The Federal Government is broadcasting an open call to technology professionals to help Washington make cities and public sector organizations more efficient. In the Code for America Fellowship PSA, industry spokespersons such as
Tim O'Reilly and Aneesh Chopra describe how cities have less money and more bureaucracy hindering the work it needs to do.
Tech celebs elaborate upon the concept - Mark Zuckerberg asks, "What if city hall spoke with citizens the way citizens speak with each other?" and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone posits, "What if some of the most talented designers and technologists in the country applied those talents to building Web apps for cities and citizens?"
Jen Pahlka, Founder of Code for America wants to find out. The project will give selected individuals expenses, benefits and a $35,000 stipend during the eleven-month duration while they build technology that makes local government "more open, efficient and responsive." Working with industry leaders, the Web apps will be spread to cities across the country. The application deadline to try to become a CfA Fellow is August 15, 2010.
Code for America's first blog entry is dated June 17, 2010, and includes documentation of some posters that feature quotes from United States historical figures like James Madison (System Architect, 1787) and Susan B. Anthony (Accessibility Expert, 1873) in binary.
Earlier this month, the full-time staff of the project grew from one person (Pahlka) with Alissa Black as City Program Director, and Dan Melton as technical director. Previously, they had a team of volunteers, part-timers and a board of directors, including Tim O'Reilly, Pahlka's mentor.
Black is the Business Analyst Supervisor for the City and County of San Francisco, aided in the Open311 API launch and drove the business analysis process to decide which cities will be involved in CfA's first year. As for Melton, the Public Affairs and Economics doctorate holder was based in Kansas City.