Gotham Gazette Eric Adams Vows to Overhaul How City Government Works; Experts Point to Several Essentials to Following Through by Samar Khurshid
Council Member Ben Kallos, a Manhattan Democrat, has been an evangelist for improving municipal digital services, particularly through open source software. “The fact that we're in the 21st century and so much of the government still requires a paper application is a problem,” he said in a phone interview.
Kallos, who is term-limited out of office at the end of this year, has repeatedly expressed frustration at the meager progress in civic technology solutions under the current administration. “Mayor de Blasio rolled out a lot of dashboards, but at the end of the day, 311 still doesn't work,” he said, pointing to a City Council oversight hearing on Tuesday on the NYPD’s apparent mishandling of 311 complaints. He was optimistic that an Adams administration could make major strides, and reiterated the expert consensus that the city needs an agile in-house team of software developers to create and consistently improve digital service platforms, rather than relying on major technology firms to deliver a finished product.
“If Eric approaches this with a Big Tech mindset, spending millions of dollars to launch something that is ready on day one with a big bang, then we're gonna have healthcare.gov all over again,” Kallos said, citing the Obama administration’s botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment portal. “We can do this inexpensively, we can do this scalably. And we can do it in-house so that we can keep making