Newark, N.J., Names Former State CIO Emanuel as IT Chief

Steve Emanuel, who formerly served as the CIO for the state of New Jersey, now returns to the public sector to helm operations for the state's largest city. Emanuel has decades of public and private IT experience.

Steve Emanuel, who formerly served as CIO for the state of New Jersey, is now serving in the same role for the state’s most populous city.

Newark officials appointed Emanuel as the city's CIO earlier this month, a City Hall official confirmed Tuesday. He replaces acting CIO Tawana Johnson, who had been serving in the position since the city’s former CIO Seth Wainer stepped down in June after five years of service.  

Emanuel has decades of public- and private-sector experience. Before helming IT operations for the Garden State between 2011 and 2016, he formerly served as CIO for Montgomery County, Md., in addition to serving as a CIO for Amtrak for close to a decade, according to his LinkedIn. For the past three years he has worked for TenFour, a private company offering IT solutions. 

Emanuel said that at the time of taking the position he had several opportunities available to him but the chance to serve the city stood out.  

"I think the one thing that drew me was the fact that, as a public sector CIO in local government, you really have an opportunity to touch citizens' lives with the things that we do," he said.

He added that in his new role he wants to be an efficient facilitator that will move the city's projects and priorities forward.  

"I told them, if you want transparency and you want honesty but you want my best decisions to move things forward quickly, as fast as I can do them, with as minimal risk, I'm the person you want," Emanuel said. "And they took that to heart and they hired me."

Emanuel served as CIO in New Jersey's Office of Information Technology for close to half a decade. In his time in that role he worked to enhance the state's IT in a number of areas, including its procurement process and cybersecurity, as well as helping to create a chief data officer position

Eric Pennington, Newark's business administrator, said the city is excited to have Emanuel on board.  

Lucas Ropek is a former staff writer for Government Technology.