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U.S. Mayors Form Technology and Innovation Task Force

The task force will advise Congress and the Obama administration.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) appears to be making technology one of its priorities with the creation of a new task force.

Part of the task force’s mission will be to show how technology can foster innovation and transparency in local government. The committee will define mayoral priorities and will advise Congress and the Barack Obama administration.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee was appointed to lead the task force by USCM President Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles during the conference’s winter meeting last week. Lee has made a series of tech-related announcements since he became mayor of San Francisco a year ago. Last month San Francisco announced a partnership with Code for America to create a “civic startup accelerator,” as well as the appointment of Jay Nath to the newly created position of San Francisco’s chief innovation officer.

“Cities must be laboratories for innovation across the nation to create new jobs, improve government transparency and efficiency and build new public-private partnerships,” Lee said in a statement.

According to Lee’s office, the task force will examine:

  • Tax Reform — finding ways to reform the tax structure to ensure it is equitable across all business sectors, including tech;
  • CEO Engagement — Working with CEOs of companies large and small to ensure that the business environment in cities continues to attract entrepreneurs while allowing companies to grow and succeed;
  • A New Economy Apprenticeship Program — create a new workforce strategy that trains local residents for the new, high-tech economy, whether entry-level or mid-career;
  • Access to Public Data — make government information and public data more accessible to allow private companies to develop innovative applications and services for public benefit.
  • Maintaining a Tech-Friendly Ecosystem — work to ensure cities provide the competitive advantage when seeking talent by enhancing quality of life, such as parks and open space, and public transportation that attract and inspire creative minds and talent.
Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.