The first time I walked into New York City Council Member Ben Kallos’s District Office, I immediately recognized the layout: A pair of long tables occupied by laptop-facing 20-year-olds wearing jeans and hoodies...
“How do you like our startup office?” Kallos asked me, as he welcomed me into his glass-enclosed office with a smile.
Kallos is one of New York City’s newest members of the city council. He is a lawyer and former business owner who represents part of Manhattan’s Upper East Side as well as Roosevelt Island. But his experience as a coder–he’s worked with MySQL and PHP–is shaping his time on city council as much as any of his other credentials. Thus far, he’s proposed a host of open government bills and used technology to make his own work more open and accessible.
“We operate using Agile. We use Trello for task management. We do standing check-ins,” says Kallos. “So we’re using all the best practices of the world’s most nimble startups to run our government offices.”