coast University School of Law, her MA from George Washington University, her BA from University of California, Irvine and her RNP from Harbor UCLA Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner Program. She is the author of three books on the history of Long Beach, California.
Brad Lander, New York City Council Member Brooklyn, NY
Listening to #CivicHacker panel at #whchamps. They tap the power of social media + tech + boots-on-the-ground compassion we saw after Sandy.
Brad Lander is a New York City Council Member representing Brooklyn’s 39th District, and a leader on issues of affordable housing, livable communities, the environment, and public education. Named one of “Today’s Social Justice Heroes” by The Nation magazine, Lander is co-chair of the Council’s Progressive Caucus and was one of the first councilmembers to bring “participatory budgeting” to his district, giving residents the power to decide which projects to support with their tax dollars. Prior to serving in the City Council, Brad directed the Pratt Center for Community Development and the Fifth Avenue Committee, a nationally-recognized community development organization.
Robert Davis, Co-Founder of RadSocial Cooper City, FL
Robert Davis is a recent marketing graduate from Nova Southeastern University in Davie, FL. His day job consists of managing a social media consultancy for small to medium sized businesses, and at night one can find him at the local maker and hacker spaces around Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Robert is a Code for America intern alumni (’12) and an avid supporter of creating civic tools with open data for the public good. Along with fellow Floridian Cristina Solana, the two created the Florida Bill Tracker, forked from the MinnPost and redeployed to easily track controversial Florida legislation. Robert is also an avid traveler and surfer, and hopes to inspire others to change their world regardless of age or expertise.
Alderman Joe Moore, City of Chicago, 49th Ward Chicago, IL
Known as a pioneer for political reform, governmental transparency and democratic governance, Joe Moore represents Chicago’s 49th Ward, one of the nation’s most economically and racially diverse communities. Moore became the first elected official to bring “participatory budgeting” to the United States. Each year, Moore turns over $1 million of his discretionary capital budget to a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making in which his constituents decide through direct vote how to allocate his budget. Moore’s participatory budgeting model has since been adopted by four of his Chicago City Council colleagues, as well as city council members in New York City, San Francisco, and Vallejo, California.
Anita Brown-Graham, Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Anita Brown-Graham is Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University, a think-and-do tank focused on tackling big issues that affect North Carolina’s future growth and prosperity. From energy, to fiscal modernization, to improving our systems of higher education, IEI takes the lead in convening state leaders in business, higher education and government to address these issues in a comprehensive, long-term way to prepare the state for future challenges and opportunities. In her role at IEI, Anita led the development of the Emerging Issues Commons, a first of its kind civic engagement tool – both a physical space and an online hub that stands to transform how citizens across the state connect with each other, access information, and take action in the decades to come. Prior to her leadership at IEI, Anita worked as faculty of the School of Government at UNC Chapel Hill for 13 years, training communities in strategic planning to revitalize their distressed rural communities. Her work inspired both rural and urban communities to work together for a better future for the state. Anita is a William C. Friday Fellow, American Marshall Fellow, and Eisenhower Fellow.
Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribes Vice Chair Tulalip, WA
Deborah Parker Tsi-Cy-Altsa (Tulalip/Yaqui) was elected to the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors in 2012. As Vice-Chairwoman, Deborah brings to Tulalip leadership nearly two decades of experience as a policy analyst, program developer, communications specialist, and committed cultural advocate and volunteer in the tribal and surrounding communities. Serving as a Legislative Policy Analyst in the Office of Governmental Affairs for the Tulalip Tribes from 2005-2012, Deborah engaged in the legislative process on behalf of the Tulalip Tribes by providing quality analysis of issues most pertinent to the exercise of sovereignty and tribal governance, with particular emphasis in the areas of education, finance, taxation, and healthcare. Before joining legislative affairs Deborah developed two unique outreach and education programs for the Tulalip Tribes. Young Mothers was a culturally relevant program for teen mothers, and the Tribal Tobacco Program sought to inspire responsible tobacco use among tribal members, while acknowledging tobacco’s sacred place in Indigenous cultures. Prior to her work for the Tulalip Tribes Deborah served as Director of the Residential Healing School of the Tseil-Waututh Nation in Canada, and in the Treaty Taskforce Office of the Lummi Nation, where she was mentored by American Indian leaders such as Joe Delacruz, Billy Frank, Henry Cagey and Jewell James. As a passionate advocate for improved education for tribal members, and a belief in the inherent right of all Native Americans to expect and receive a quality education, one that is free from racial or cultural bias, Deborah is focused on educational reform, which includes developing curriculum that is a true reflection of an Indigenous ethics and knowledge system. Deborah remains committed to education by volunteering her time in the local schools where her children are enrolled. Deborah graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Ethnic Studies and Sociology where she distinguished herself as a scholar and a young Indigenous leader. Deborah lives in Tulalip with her husband Myron Dewey (Paiute/Shoshone) and their five children.
As TechnicallyPhilly reported this morning, the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has joined the ranks of municipalities putting more public data onto the Internet.
“Transparency is a cornerstone of good governance, and it is vital for the City to be open and available to our citizens,” said Mayor Michael Nutter in a statement posted to the city of Philadelphia’s Facebook page. “Philadelphia was recently named at the seventh most social media savvy city in the nation. The Open Data policy furthers many of the policies and initiatives already put in place by the City.”
“The Open Data Policy puts in place the necessary framework, structure and governance that will increase collaboration among City departments and bring citizens closer to their government,” said Chief Innovation Officer Adel Ebeid. “This policy is the first installment in Mayor Nutter’s vision for Philadelphia to become a model for increasing transparency and removing barriers to information sharing and collaboration.”
As NBC Philadelphia reported, the executive order also establishes an internal social media policy for Philadelphia municipal government.
The city now has 90 days to select or hire a chief data officer (a position that Logan Clier called for allcities to establish on the Code for America blog earlier today) and 120 days to establish a “data governance advisory” board, both of which will be in entrusted with established standards and means of publishing open data, along with periodically evaluating the releases to date.
Philadelphia may soon have an opportunity to compare notes with other cities that have pursued open data platforms around the United States, including San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boston and New York City. NYC has set up a wiki to help implement its landmark open data legislation, an example that Philadelphians might draw inspiration from, with respect to forming more collaborative and transparent processes online.
There’s much to like in this executive order, for open data advocates, but one phrase in particular jumps out: “Each City department and agency shall develop a schedule for making information available to the public and updating it on a regular basis.”
This could go a long way to addressing key concern that has been extant in other cities and states, where data sets go online but are not subsequently updated. That will only be true, however, if political will is coupled with policy clout to drive more release and public engagement with media, academy and Philadelphia’s technical community to put the data to work for the public’s good.
The good news on that count is that Philadelphia has a partner in Technically Philly, which has been an active participant in driving this change:
As with every open data effort, the devil will be in the details. Or, to put it another way, the devil will be in the datasets, including the quality and relevance of what’s posted. That said, it’s impossible to see today’s action as anything other than a watershed for the city that I grew up in, from 1984 to 1994, and I can’t help but hope that everyone in the City of Brotherly Love collaborates in making the most of the opportunity that now lies before Philadelphia to apply data for the public good.
Go make stuff that matters.
