Seattle energy code bests national standard

the-light-bulb-349400_640A strong energy code is one of Seattle’s key tools for achieving significant reductions in energy use in the building sector and reaching the city’s ambitious goal of carbon neutrality.

Seattle has consistently had one of the most advanced codes in the country and the new 2012 Seattle Energy Code is no exception. That’s the finding of a recently released study comparing Seattle’s Energy Code (SEC) to a national energy standard.

Mayor Murray announces appointment of Chief Technology Officer

Michael Mattmiller

Michael Mattmiller

Mayor Murray today announced Michael Mattmiller as his appointment for the position of the Director of the Department of Information Technology (DoIT), the City of Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

“The City of Seattle should be a national leader in the use of technology to empower residents and businesses and enhance the delivery of city services,” said Murray. “Michael has demonstrated the knowledge and focus on collaboration and engagement that I believe is necessary to drive technology adoption and make technology work for our city. I look forward to working with him toward our shared vision of an innovative, interconnected city.”

An experienced consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Microsoft, Mattmiller has worked with government agencies and businesses to solve complex systems and technology challenges. His work has spanned technology domains, including software and service development, operations, security, and privacy.

“I’m honored to be joining the City of Seattle and the Department of Information Technology,” said Mattmiller. “The hardworking professionals of DoIT are passionate about using technology to enable the City to serve the people and businesses of Seattle. I look forward to working with DoIT staff to help the Mayor achieve his vision for both city staff and Seattle residents and businesses.”

With the leadership of the new CTO, the City of Seattle will embrace the latest technology trends and deliver effective software and infrastructure solutions to support the ‘city worker of tomorrow,’ expand the city’s digital equity efforts, identify and implement ways to access government and services and unlock innovation within the city.

Mattmiller will start on Monday, June 23 and will make $140,000 annually. The CTO appointment must be confirmed by the Seattle City Council.

The Department of Information Technology has 193 employees and an annual budget of $41.8 million. The department is responsible for the City’s main data center, website, The Seattle Channel, the City’s fiber network, the City’s data and telephone network, the Public Safety Radio network, cable franchises, and technology oversight and planning.


DoIT Plan
Three key objectives and supporting actions


What the community is saying about Michael:

“Michael is an accomplished IT professional and community leader whose industry experience will help build the technology infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing city.”
– Glenn Johnson, Executive Vice President of Information Technology of Alaska Air Group and President of Horizon Air


“Michael is a dedicated leader in our Seattle community. He brings humility and a focus on results to the work he takes on, and I commend the Mayor on his thoughtful choice.”
– Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, 43rd Legislative District.


“His passion for innovation will help Seattle become a leader in civic IT. I look forward to working with Michael to ensure the City continues to enable its technology and startup business communities.”
– Liz Allen Pearce, CEO of the Seattle-based startup LiquidPlanner and a former colleague of Michael’s.

City report highlights how Seattleites use technology

The City of Seattle released new findings on technology access, adoption and interaction by Seattle residents. These findings are based on feedback from 2,600 residents via online and phone surveys and in-person focus groups in multiple languages about their use, concerns, and barriers to using the Internet, social media, cable TV and online government services.

“This data shows that we’re making great strides in technology, but a digital gap still exists between our neighbors,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We’re already using the data in this report to influence how the City of Seattle interacts with our neighbors and to better target our outreach and engagement strategies.”

The Mercer Garage roof becomes an award-winning public garden

The garden on top of a three-story garage near Seattle Center won this year’s top award from the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. … The 30,000-square-foot garden is on Mercer Garage at 300 Mercer St. City officials say it is the first publicly accessible, large-scale community rooftop garden in the U.S.

City of Seattle expands Find It, Fix It mobile app to include reporting of streetlight outages and illegal dumping

Find It, Fix ItThe City of Seattle has announced the addition of two new service request types to the Find It, Fix It app, which offers smartphone users an easy way to report issues such as potholes, graffiti, and abandoned vehicles. With the latest update, app users can now report illegal dumping on public property and damaged streetlights.

The Find It, Fix It app is a scaled-down version of the city’s online service request system and includes geographic awareness to give users a convenient way to alert the City to issues and provides location information that helps City staff respond quickly. To report an issue, users simply snap a photo, add detailed information and hit submit.

