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Michael Mattmiller.
Michael Mattmiller.

The City of Seattle today named Michael Mattmiller its new Chief Technology Officer, bringing on a former developer to help head up the city’s Department of Information and Technology.

Mattmiller replaces interim CTO Sabra Schneider, who temporarily took the reigns in April after Erin Devoto stepped down from the position in March. Schneider will return to her previous role as Director of Electronic Communications.

Mattmiller most recently was a Senior Strategist for Enterprise Cloud Privacy at Microsoft, and before that he spent more than a decade in the Washington D.C.-area doing risk assurance and data management consulting work for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The George Washington University grad was originally a developer out of school, but shifted his career toward IT consulting. He told GeekWire that he’s focused on improving Seattle’s digital literacy, making sure the city has an effective IT infrastructure, and building out his department’s open data platform.

“I want to make sure Seattle can be an innovative city when it comes to technology and government,” he said.

Mattmiller noted that he’s still “getting up to speed,” on much of the city’s tech framework. His job won’t be easy: The CTO role requires management oversight of nearly 200 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $41.8 million.

A manhole cover in Seattle’s University District marks one of the access points for the Seattle's existing fiber-optic network, which was to be leveraged by Gigabit Squared to provide high-speed Internet to homes and businesses in the city. That partnership fell apart in December.
A manhole cover in Seattle’s University District marks one of the access points for the Seattle’s existing fiber-optic network, which was to be leveraged by Gigabit Squared to provide high-speed Internet to homes and businesses in the city. That partnership fell apart in December.

On top of helping the city implement Microsoft Office 365 and managing the City’s new data centers, Mattmiller will also take on a leadership role in determining how to use the city’s unused dark fiber. Last fall, the city saw its high-speed Internet network partnership with a private company called Gigabit Squared crumble after Gigabit had problems securing financing to install the network.

Devoto, who was CTO for two years, was in charge of the city’s technology arm during the failed Gigabit partnership. In an interview with GeekWire back in March, she stressed the difficulty of getting fiber Internet to every single home in Seattle, whether through a private partnership or by a municipal utility strategy.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about revenue and money,” she said.

Mattmiller said he’s open to considering any and all options for now, whether it’s hiring another private company like Gigabit Squared or raising tax dollars for publicly-funded fiber Internet — an option that former Mayor Mike McGinn recommended.

“We need to make sure people in Seattle have access to affordable broadband,” he said. “That’s what we need for economic development and for education.”

Mattmiller added that he’ll be keeping a close eye on how satisfied residents have been with their current broadband options. Seattle has a franchise agreement with Comcast, the largest cable TV and high-speed Internet provider in town, that expires January 20, 2016.

Mattmiller earned a Masters in Information Technology from George Washington University. He’ll officially start in his new role on June 23 and will earn $140,000 per year.

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