Montgomery County, Md.’s first chief innovation officer, Dan Hoffman, is waving goodbye to his position of five years and heading down to the Sunshine State, where he will take a position as assistant city manager for Gainesville, Fla.
First reported by My Montgomery Community Media, Hoffman’s last day in the Maryland position will be June 16.
“Due to the nature of this job, you don’t want someone to have it for 20 years. You want someone new to shake up the snow globe and see where flakes fall,” he told the local news source. “It needs churn. I’d be doing the county a disservice if I allowed myself to get into a comfortable rut.”
During his time as CIO, Hoffman oversaw more efficient and effective ways to deliver services and facilitate economic development in the county. He is credited with pushing new technologies and taking risks in government innovation, including the creation of the Fab Lab, an experiment around implementing future technologies in libraries.
He also advocated for the creation of a safe space for governments to tinker with new ideas and technologies.
“Creating for [people reluctant to technology] that safe place where you can make the technology real to them, show them that this is not something to be scared of, and then start to instill on both sides solid risk management principles” is important, Hoffman said at a public innovation event in mid-May.
He tells My Montgomery Community Media that getting the county’s innovation program up and running was his greatest accomplishment as CIO.
“We’ve actually been able to establish Montgomery County on a national level in the smart cities space,” he said.
Hoffman will be moving to the Florida city with a population of about 125,000 to likely oversee public works, parks and recreation, and transportation, he told the local news source.
“The city is small enough that it can be nimble enough, but big enough that I’ll have to stretch to put my arms around it,” he said.
And as the county begins a search for the next CIO, it will undoubtedly have some big shoes to fill.
“Dan has just done a terrific job and has an opportunity to make a significant advance in his career. I have nothing but the highest praise and the best wishes for him,” County Council President Roger Berliner told the source. “Our county is better for his service.”