As of 7:43 PM ET this evening, the city had not yet posted the executive order to Phila.gov, the city’s official website. I’ve published the EO on open data and government transparency in full below.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. __ -12
OPEN DATA AND GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY
WHEREAS, the City of Philadelphia is committed to creating a high level of openness and transparency in government; and
WHEREAS, the three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration form the cornerstone of an open government; and
WHEREAS, the City’s participation as a founding and vital partner in the open data consortium has provided a model for transparency on which the City should continue to build; and
WHEREAS, more City data sets should be published and made available via an Open Data Portal which will provide access to information and a mechanism for public feedback and participation; and
WHEREAS, the demands of an across-the-board open government framework require the dedication of a new position, of Chief Data Officer, to direct these initiatives; and
WHEREAS, social media tools have become a part of everyday life for City employees and City residents, such that social media can be a means of increasing government transparency and civic engagement; and
WHEREAS, timetables should be established for development and implementation of an overall Open Government Plan to enhance and develop transparency, public participation, and collaboration in all City activities;
NOW THEREFORE, I, Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, by the authority vested in me by the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, do hereby order as follows:
SECTION 1. OPEN DATA WORKING GROUP AND CHIEF DATA OFFICER
A. As soon as practicable, the Mayor and the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) will establish an Open Data Working Group to focus on transparency, accountability, participation, and collaboration within City government. The Working Group, which will include senior level representation from program and management offices throughout the City, will assist the CIO in selecting a Chief Data Officer. The Working Group will also provide a forum to develop innovative ideas for promoting open government goals, including collaborations with researchers, the private sector, and the public, and for developing resolutions to issues raised through the public feedback mechanisms of the Open Government Portal.
B. Within 90 days of the Effective Date of this Order, the CIO, with assistance from the Open Data Working Group, shall hire or designate an individual to serve as Chief Data Officer (CDO). The CDO will lead the Open Data and Transparency initiatives outlined in this Order, including working with City departments and agencies to establish standards for publication of data and the most effective means for making such data available. The CDO will report to the Chief Innovation Officer.
SECTION 2. DATA GOVERNANCE ADVISORY BOARD
Within 120 days from the Effective Date of this Order, the Mayor shall appoint a Data Governance Advisory Board. The Board shall consist of nine members, including the Chief Innovation Officer and the CDO, and shall be chaired by an individual designated by the Mayor. The Open Data Working Group shall solicit nominations for members of the Advisory Board, and shall recommend appointments from the public, private, academic and nonprofit sectors. The Advisory Board shall meet regularly at such times as the Board decides, and its members shall serve at the pleasure of the Mayor.
SECTION 3. OPEN GOVERNMENT PLAN
A. Development of Plan. Within six months of the Effective Date of this Order, the CIO and the CDO, in conjunction with the Advisory Board, shall develop and publish an Open Government Plan. The plan will detail, including specific actions and timelines, the steps that the City will take to incorporate the principles of open government into its daily activities.
B. The Plan shall be formulated with the input of senior policy, legal, and technology leadership in the City; open government experts; and the general public.
C. Components of the Plan shall include:
(1) Transparency: Steps the City will take to conduct its work more openly and publish its information online, including ready public access to ordinances and regulations, policies, legislative records, budget information, crime statistics, public health statistics, and other information. Where possible, publication shall be in an open format, subject to privacy, confidentiality, and security concerns, and to the City’s Social Media Use Policy. Additionally, the Plan will identify high value data sets not yet available to the public, and establish a reasonable timeline for their publication online in open formats.
(2) Public Participation: Description of how the City will enhance and expand opportunities for the public to participate throughout each City agency’s decision-making process, including instructions for online access to published information and opportunities for comment; methods for identifying stakeholders and other affected parties and encouraging their participation; links to appropriate websites where the public can engage in the City’s existing participatory processes; and proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to increase public participation.
(3) Collaboration: Steps the City will take to enhance and expand cooperation among City departments and agencies, other governmental agencies, private and nonprofit entities, and the public, to fulfill City goals and obligations; including proposals to use technology platforms and links to appropriate websites to improve, and inform the public about, existing collaboration efforts, and use of innovative methods to obtain ideas from and to increase collaboration with those in the private sector, nonprofit and academic communities.
SECTION 4. OPEN DATA POLICY
A. Open Government Portal. Within 90 days of the Chief Data Officer’s assumption of responsibilities, the Office of Innovation and Technology shall establish a Portal that will serve as the source for Citywide and departmental activities with respect to this open government initiative. The Chief Innovation Officer, in his discretion, may build on previous open data initiatives, or may establish a new portal.
