Miguel Gamiño, New York City’s chief technology officer, is leaving for the private sector after a year and a half in the role.
He’s not yet prepared to say what he’s going to be doing, but he said it’s going to be very much along the lines of what he’s been doing in the public sector. For about seven years now, Gamiño has been leading city technology departments.
“We’ve accomplished a lot, and I’m now kind of setting up to pursue a new venture or a new chapter I guess — a continuation of the work, but from a different perspective,” he said.
After founding a pair of IT companies, Gamiño took on the role of chief information and innovation officer for the city of El Paso, Texas, in 2011. From there he went on to helm San Francisco’s Department of Technology for two years, and in October 2016 he took on his current role in New York City.
He’ll be vacating the position in “several weeks,” and the city has not yet announced who will follow him in an interim or permanent capacity. The city did not offer comments for this story.
“I’m very grateful, not just to Mayor [Bill] de Blasio, but also to the leaders in all three of those cities,” he said.
Despite spending only a couple years at each one, Gamiño packed quite a bit of action into his time in public service. In El Paso, he helped further shared services work between the city and El Paso County, including a new data center. In San Francisco, he helped deploy a public Wi-Fi network, set up partnerships with some of the many large tech companies nearby and experiment with sensor networks. It was during his time in San Francisco that he was part of a team that Government Technology named to its list of Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers.
In New York, Gamiño worked on spreading gigabit Internet throughout the city and launched the NYCx program, which brings together citizens, the private sector and government to try to solve communal problems through a series of challenges. Some examples: reducing waste to zero in public housing developments, deploying high-speed Internet in a controlled area on a tight budget on a compressed timeline and tackling violence in designated neighborhood corridors.
Gamiño pointed specifically to the net neutrality fight as one of his proudest moments in New York. He was an outspoken national critic against the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to end net neutrality when the commission took the issue on. And during his time at this year’s tech-heavy South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, Gamiño joined de Blasio in announcing a coalition of cities pledging not to work with Internet service providers who violate the principles of net neutrality.
“Taking a stand, that’s important,” he said. “It’s technology, but it’s really about people and how it affects people, [and] our ability to organize multiple cities and act as a united front on multiple issues.”
As he leaves public service, Gamiño urged local IT leaders to always keep the citizen in mind.
“What I think is really powerful about being a civic technologist is that you’re in a position to really listen to what people need and then leverage technology to forward those priorities instead of letting technology [lead] the ship,” he said.
New York City is fresh off the departure of another major IT leader, with Anne Roest leaving her position as commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications in January. Samir Saini, formerly Atlanta’s CIO, stepped in to take her place.
Ben Miller is the business beat staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.