“The City is committed to finding efficient and effective ways to serve our customers,” said Murray. “Find It, Fix It takes advantage of ever-evolving technology to offer an easy and practical way for the public to connect with the city and notify us of potential issues.”

The app, available for iPhones and Android phones, originally launched in August 2013 and has been downloaded to 6,350 mobile devices since that time. Users have submitted nearly 6,400 requests through the app.


Murray: ‘Seattle must be a national leader in identifying innovative ways to make high speed internet available and affordable to anyone’

Mayor Murray released this statement today on the need for more reliable high speed internet for all in Seattle:

Finding a job, getting a competitive education, participating in our democracy, or even going to work for some, requires high speed internet access. I have seen people say online, “I don’t need a road to get to work, I need high speed internet.” Seattle would never leave the construction of roads up to a private monopoly, nor should we allow the City’s internet access to be constructed and managed by a private monopoly.

It is incredibly clear to me and  residents throughout the City of Seattle, that the City’s current high speed internet options are not dependable enough, are cost prohibitive for many, and have few (if any) competitive options.

As the internet becomes more and more important to everyday life, I believe Seattle must be a national leader in identifying innovative ways to make high speed internet available and affordable to anyone who wants it.

Seattle needs a high speed internet infrastructure that meets the demands of our high tech industry and which allows our citizens to innovate without worrying about whether their connection will suddenly drop because their service provider has decided to throttle a service they depend on. We need an internet that does not censor communication, but fosters access to the content citizens depend on for information or civic engagement. We need a service provider that can do all of this with strict privacy controls so that free speech is encouraged, not stifled. In short, we need a high speed internet option that rivals any in the country.

My office is actively engaged in finding a path forward. We certainly need some short term options to bring a functional internet to neighborhoods that have almost no connectivity, and we’re looking at ways to bring service to those neighborhoods as soon as possible. We are looking at a number of policy changes and their impacts that could foster greater competition right now, like testing small neighborhood pilot programs, building off existing fiber, or increasing WiFi access.

We are also considering changes to the SDOT “director’s rule” which makes it nearly impossible for internet providers to expand existing services without an unusually high super majority of support from neighbors. Few other cities in the country demand this kind of approval system, which is in part why service providers are investing in those cities and not here in Seattle. If we determine that changing the “director’s rule” helps achieve our goal of increasing internet speeds and making Seattle a more competitive market for internet providers, my office would then explore developing a more efficient process for community input around how and when utility cabinets are placed in our neighborhoods.

Another possible solution includes granting internet companies access to utility poles at little or no charge, so that building more infrastructure is not cost prohibitive. As Susan Crawford highlighted in her Special to the Seattle Times, we need to find ways to expand our dark fiber network so every building in the City is connected. We need to ensure that this network stays under the City’s control while exploring ways to rent it at a low cost to service providers. But if we make changes that lower the costs for businesses, these changes would need to come paired with significant improvements in services. I will not be satisfied if these changes simply bring marginal improvements for customers and higher profits for corporations.

While we increase competition by breaking down barriers and enhancing infrastructure, we also need to consider the option of building a city-wide municipal high speed internet system that meets the demands of this thriving technology hub. We may learn that the only way we can truly have the internet system this City needs, is by building it ourselves. If we find that building our own municipal broadband is the best way forward for our citizens and for our City, then I will help lead the way.

It is shocking to me that the United States invented the internet, but we have one of the biggest digital divides in the developed world, and are falling far behind other nations who have speeds much greater than ours. We need to find a path forward as quickly and efficiently as possible before we fall even further behind. Our economy depends on it. Our democracy depends on it.

I look forward to appointing a permanent Chief Technology Officer in the near future and working with him or her to secure Seattle’s position as a leader in technology once again.

Mayor Murray, Councilmember Harrell comment on the resignation of Chief Technology Officer Erin Devoto

Erin DevotoMayor Murray and Councilmember Bruce Harrell offered the following statement on the resignation of Chief Technology Officer Erin Devoto:

“I want to thank Erin Devoto for her work for the City of Seattle over the past 13 years, while at the Parks Department and then the Information Technology department. As the Chief Technology Officer, Erin led the Department of Information Technology and several city-wide technological initiatives, including leasing of the City’s excess dark fiber, migration of all employees to a new email archiving system, creation of a new model for public access television channels, and has laid the groundwork for the efficiencies we’re anticipating with implementation of Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud and consolidation of the City’s data center,” said Mayor Murray.

