LL has more news on the surprise resignation of Muriel Bowser administration Chief Technology Officer Tegene Baharu last week.
Baharu, who Bowser appointed to the position in March, resigned ahead of his D.C. Council confirmation hearing originally scheduled for this week. In an email to OCTO staff announcing his exit, Baharu wrote about “political challenges” in the job, noting that the CTO position “is far removed from the drivers that motivate me as an individual.”
“I underestimated the administrative and political challenges that come with this role,” Baharu wrote.
Baharu hasn’t responded to LL’s requests for comment, but Bowser spokesman Mike Czin responded to questions by thanking Baharu for his work for the government.
A Bowser administration official speaking on background speculated to LL that the resignation arose from the differences between being deputy CTO (Baharu’s previous position) and holding the agency’s top spot.
Read Baharu’s resignation email:
I hope that this note finds all of you in good health and thriving. I am proud of what we have accomplished in just 9-months time. We have challenged the way we work, we have transparently looked at our weaknesses and devised a way forward to build “One OCTO”. We have had a lot of great wins from Smart Cities via the White House to launching applications that are disrupting the old ways we worked and are creating new efficient and automated ways of working. I am convinced that each and every one of you plays a significant role in ensuring that we continue to silently power the District and its 120+ agencies and 38,000+ employees. We have to continue to challenge ourselves and hold each-other accountable to achieve that excellence. We have to revolutionize technology for the city, and rebuild the lost confidence in OCTO. Our ability to deliver the best technology has to be top of mind for each of you when you walk through the door each morning.
It has been my distinct pleasure working along side each of you and I appreciate the trust and support that you placed in me as your Chief Technology Officer. After significant consideration, and a heavy heart, I have made the decision to step down from my designation as CTO. Although I enjoy the management, engineering and technical challenges that come with the job, the CTO role is far removed from the drivers that motivate me as an individual. I underestimated the administrative and political challenges that come with this role. As such, I have made my decision to seek the next challenge in my career.
I truly hope that each of you supports me in this decision. I will continue to serve the Mayor and the City as Acting Director until we finalize a departure date. It is critical, that we not get distracted, and we stay strong in our resolve to ensure the good work we have started continues. Remember that our four pillars (customer service, efficiency, accountability & security) serve as our guide and my legacy along with ensuring we are nimble, agile, having logical debates and working as a collective team to deliver the ubiquitous technology the District depends on.
Thank you for your ongoing support, now get back to work.