Phoenix Names New Award-Winning CIO

After several months of searching for former CIO Debbie Cotton's replacement, Phoenix is drawing from Virginia Beach, Va.'s talent pool.

After months of searching for retired CIO Debbie Cotton’s replacement, the city of Phoenix has selected its man, someone who has taken the city of Virginia Beach, Va., to new technological heights — including taking the top spot for its population category in the 2016 Digital Cities Survey.

Phoenix announced Wednesday, Nov. 9, that Matthew Arvay will take over as the CIO the first week of January. He is slated to depart from Virginia Beach Dec. 2, according to Phoenix city spokesperson Tamra Ingersoll.

Arvay, who has been with the local government since 2012, is known for connecting communities digitally, Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher said in a press release, "and his role in Phoenix will be to link residents and visitors to government services and advance the business of the city. His commitment to public service and strengthening technology within cities will ensure Phoenix remains a digital leader." 

Cotton retired
from public service in July 2016 after serving more than two-and-a-half years as the city’s CIO. She was replaced on an interim basis by Jane Huff, who formerly served as the deputy assistant director for the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and as the assistant director and CIO for the state’s Department of Revenue.

During his time at Virginia Beach, Arvay worked to map the municipal government’s five-year master plan and the six-year infrastructure modernization and life cycle master plan. 

Technology efforts in the city included boosting the connectivity for residents and city agencies through an expanded fiber-optic network. Arvay also provided assistance in ongoing efforts to replace the city’s outdated computer-aided dispatch system (CAD) with a modernized CAD911 and records management system.

“This will give us a fully integrated system for police, fire, emergency medical and emergency communications,” Arvay told Government Technology
. “It will give our public safety community the modern tools they need to excel at the jobs they do every day.”

While his December departure will likely mean he will not see these projects through to completion, Arizona’s capitol city has its own projects to tackle. Ingersoll told Government Technology that connecting citizens to city services will remain the focus of the Information Technology Department’s ongoing initiatives.

“This past year, we have done a lot of open data, a lot of GIS and a lot of Web-based development that is going to make the connectivity with the city and the residents easier, and that’s obviously our priority,” she said. “We are in the process of launching a new Web-based system for all reporting so that people who have issues can report for their services. … So, we are definitely trying to make the ease, and the GIS, and the open data a priority in our city.”  

Eyragon Eidam is the Web editor for Government Technology magazine, after previously serving as assistant news editor and covering such topics as legislation, social media and public safety. He can be reached at