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Chicago Appoints CIO to Newly Reformed Tech Department

The Chicago City Council has confirmed Nick Lucius as CIO to spearhead strategy for the just-created Department of Technology and Innovation. Lucius has a background in law and data science.

Nick Lucius
Chicago is one step closer to reinventing its information technology strategy, as a new leader has officially been appointed for the newly established Department of Technology and Innovation (DTI).

Nick Lucius’ appointment as chief information officer was approved by the Chicago City Council Wednesday in a vote of 48-0. Lucius had been serving as acting CIO and commissioner of the department since October.

“I am thrilled to have Nick formally confirmed to the CIO position by the City Council. I can’t think of anyone better suited to lead us,” wrote DTI Chief of Staff Robert Duggan to Government Technology in an email.

Lucius has worked with Chicago since 2016, serving as a data scientist, chief data officer and chief technology officer. He also has a background in law, and worked as the chief administrative law judge for the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Lucius’ background and technical expertise were praised by several aldermen ahead of the City Council vote.

“I think this may be the first time that I’ve seen a scientist work for the city of Chicago,” said Ward 27 Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. during the meeting. “So we really appreciate you being a scientist and a lawyer and giving us your experience and expertise. I know that you can probably make a lot more money in the private industry, so I want to thank you very much.”

Lucius’ appointment marks a shift in the technology strategy for the city, as it looks to stay current with the needs of its constituents.

“Under the previous administration, the IT was shelved under another agency, and quite frankly, was not really at the forefront of how we deliver services within the city of Chicago,” said Ward 36 Alderman Gilbert Villegas, who is chairperson of the city’s Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development. “This department is crucial to making sure that we can find cost-saving methods, and as we embark on new technologies around AI, cybersecurity, etc., it’s important that we have someone who has the ability to professionally navigate us through this new world of technology.”