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Baltimore CitiStat director dismissed after brief tenure

Reasons for dismissal are not known. No announcement by mayor's office.

Chad Kenney, director of Baltimore’s CitiStat program, was fired today, The Brew has learned.

Kenney was named director of the program – started by former Mayor Martin O’Malley to track the performance of city agencies and “hold bureaucrats accountable” – in August 2012 after CitiStat itself failed to perform.

For many months that year the agency had failed to post online reports and met infrequently with city department heads.

This followed the departure of Deputy Mayor Christopher G. Thomaskutty, who had run the program for years, and the subsequent resignation of his successor, Yolanda Jiggetts, reportedly for health reasons.

“Talented” Analyst

Described as “abrasive” but also “talented” and “committed,” Kenney had pledged more detailed analysis of agencies by CitiStat and more posting of on-line data about how departments were performing their jobs.

Chad Kenney was dismissed as CitiStat director today. (socrata.com)

CitiStat director Chad Kenney was dismissed today. (socrata.com)

He specialized in analyzing the Baltimore Police Department and its response to 911 emergency calls.

He also was trying to understand better the workings of the Department of Public Works and how it performs water meter readings. “He’d go out with police and DPW crews to get a handle on how they work,” said a person familiar with his job.

CitiStat was started by Mayor O’Malley in 2000 as an analytic tool to internally measure the performance of key Baltimore agencies such as police, fire, public works, transportation, health, housing, and recreation and parks.

He appointed his young brother, Peter O’Malley, to oversee the program that won kudos from good-government groups, even though most CitiStat information was not normally available to the public.

citistatThe reasons for Kenney’s dismissal are not known.

His departure was not announced by the office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Spokesman Kevin Harris did not immediately return a request for comment by The Brew.

[UPDATE: Harris never responded to our inquiry, but told The Sun tonight that Kenney resigned after the mayor asked him to take another job in city government.]

A person who answered the CitiStat phone this afternoon said he had “no information” about the matter and could not speak further.

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  • davethesuave

    not to make light of anyone getting canned, but i wonder, if only he had a “d” near the end of his name, would it have made a difference?

    • River Mud

      I can’t imagine anyone being hired for the job with anything but a “d” after their name. Am I incorrect?

      • davethesuave

        You are not incorrect, although be a “Kennedy” makes it that much sweeter.

        • River Mud

          made me chuckle. thanks.

      • http://housingpolicywatch.com/ Carol Ott

        Not in this town, my friend. Never. Gonna. Happen. I know because I have experienced it firsthand.

  • Dave Troy

    Would be interesting to learn if he spoke actual truth to actual power or was just incompetent. Certainly Citistat doesn’t seem to be performing very well since Thomaskutty left.

    • Gus G. Sentementes

      Do people in city government actually get fired for incompetence?

      • Very Concerned

        nope.

  • cwals99

    As we have all seen with O’Malley’s statistics the problem is getting the right stats and the integrity and intent of that data gathering. Stats will say whatever the person asking for them want. The problem for Baltimore citizens is having elected officials working for public good and wanting stats that get us there rather than working for corporate interests and providing stats that maximize profit or support bad policy!

    • Phyllis

      I think the point of CitiStats is that citizens can build their own statistics. You get the data and crunch it.

      • Dave Troy

        No, not so. CitiStat is an internal metrics management initiative. OpenBaltimore is aimed at publishing some city data so that others can use it, but nearly none of that offers any insights into operational or financial performance — or anything that would allow citizens to hold government accountable.

        And CitiStat reports are, to the best of my knowledge, not made public.

        • Phyllis

          You’re right. Sorry for the mix up!

    • ushanellore

      Perfect. Stats are only as good and as accurate as the integrity of those ordering the stats and only as good as the dedication, commitment, tenacity and ability of those gathering the stats. We do not have decent leaders. We have chronic manipulators and self promoters. Most of these folks are not even thinking of the citizens they are supposed to be serving as part of the equation of public service. This does not bode well for the citizens.

  • bosco222

    Just to give everyone an idea of the minutia of city data which has a great deal to do with Citistat, I am a frequent visitor to the OpenBaltimore database. I have found that much of the data is incomplete, missing addresses, neighborhoods, geolocation data. Some of the data is just plain wrong, not just inputted incorrectly. Here is where the frustration sets in, absolutely nobody will answer for the bad data. Heather Hudson does her best to manage the OpenBaltimore database, but the various city departments will rarely fix their own data, and if they do attempt to fix it they make it worse that it was before. There is a big wall between the public and those that input and manage departmental databases. No city department will provide the names of those that manage their databases. I assume the department heads like it that way. Citistat is probably exhibiting the same bad data that is provided to OpenBaltimore. Playing musical chairs with the Citistat director won’t fix the problem. The police, Public Works and other departments are merrily stonewalling all the databanks and are getting away with it. SRB shows no sign of caring, other than firing the Citistat guy.

    • Dave Troy

      These are fair complaints, and it will likely take some time to get various departments to groom their data properly, even if everybody was competent and motivated by the right reasons.

      It’s worth noting that “CitiStat” is a rather manual spreadsheets-and-binders oriented operation and has been since its inception. Yes, they use data systems and databases to collect some of the numbers, but it’s hardly a technological initiative. It’s a metrics initiative. So even when CitiStat is operating at its best, it’s churning out human readable PDF’s and Excel spreadsheets, not necessarily contributing a lot of value to OpenBaltimore.

      In fact, the output of CItiStat, which is supposed to be regular (weekly, biweekly) reports are not shared online, to the best of my knowledge. They should be.

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