Harry E. Black

Senior Fellow, Center for Digital Government


Harry Black is a recognized champion of change and innovation who focuses on transforming organizations by applying best practices and outcome-based strategies. Black’s extensive career includes leadership roles in both the public and private sectors. He is a seasoned executive having served as city manager, deputy chief administrative officer, chief financial officer, program manager and chief procurement officer. Black is a former small business owner, building a D.C. based government services company providing staff augmentation support services to various Federal government departments. Grew the company to 94 employees and $8 million in annual revenues.

Black is a leader and pioneer in the development and implementation of performance management programs for cities, helping them to optimize transparency, accountability, and overall performance, thereby improving overall service delivery. Black has implemented a comprehensive integrated systems approach that allows public sector organizations to optimize performance and results. He advocates for the systematic integration of data analytics, lean techniques, smart technologies, citistat programs and laser focused strategic planning.

In the area of public financial management, Black has led efforts for several large American cities in the issuance of more than $5 billion of municipal bond transactions from general obligation bonds, revenue anticipation notes, revenue bonds, short-term bank notes, and operating leases. Successfully represented multiple municipalities to rating agencies. In three cases efforts led to bond rating and outlook upgrades. Black has a proven track record of helping cities successfully address structural budget imbalances, budget shortfalls, strengthening reserves and achieving healthcare and pension reform.

Black has served as a leader in the area of capital program development and execution having served as Program Manager of a $500 million, five-year Federal design and construction program, building academic, food service, dormitory, medical, athletic/recreational, and vocational training facilities, supporting 20 million gross square feet of facilities across the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Black is credited with helping cities overcome debt capacity constraints with the introduction of innovative debt financing solutions that allowed these cities to be able to more than double lane miles repaved/preventative maintenance, fleet refreshment, new schools, new recreation centers and gateway beautification.

Black is published in subjects ranging from community & economic development, pension & healthcare reform, and performance management & data analytics. In addition, he has delivered numerous presentations on the aforementioned subjects, as well as police-community relations reforms, infrastructure development, public procurement and long-range public financial planning.

Black received his BS in Public Administration from Virginia State University, and later served as an eight-year member of its Board of Visitors, five as Rector. While serving as the University’s Rector in 2018, it was voted the best HBCU board of trustees and the best HBCU in the country. Black also received his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Virginia.

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