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Amid Controversy, Baltimore Hires a New CTO

Chris Tonjes formerly worked in various tech-related positions for Washington, D.C.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake late last week announced the appointment of Chris Tonjes as the new chief technology officer in the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology. Tonjes was CIO for DC Public Library (DCPL), the public library system for Washington, D.C., where he created an iPhone application and pushed broadband expansion.
“We are excited to announce the appointment of a qualified and forward-thinking individual to oversee an increasingly important government agency,” said Rawlings-Blake. “Chris comes to us with years of experience as an innovator for one of the country’s oldest public library systems. His understanding of the needs of a modern urban municipality will be critical as we develop strategies to make city government more effective and efficient.”
Before working for DCPL, Tonjes was a program manager for the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer. From 1997 to 2003, he was a principal and project manager with Oculus Communications, and he worked for Merrill Lynch, Prudential Financial and Deutsche Bank. Tonjes will officially begin working for the city on July 23.

Baltimore’s technology office has been a hot-button issue recently, since former city CTO Rico Singleton was dismissed earlier in 2012 after an audit alleged possible conflicts of interest related to his dealings on IT contracts when he was deputy CIO of New York state.

Rawlings-Blake also has received criticism for her and Singleton’s purported role in the procurement of high-end video phones for City Hall. Baltimore Comptroller Joan M. Pratt called the $659,000 procurement an improper side deal.


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