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Tech Innovator MacLeod Is San Rafael’s New Digital Services Chief

Jessica MacLeod most recently served as co-founder and head of the Governments Team at U.S. Digital Response, a nonpartisan nonprofit that provides rapid response to governments through free technical assistance.

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The city of San Rafael has named tech innovator Jessica MacLeod as the new director of Digital Service and Open Government. She starts her new role April 1.

MacLeod previously consulted for the city as well as for Marin County and other governments on digital transformation and performance improvement programs. She most recently served as co-founder and head of the Governments Team at U.S. Digital Response, a nonpartisan nonprofit that provides rapid response to governments through free technical assistance. 

“We care about outcomes, so it is not enough to just provide a city service,” San Rafael City Manager Jim Schutz said in a news release. “We need to design the delivery of services so they work from the community’s perspective and make sure government works for all. Jessica is just the person to help us do that.”

MacLeod was chosen after a nationwide search. She succeeds Rebecca Woodbury, an award-winning executive who had been with the city for 12 years in various roles including the last two as director of Digital Service and Open Government.

MacLeod said she’s looking forward to her new role.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my community of San Rafael,” she said in the city news release. “The city, like all governments, are at an inflection point on their journey to digital. COVID-19 has only accelerated that journey and revealed the urgent need for digital services and an open government that works for everyone. Today, we can only deliver on our government’s mission if we can make the technology work, and I’m optimistic that together we can make it easier for city staff to get things done and deliver equitable, effective services for our community.”

MacLeod has a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also has a credential from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government in “Digital Government Transformation; Innovating Public Policy and Service.” She’s also served as a co-host of a podcast, The Government We Need.

“Over the past decade, she led the Customer Success teams at the Data & Insights Division of Tyler Technologies and at the government open-data software company, Socrata,” the city news release noted. “Prior to that, she served as a policy analyst at the Center for Global Development and program associate in the African Studies Department of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.”

MacLeod’s starting salary will be $13,632 per month.

Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.