“Erin was results oriented, leaving behind a successful legacy of building regional partnerships, moving the city towards cloud computing, and implementing city projects to improve customer service and saving the city money,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee.

The Mayor’s office expects to name an interim Director of the Department of Information Technology in the coming weeks, while conducting a more in-depth search for the Chief Technology Officer appointment. This position must be confirmed through the Council’s confirmation process.

The Chief Technology Officer reports to the Mayor and has management oversight of nearly 200 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $79 million.

Office of Economic Development names Rebecca Lovell as Startup Liaison for the City of Seattle

Rebecca LovellThe city’s Office of Economic Development (OED) announced today that Rebecca Lovell has been selected as the City of Seattle’s first Startup Liaison for the Startup Seattle initiative.

Startup Seattle is a collaborative effort between the City of Seattle and leaders of Seattle’s technology startup community to develop a strategy to support early-stage technology companies, expand the number of startups, and firmly establish Seattle as an internationally recognized home for emerging technology companies. The Startup Liaison position was crafted based on recommendations of a technology industry task force that first convened in 2012. As a result, OED acquired the Startup Seattle website from its founder Red Russak, who was a part of the initial strategy sessions along with Lovell and over 20 representatives of the technology community.

The Mayor said of the initiative, “A key part of supporting Seattle’s growing economy is to make strategic investments in our competitive industry sectors, from technology to manufacturing. Nurturing our startups and helping innovative entrepreneurs expand in our city will allow our technology sector to continue to grow and support more jobs.”

Lovell has recently served as the interim CEO for Vittana, following her tenure as Chief Business Officer for GeekWire, Executive Director of the Northwest Entrepreneur Network, and Program Director for the Alliance of Angels. She has been an instructor at the University of Washington’s Foster MBA program for six years (teaching classes on venture capital investing), and is a mentor for Techstars, 9Mile Labs, and the Founder Institute.

“I love Seattle and the startup community, and couldn’t be more excited to be an advocate for our city. We have so many key ingredients for success, and I look forward to working with community organizations, schools and universities, and future and current startuppers to ensure Seattle is on the international map of innovation where it belongs,” said Lovell. “I’m excited to carry on the great work began by Red Russak, supported by the community.”

In the coming months, Lovell will work with OED and the Startup Seattle advisory committee to measure and promote the impact of tech startups on our economy, foster startup communities through strategic partnerships, and increase access to the technology and startup sector, particularly with under-served students.

The Puget Sound Business Journal sat down with Lovell last year to talk about her career background and leadership role in the local startup community. It’s a great read for those interested in learning more about her perspectives.

Welcome to the team, Rebecca!

Mayor Murray responds to rideshare legislation approved by City Council

Mayor Murray released this statement today in response to City Council’s final vote on regulating Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), commonly referred to as ridesharing services:

“I want to acknowledge the Council’s hard work on this very complicated issue, and I can certainly appreciate the Council’s need to act on a process that began well before I became Mayor.

To be clear: Had I been in office earlier than January, I would have sent my own recommendations to Council for integrating rideshare companies into our existing regulatory framework while also reforming that framework to ease undue burdens on taxis.

While I intend to sign the legislation approved by Council today, I do not believe it is either a complete solution or a long-term solution.

I remain concerned about the issue of insurance, which I believe is already too burdensome for taxis. I remain concerned about the need to level the regulatory playing field for taxis generally, which includes issues of training, fees, rates, use of technology and latitude for innovation. And I remain concerned about the issue of caps on rideshare vehicles, which I believe is unreasonably restrictive and unworkable in practice.

These issues remain unresolved, and we need to move quickly to fully and satisfactorily address them.

As Mayor, I will direct my staff and the Finance and Administrative Services Department Director to engage stakeholders and experts outside of City government in further discussions. Based on these discussions, I then plan to submit to Council my own recommendations to both ensure customer safety and improve customer choice while leveling the playing field for all industry players.”