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New Orleans Chief Technology Officer Resigns

Jonathan Wisbey stepped down on June 5 from his role as chief technology officer for Mayor Cantrell’s administration. Wisbey is at least the seventh high-level official to leave Cantrell’s administration since the beginning of her second term.

(TNS) — Jonathan Wisbey, the chief technology officer who was involved in several of New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell administration's IT initiatives — including the use of surveillance technology and the aborted "smart cities" program — has resigned, the latest official to leave City Hall in Cantrell's second term.

Wisbey resigned June 5 for unstated reasons, according to Civil Service records. He did not respond to a voicemail and text message on Tuesday.

The Cantrell administration said Wisbey "contributed tireless effort toward the betterment of the City of New Orleans."

'Smart Cities' Program

Wisbey worked in municipal government for almost nine years, both in City Hall and with the Police Department. Most recently, he was a member of the selection committee for the smart cities program aimed at bringing government-controlled broadband and internet-connected infrastructure to New Orleans.

The selection committee ended up choosing a vendor with business ties to Jonathan Rhodes, the administration's utilities director, and Christopher Wolff, an IT staffer who also sat on the committee. The deal collapsed when the winning vendor, Smart+Connected NOLA, pulled out amid investigations by the City Council and inspector general's office into bid rigging allegations. Wisbey has not been implicated in any wrongdoing related to smart cities.

In 2017, Wisbey resigned from a two-year stint as a deputy Police Department chief of staff, after federal monitors found that background checkers whom Wisbey supervised routinely approved job candidates with red flags. He soon landed in Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration as an innovation manager. Cantrell promoted Wisbey to chief technology officer in 2018, a position that came with a $128,000 salary.

Tech Strategies

In that role, Wisbey oversaw City Hall's innovation team, the performance and accountability office and the equity office, according to an online biography. He was also charged with developing information technology strategies.

In 2020, Wisbey was accused of misleading the public about the government's use of facial recognition and other surveillance software when he spoke in front of the City Council. The Police Department later admitted it did use such technology.

Wisbey's departure this month makes him at least the seventh high-level Cantrell administration official to leave since the beginning of her second term. The others are deputy chief administrative officers Ramsey Green and Peter Bowen, city attorney Sunni LeBoeuf, Communications Director Beau Tidwell, Public Safety Director Terry Ebbert and Josh Cox, a senior adviser and director of strategic initiatives.

(c)2022 The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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