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NYC Mayor De Blasio Names DOITT Commissioner

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, May 6 2014

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that he had appointed Anne Roest as commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Roest is currently Public Safety Cluster Chief Information Officer at the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, and was previously Chief Information Officer and Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, as well as IT director and project director at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance following programmer and technology positions at Fidelity Investments, Norstar Bank and Microsoft.

"Anne represents so much of what is great about our technology sector. From her early days as a COBOL programmer at Fidelity Investments to her recent work overseeing IT operations across all of the state’s public safety operations, she’s risen up through the ladders through hard work, vision and steadfast leadership,” de Blasio said in a statement.

"As the central technology services agency, DoITT has an opportunity and responsibility to help government improve the availability and efficiency of key public services, and to build on the foundation of transparency and openness of our data,” Roest said in the statement.

The press release notes that in her new role, Roest will be responsible for maintaining the city's "foundational IT infrastructure and systems," as well as the city telecommunication franchises, including the recently announced RFP to transform the city's payphone infrastructure into one of the country's largest Wi-Fi networks.

Jessica Lawrence, executive director of NY Tech Meetup, said in the press release that Roest "will be an exceptional partner that deeply understands the role of tech in evolving business and supporting the lives of the people of New York City. Anne has been a trailblazer for women in tech and will continue to be in her new role."

"With today's appointment of Commissioner Roest, BetaNYC is excited to see this administration's emphasis on service innovation, transparency, and openness," BetaNYC, the membership of New York City's Code for America brigade, said in a separate statement posted by Noel Hidalgo, the group's executive director. "Additionally, we are excited to see a collective commitment to modernize NYC's telecommunications franchises and provide 21st century access to all."

Theresa Pardo, the Director of the Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, SUNY, whom Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed as an Open NY advisor last year, in the statement praised her ability to handle "complex problems," lead "multi-agency collaborations," and her "commitment to innovation."

The press release notes that Roest was named to the Technology Hall of Fame at the recent New York State Government Technology Conference. In 2009, the Center for Digital Government recognized the Division of Criminal Justice Services for a ground-breaking data sharing project allowing multiple law enforcement agencies to access and share millions of records.

Under Mayor Bloomberg, Rahul Merchant was the city's first CIO and the seventh DoITT Commissioner beginning in April 2012.

Recent news reports indicate that de Blasio also intends to name a new top technology leadership position situated directly within the mayor's office.

Civic hacker groups, including betaNYC, had recently called on the de Blasio administration to fill several tech vacancies in the administration after the departures of Chief Analytics Officer Michael Flowers and Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot. Hoat is now deputy secretary for technology under Governor Cuomo, who also hired Andrew Nicklin, formerly director of Research and Development at DoITT, as Director of Open NY.