White House: Where is the CTO?


On his second day in office, President Barack Obama issued a sweeping memorandum on transparency in government, setting out an ambitious to-do list for the newly created position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO). This person was to be responsible initially — along with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Administrator of General Services Administration — to come up with a concrete list of recommendations to implement the principles set out in the memorandum, namely, that government should be transparent, participatory, and collaborative, and to do it within 120 days.

We’re now at day 21 and counting , and the Obama Administration has yet to appoint that CTO — a position he promised to create during his campaign.

So I’m worried: the clock is ticking to prepare that critically important memo. And besides the ticking clock there have been several examples of the White HouseĀ  falling down on its promises to be transparent, particularly complying with its promise to post all legislation online for 5 days before consideration. (The history of posting bills online to allow for public comment has been either non-existent or spotty to date.) Getting that CTO “online” seems more and more important every day. To walk the walk, Obama needs the CTO.

So what’s going on? Inquiring minds want to know.