How Charleston is making services more efficient and user-friendly

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Name: Tracy McKee

Title: Chief Innovation Officer

City: Charleston, S.C.

It’s been only a few months since Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg hired Tracy McKee as the city’s first chief innovation officer. But neither the city nor the responsibilities of the job are new to McKee. She served as Charleston’s director of geographic information systems for 18 years before becoming chief data officer in Baltimore, where she worked closely with the city’s CitiStat program, which uses data management to improve everything from water quality to murder rates. Now she’s putting that experience to work back home in Charleston, where her mandate is to make services across a number of city departments more efficient and user-friendly. First up is overhauling Charleston’s complex development permitting process. To ground that project in data, McKee has begun tracking the number of labor hours required to review construction plans. That will be critical information as the city rolls out nearly two dozen process improvements in the coming months. McKee and her team talk regularly with Charleston’s builders to get feedback on all of the changes, and plan to survey developers regularly to measure the impact of their work over time. “It’s really important that we consciously find a way to establish metrics and measurements,” she said. “That way, we know what impact we’re having as we continue to move the needle.”

“Clearly it’s important to use data to drive decision making, but you have to do it in a way that creates a culture of accountability and trust.”

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Celebrating public sector progress and innovation in cities around the world. Run by @BloombergDotOrg’s Government Innovation program. bloombergcities.org

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