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Wake County, N.C., Hires Asheville’s Jonathan Feldman as CIO

As CIO in Asheville, he moved the city to the cloud, expanded free high-speed Wi-Fi, boosted cybersecurity and built better relationships with residents. He joins a county that has recently won praise for its tech efforts.

An aerial view of Raleigh, N.C., in Wake County.
An aerial view of Raleigh, N.C., in Wake County.
Wake County, N.C., has hired Jonathan Feldman as CIO.

He starts Oct. 17 and comes from the CIO job in Asheville, N.C., where he has worked for 17 years. His experience also includes working as chief technology manager for Chatham County, Ga. — home of Savannah — for eight years.

In Wake County, Feldman will lead the Information Services Department and its 115-member workforce, according to a statement from the county.

“I will bring a public service heart with business training to Wake County,” Feldman said in the statement. “I think that my philosophy of ‘people first, then business process, then technology’ will help us do our best for our employees and the folks we serve.”

Wake County, which is home to the state capital of Raleigh, has an estimated population of more than 1.1 million and is part of the state’s Research Triangle.

“Jonathan has the right skills, knowledge and mindset to be successful in this role,” said Deputy Wake County Manager Ashley Jacobs, who oversaw the hiring process, in that statement. “We feel confident that he will be a great leader for our Information Services team and help Wake County with long-term strategies on the implementation of technology.”

According to statement from Asheville, Feldman as CIO led the city into becoming “an early adopter of cloud-based technology” while also building up cybersecurity and the diversity of the Information Technology Services Department.

He also leveraged his relationships with Silicon Valley startups in making “Asheville the first city in the nation to use Amazon Web Services cloud-based disaster recovery,” according to the Wake County statement, worked with the other agencies to bring free high-speed Wi-Fi to public housing and boosted his department’s customer service rating to 90 percent from 30 percent.

Asheville says it plans to soon name an interim CIO.

In Wake County, Mike Bass has served as interim CIO since January, a Wake County spokesperson told Government Technology. He took over for John Higgins, who retired in December 2021, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Earlier in 2021, Bill Greeves, Wake County’s chief information and innovation officer and deputy county manager, announced he was leaving for a private-sector job with software company SAP. He had worked for Wake County for eight years, and had a career in local government that spanned more than 20 years. He said he was interested in trying “something new and completely different.”

As recent Government Technology data has shown, salaries for public-sector tech workers have increased but still lag behind private-sector pay.

Wake County, for its part, “implemented a system of cash incentives for hard-to-fill spots,” according to the Digital Counties 2022 survey from the Center for Digital Government.* Wake County placed in the Top 10 counties with populations of 1 million or more.

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology’s parent company.