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Maria MacGunigal

CIO, Sacramento, Calif.

Maria MacGunigal
True Story Images/L Mitchell
Maria MacGunigal, Sacramento’s CIO of more than six years, appreciates the similarities in her 26-year city career to the classic “janitor to CEO” arc — though in her case, she began as a student intern before ascending to the C-suite through GIS and enterprise applications. More recently, she has been spearheading the literal work in the trenches she said must happen if smart cities are to become real.

In 2018, through a partnership with Verizon, Sacramento became one of a few cities to begin deploying wireless 5G broadband. Based on that, Sacramento now offers free Wi-Fi in three of 27 city parks, with more coming. Corridor-length traffic management is also on the way.

The CIO has also led consolidation of city IT, helped forge a digital strategy and scrutinized process improvement, including for the city’s 311 system. A new customer resource management system and mobile app for 311 is imminent, but a focus on operations and organization has helped lower call wait times by more than 56 percent.

MacGunigal is also taking aim at diversity, equity and inclusion. Sacramento debuted a gender and ethnic diversity dashboard in December that showcases efforts to employ a workforce more reflective of city demographics. A degree completion program for the estimated 65,000 Sacramento-area residents within 15 units of a college degree is, she said, in the talking stages — and a passion project for the CIO.

“I’m the first person in my family to go to a university and get a degree; and I see in my own life, looking at it, that there were 100 points at which I could have easily been in the same boat,” MacGunigal said.
Theo Douglas is assistant managing editor for, and before that was a staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes covering municipal, county and state governments, business and breaking news. He has a Bachelor's degree in Newspaper Journalism and a Master's in History, both from California State University, Long Beach.