Code for America’s Pahlka Steps Down This Week
She will remain on in an advisory capacity as two senior leaders from within take over as co-interim CEOs. The organization’s search for a permanent CEO will continue with a goal of finishing by the end of the year.
Those leaders will be interim co-chief executive officers, and they are Chief Financial and People Officer Zeryn Sarpangal and Chief Technology Officer Lou Moore. Pahlka will transition to an advisory role with Code for America (CfA), continuing to serve on the group’s board and acting as a consultant. In a blog post making the announcement, Pahlka cited as her reason the currently strong status of the organization as well as a shift in her own priorities driven by family.
“I’m not going away,” Pahlka wrote in the post, “just focusing on a smaller set of priorities where we believe I add the most value (including our search for a CEO, which continues as planned), and leaving the day-to-day leadership in Lou and Zeryn’s capable hands.”
This is mostly in accordance with a plan announced in May. At that time, Pahlka said she would continue running the group in a daily capacity until a new CEO was selected. The change announced now is that Pahlka is transitioning to her new role before a new permanent CEO has been selected. In a phone conversation with Government Technology, Sarpangal and Moore said the goal is to find the long-term CEO by the end of year, taking the necessary time to find a person suited for such a specific and nuanced position.
As for what will change within the group, Sarpangal and Moore said there won’t be much, if anything at all. In brief, work will continue on the host of ongoing CfA projects that have gained momentum in recent years, the majority of which are focused on helping to create a more human-centered safety net for the country. The headliner for this work is probably GetCalFresh, which helped 1 million eligible Californians access food benefits last year. Another program, Clear My Record, is spreading rapidly across the country, helping district attorneys’ offices automatically process convictions clearances made possible under new laws related to marijuana.
In addition, the group is undertaking some newer projects, specifically one aimed at helping residents claim their earned income tax credits. The first pilot for that program will take place this year during the 2020 tax season.
CfA’s brigade network of civic tech groups nationwide will continue without change.
This report first appeared in Government Technology, Techwire's sister publication.