Detroit — Beth Niblock of Louisville will overhaul the city’s technology systems as the new chief information officer, Mayor Mike Duggan announced Tuesday.
Niblock will come to Detroit from Louisville’s city government, where she served in the same role and gained national acclaim for her work, Duggan said in a statement. She also was part of a team the White House assembled a few months ago to assist and advise Detroit following its bankruptcy filing, city officials said.
Niblock will start work at the end of February.
Duggan has called fixing the city’s poor technology systems a major key to his administration.
“Our city’s poor technological systems and infrastructure waste financial resources and negatively affect our ability to deliver virtually every service we provide our residents,” Duggan said. “In Beth Niblock, we have recruited an accomplished and innovative leader whose talents have been recognized at the highest levels in our country.”
Niblock said she welcomes the challenge Detroit presents.
“It was a difficult decision to leave Louisville, my hometown, but I am energized by the challenge of being a part of the team to rebuild Detroit,” she said in a statement.
The city’s lack of modern systems has hurt the city’s ability to collect income taxes, administer grants and pay vendors on time, officials have said. Last year, Information Technology Director Chuck Dodd noted the city was operating on a version of Microsoft Office that’s more than 10 years old.
About four years ago, the city rolled out a $23 million system to streamline payroll, but it caused problems with checks being issued several weeks late. In some cases, employees were manually processing payroll.
In Louisville, Niblock led a team of 75 people who were responsible for all aspects of technology. It included computers, network security, MetroTV, the city website and software development.
“Under Beth's leadership, Louisville has been recognized year after year for its progressive technology — from Best of Web awards for the city website, louisvilleky.gov, to numerous honors for Best Digital Government,” Mayor Greg Fischer said in a Tuesday statement. “Detroit is getting a dynamic and effective chief technology officer.”
Chief information officer is a new cabinet-level position in the city, approved by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Dodd will report directly to Niblock.
Niblock is the latest to be added to Duggan’s inner circle, which includes former Police Chief Ike McKinnon as his deputy mayor; Lisa Howze, chief of staff; Tom Lewand Sr. as group executive of jobs and economic growth; Bryan Barnhill II, chief talent officer; and bus director Dan Dirks. Former Washington, D.C. Control Board Chief John Hill was jointly appointed late last year by Duggan and Orr as the city’s chief financial officer.