Philadelphia’s CDO steps down, prompting reorganization

After seven years with the city, Tim Wisniewski will end his role as Philadelphia's chief data officer at the New Year.
Philadelphia skyline
Philadelphia (Getty Images)

Philadelphia’s chief data officer will step down Jan. 1, the mayor’s office announced Monday.

City CDO Tim Wisniewski’s resignation came alongside an announcement from Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to reorganize Philadelphia’s Office of Open Data & Digital Transformation, which Wisniewski directs.

Under the restructuring of ODDT, the open data program will now be supervised by the Office of Innovation and Technology, directed by Philadelphia’s chief innovation officer Mark Wheeler, according to the press release. Digital transformation work will continue to operate under ODDT, led by Liana Dragoman who has been named the interim director of ODDT.

According to Wheeler, the decision to move the open data program back under the control of OIT is largely a matter of efficiency. Currently split between two teams, the open data project will be reorganized under OIT to unify the data sharing effort, according to Wheeler. “It just makes sense to take a wall down between that operation,” he said.


Chief Administrative Officer Christine Derenick-Lopez, whose cabinet includes both ODDT and OIT, said, “Tim’s decision is a perfect opportunity to re-align the two units that have been under his leadership, and I know these vital initiatives are in good hands under Mark and Liana.”

The search for Wisniewski’s replacement as CDO has not begun, according to Wheeler. Wheeler said that before the position is posted and applicants are accepted, “we are discussing how we want the role to evolve.”

The open data program has inherited a lot of data quality issues, Wheeler said, and a major role of the new CDO will be to lead development of a data management strategy.

The current rolls of the CDO — communicating, collaborating, and bringing people together to talk through the process and fears of data release — will not change, said Wheeler.

As Philadelphia’s CDO for four years, Wisniewski, who was appointed by former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in July 2014, led the city’s efforts on open data and oversaw the 2018 launch of the new


Wisniewski said in a tweet Tuesday that he plans on spending the next six weeks helping with the transition and recruiting a new “dev ops” team for OIT. Wisniewski said he is moving to London after the transition, where he will decide his next career move.

Betsy Foresman

Written by Betsy Foresman

Betsy Foresman was an education reporter for EdScoop from 2018 through early 2021, where she wrote about the virtues and challenges of innovative technology solutions used in higher education and K-12 spaces. Foresman also covered local government IT for StateScoop, on occasion. Foresman graduated from Texas Christian University in 2018 — go Frogs! — with a BA in journalism and psychology. During her senior year, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., and moved back to the capital after completing her degree because, like Shrek, she feels most at home in the swamp. Foresman previously worked at Scoop News Group as an editorial fellow.

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