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Michael Bott

CIO, New York City Office of the Comptroller

Michael Bott
When your office acts as the chief financial officer for the most populous city in the U.S., with a payroll that exceeds 300,000, the responsibilities can seem daunting. But Michael Bott, CIO for the New York City Office of the Comptroller since 2003, takes the many critical IT functions under his command in stride.

He oversees 140 different applications his department has deployed and maintains for the office. They support public bond offerings and monitor the city’s daily cash flow and short-term investments. Then there’s management of the city’s $160 billion pension fund — the third largest in the country — along with a vetting process for $20 billion in goods procured annually by the city. Last but not least, Bott supports the comptroller’s largest task: auditing city operations, conducted by 150 auditors.

Not surprisingly, transparency around city spending has become paramount. His office was a financial transparency pioneer when it launched Checkbook NYC in 2013. The open source platform contains financial data from more than 80 city agencies, as well as several large, non-mayoral agencies like the Economic Development Corp.

Bott’s work philosophy is about getting close to the customer. “For us to be successful, we really have to understand their business, their objectives, their critical success factors,” he said. “The most successful CIOs now have as much business acumen as they do technology knowledge, so I like to run IT as a business.”

For Bott, who worked in the private sector before joining the Comptroller’s Office, working for the city offers feel-good satisfaction that comes from helping fellow citizens. “The main drivers to success in the private sector were profitability, revenue and market share. Here, it’s about better serving constituents, hopefully at lower cost. It’s a different framework.” 

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With more than 20 years of experience covering state and local government, Tod previously was the editor of Public CIO, e.Republic’s award-winning publication for information technology executives in the public sector. He is now a senior editor for Government Technology and a columnist at Governing magazine.