B. Identification of Barriers, Guidance and Revisions. Within 120 days of the Effective Date of this Order, the City Solicitor, in consultation with the Chief Innovation Officer, shall review existing city policies to identify impediments to open government and to the use of new technologies and, where necessary, issue clarifying guidance or propose revisions to such policies, where greater openness can be promoted without damage to the City’s legal and financial interests.
C. Department and Agency Open Formats. Each City department and agency shall develop a schedule for making information available to the public and updating it on a regular basis. To the extent practicable and subject to valid restrictions, agencies shall publish information on line (in addition to other planned or mandated publication methods), and in an open format. The open format will provide data in a form that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, searched and reused by commonly used web search applications and software. Such information shall, subject to legal and practical restrictions and to the City’s Social Media Use Policy, be made available to the public without restrictions that would impede re-use of the information.
D. Open Data Catalog. Within 90 days of the CDO’s assumption of duties, each City department and agency shall create a catalog of its public information. The catalog shall be made accessible through the Open Government Portal. The determination of what shall constitute “public information” and “high value data sets” for purposes of this Order, as well as what “high value data sets” should be shared as set forth in paragraph 4.E hereof, shall be made by each department or agency head in consultation with OIT and the Law Department.
E. High Value Data Sets. Within 120 days of the CDO’s assumption of duties, each Deputy Mayor shall identify and publish online, in an open format, at least three high-value data sets, not currently available on line or not available in a downloadable format.
F. Public Feedback. The Open Government Portal shall include a mechanism for the public to give feedback on and assess the quality of published information, provide input about what information should be a priority for publication, and provide input on the City’s Open Government Plan.
G. Legally Protected Information. Nothing in this Order shall be construed to supersede existing requirements for review and clearance of information exempt from disclosure under the Pennsylvania Right to Know Act and other applicable laws, regulations, or judicial orders.
H. Evaluation. The City’s progress toward meeting the open government goals set forth in this Order shall be evaluated six months from the Effective Date of this Order, again one year from the Effective Date, and annually thereafter. The evaluation shall be released on the Open Government Portal, and shall include criteria to be developed by the Advisory Board.
SECTION 5. SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY
A. The City of Philadelphia’s Social Media Use Policy is, by this Order, simultaneously adopted and incorporated herein by reference as if fully stated.
B. Going forward, the Mayor’s Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships and the CIO, or their designees, shall consider any additional issues that arise concerning standards for the acceptable use of social media by City employees, as well as by members of the general public who comment on or otherwise interact with the City through its social media websites, and shall, with the review and approval of the Law Department, make such amendments as may be advisable to the Social Media Use Policy.
SECTION 6. EFFECTIVE DATE
This Order shall be effective immediately.
Date: ___________________ ____________________________
MICHAEL A. NUTTER, MAYOR
The future of cities was a hot topic this year at the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, with two different panels devoted to thinking about what’s next. I moderated one of them, on “shaping cities with mobile data.” Megan Schumann, a consultant at Deloitte, was present at both sessions and storified them. Her curatorial should gives you a sense of the zeitgeist of ideas shared.
The news that Cook County took the model open government directive drafted earlier this year into account in making their own open government policy was a real validation of the hard work of everyone involved at CityCamp Colorado and thereafter.
Last night, it struck me that there’s quite a bit in common with the open government recommendations that councilman-at-large Bill Green recently advanced in Philadelphia.
It will be interesting to see if the model open government directive is adopted by newly elected South Orange Village mayor Alex Torpey, a new media consultant who ran on an open government and technology platform. Chicago mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, by way of contrast, appears to have drafted an open government transition plan without any such directive, although it does include key principles of open data and transparency.
If anyone hears of other cities adopting the model local open government framework, please do share.