Los Angeles Names First Chief Data Officer

Selecting a former Code For America co-director could indicate a desire from Los Angeles to become more innovative.

by / August 20, 2014
Abhi Nemani, most recently the innovator-in-residence for GovDelivery and former co-director for Code for America, has been named the first chief data officer for Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti named Abhi Nemani the city’s first chief data officer on Aug. 20. Nemani, who left Code for America in June for a position with GovDelivery, will assist the mayor’s effort to build “a data driven culture of innovation and excellence,” according to the city.

"I'm pleased that Abhi Nemani is joining my team to manage the collection of data citywide and create tools to use data that will help solve everyday challenges for our residents," Garcetti said in a press release.

Nemani will lead operation of Los Angeles’ recently-launched open data portal, with the goals of promoting transparency and accountability. As a former co-director of Code for America, Nemani’s experience centers largely around the interplay of government innovation in technology. In a 2013 editorial, Nemani emphasized the need of governments, cities in particular, to use data to inform better decision making.

“Remember that not all data is created equally, and data gains meaning with context,” he wrote.

Nemani leaves his post as civic innovator-in-residence at GovDelivery Aug. 20, and begins his Los Angeles position on Sept. 2. He has pledged his support for the mayor’s vision of utilizing open data. “Data has the power to transform the daily lives of L.A. residents and visitors,” Nemani said in the press release. “Knowing where your money is going, where a parking space is available, and where an event is taking place puts information into the hands of those who need it most.”

--Colin Wood