San Diego Officials Recognized for Transparency in Government

Chief Data Officer Maksim Pecherskiy, City Clerk Elizabeth Maland Receive Open Government Honors from Local Journalism Organization

Thursday, April 7, 2016 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – Two San Diego city government officials received honors for transparency Wednesday night from the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists (SDSPJ) at its second annual Window and Wall Awards – an event that celebrates the importance of transparency and open access in government.

The City’s Chief Data Officer Maksim Pecherskiy won the coveted 2016 Sunshine Award for his work establishing San Diego as a leader in open data and City Clerk Elizabeth Maland won the 2016 Window Award for her office’s customer service in providing information in a timely and professional manner.
 
Pecherskiy is creating an inventory of City datasets and preparing them for public release. The City is currently inviting the public to vote on which datasets should be released first at datasd.org. The first data sets will be published in July.
 
“We created this position to help establish a more open and transparent city government that better serves San Diego residents and neighborhoods, and it’s fantastic to see Maksim’s work recognized,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, who appointed Pecherskiy as the City’s first Chief Data Officer in November 2014. “He’s changing the way the City does business by using technology to make data-driven decisions, improve customer service and share more information with the public.”
 
Included in the City data sets are crime stats, revenue streams, and capital projects. Another component already functional is a budget transparency tool that allows residents to see how their tax dollars are being spent.
 
“I'm very honored and humbled to win this award,” Pecherskiy said. “I believe it's a reflection of the attitude in the city and could only be possible with support from city leadership, team members and residents. It's very exciting to see the direction we're moving in and I'm proud to work for a city that places openness and transparency high on the agenda.”
 
Maland, who was appointed City Clerk in 2005, was lauded for providing information – voting records, City Council dockets and other government documents – quickly and efficiently to the public and media. Maland also received acknowledgement for her office’s use of Twitter to provide immediate results from City Council meetings. 
 
According to the SDSPJ, the Window Award is given to a “public official or agency that most prioritized transparency and the public’s right to know,” within the last year.
 
“I accepted this award on behalf of the 44 women and men who work in my office and each day walk the talk of our mission: To provide accurate information and maximize access to municipal government,” Maland said. “I have been fortunate to have hired each of my deputy directors – George Biagi, Bonnie Stone and Sheila Beale – and the strides they have made in each of their divisions related to public access is amazing.”
 
The City Clerk’s Office provides a variety of documents online for the public, including City Council agendas and backup materials, campaign finance reports, lobbyist disclosures and voter pamphlets dating back to 1960. The office also has Digital Archives which make fragile founding records – historical photos and other collections – available online for the first time ever.
 
Mayor Faulconer said, “Liz Maland and her entire team are consummate professionals and, for many San Diego residents and members of the press, the first contact at City Hall when they seek records and information from the City. Her office has been providing quick and easy access to public records – online and in person – for many years, and she and her staff are well-deserving of this award.”
 
All of this is part of the City of San Diego’s ongoing effort to better serve the people of San Diego. Transparency, accountability, and integrity are at the forefront of the City’s mission and part of its strategic plan.