Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced Thursday that Todd Carter, who’s been serving as the city’s interim chief information officer since last October, will take over the role permanently, as the municipal government continues to pull through the effects of a widespread ransomware attack last year.
Carter had been Baltimore’s deputy CIO, but took over the duties of the city’s top IT post last year after the dismissal of Frank Johnson, who some officials said bungled the response to the May 7 ransomware incident that disabled city employees’ email and voice messages, online payments for utility bills and parking tickets, and real-estate transactions, which briefly froze the local housing market.
About a month after the attack, the recovery from which has been estimated to cost $18 million, Johnson told the Baltimore City Council that his department had failed to prepare a formalized disaster recovery plan to deal with an attack like ransomware. Later reports from the city auditor’s office also found that Baltimore City Information Technology lost data that was to be used in a performance review because employees had saved the information on local computers, which were corrupted by the ransomware, instead of making external backups.
Carter, incidentally, had started as deputy CIO on the same day as the ransomware attack, a fact Young noted in a press release announcing Carter’s promotion.
“Todd’s first day on the job coincided with one of the worst cyber attacks to hit an American city,” Young said. “The city benefited greatly from Todd’s ability to perform expertly under extreme pressures. Todd has also been at the forefront of helping Baltimore modernize its IT infrastructure and to further strengthen our network capabilities. Todd possesses a rare combination of technical skills, organizational expertise, and operational abilities that will continue to serve the city well into the future.”
Prior to joining the city government, Carter worked as an IT executive in the utilities industry, including five years as a vice president for information technology at Exelon, the main electricity provider in the state of Maryland.
Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello, a former federal IT auditor who emerged as Johnson’s leading critic during the ransomware attack, and now chairs a special cybersecurity committee formed in the attack’s wake, praised Carter’s appointment.
“I am very pleased with Mayor Jack Young’s decision to appoint Todd Carter to be the next CIO for Baltimore,” Costello told StateScoop. “He has proven to be very proactive, responsive, and decisive in his time here. I truly appreciate the collaborative approach he has taken to work with the City Council and various city agencies.”