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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

From Oakland to Chattanooga tech-focused C-suite roles are rising in popularity among city halls.

Why it matters: As the private sector raises expectations for fast and reliable services, the public sector is working to adapt, adding roles like chief technology officer, chief information officer, chief data officer, and chief analytics officer.

The big picture: Data is of growing significance to local administrators as they balance needs for transparency and interoperable systems with privacy and ethical concerns. 

What's happening: The relatively new roles are carving out different niches from city to city.

  • New York City CAO Kelly Jin has integrated data across agencies and developed a data-driven plan to address city issues, including identifying bad landlords. 
  • Miami CIO Mike Sarasti has built feedback opportunities for residents into the design of an online platform for more than 200 city services.
  • Detroit has a director of innovation and emerging technology, Kat Hartman, who uses data storytelling to standardize addresses and land parcels.

Between the lines: There is overlap across titles in different cities. For example, some CIO roles closely resemble other CTO roles.

  • CTO roles, for instance, can cover infrastructure managers, innovation gurus, operations visionaries, community-facing technologists, or some combination of the four. At their core, CTOs are often tech experts, steering the adoption of the latest advances.
  • CDOs, as another example, are data experts working to ensure effective use of data inside and outside city walls for public good

But, but, but: Implementing best practices from the private sector, like prioritizing customer service, involves more than adding another name to an org chart.

  • And innovation can't be limited to the "there’s-an-app-for-that" mentality.

The bottom line: These roles, in the most effective cases, help to recast government as a modern service provider that is responsive and anticipates what matters to residents.

Hollie Russon Gilman is a fellow at New America's Political Reform Program, Georgetown's Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, and Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.

Go deeper

U.S. economy grew at a 6.5% rate last quarter, missing expectations

Contractors work on a home under construction. (Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized 6.5% rate last quarter, the government said Thursday — slower than the 8.4% economists expected.

Why it matters: It came as the economy made strides toward further reopening, vaccinations rolled out and government stimulus bolstered spending. But supply crunches held the pace of growth back.

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U.S. gymnast Suni Lee wins Olympic gold in individual all-around

Suni Lee . Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won Olympic gold on Thursday in the individual all-around event.

The big picture: Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to focus on her mental health, cheered from the stands with the rest of the women's gymnastics team as they watched Lee and teammate Jade Carey compete. Brazil's Rebeca Andrade won the silver and Russian Angelina Melnikova took the bronze.

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Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Simone Biles during the women's team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday in Japan. Photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏃: U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks withdraws from Games after positive coronavirus test

🏊‍♂️: Caeleb Dressel wins gold in men's 100m freestyle —Bobby Finke wins gold in first men's Olympic 800m freestyle

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

💵: Olympic athletes see more sponsorship opportunities

🏃‍: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker