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Philadelphia CTO Mark Headd to Step Down

Headd announced on his blog that he will leave the public sector in early April.

In his blog posted March 20, Philadelphia Chief Technology Officer Mark Headd announced he'll be leaving his position in early April, with no detail as to what, exactly, his next move will be -- just that he will return to being a professional technologist. 

"I’ll be talking more in the weeks ahead about exactly what I’ll be doing, but I’ll still be working with governments and open data," he wrote. "I’ll also still be in Philly – my wife and I will continue to live and work here, and our kids will still go to school here."

And in a GitHub "Ask Me Anything" held the week of March 24, Headd was asked what his biggest challenge was during his short time in Philly, to which he said he thinks the two main challenges to open data in government are technical and cultural.

"Much of the data we are working to open up resides in legacy systems – some many years old," he wrote. "These systems were not designed with the idea that the data in them would someday be made public. Investment in new technology to replace these legacy systems needs to include a focus on open data and better data integration between systems."

Culturally, he added, some people in government are still getting used to the idea that part of the job is to act as a data steward, and make this valuable resource available to the people they serve.

"This is a pretty radical shift in thinking for government employees and it will take time," Headd wrote. "Happily, many governments are increasingly embracing their roles as data stewards and releasing more open data."

As for what he would have done differently? "I would have worn a tie less often."

Headd also noted that he knew his time in city government would not be forever. "... It was a hard decision to leave, but I'm looking forward to rejoining the ranks of the civic hacking community," he wrote. "It's where I belong."