The chief information officer of Philadelphia joins Civitium: She'll lead the international practice for the firm, a growing segment of their market. Dianah Neff's rumored departure from Phila. was covered two weeks ago. The Philadelphia Inquirer focused on the negatives, including an ethics investigation and a failed billing system that cost millions.
Neff was an early and consistent advocate for the utility of a city-wide wireless networks, and the company she joins develops plans to cities to carry out the authorization, encouragement, or operation of these networks. Philadelphia was an early Civitium client; that contract ended in 2005. Civitium's work with the non-profit that will handle the money and digital divide programs, Wireless Philadelphia, ended in early 2006.
It's unfortunate that Neff's five-year tenure at Phila. ends before that city's network has been even partially activated. The delays in getting started had much to do with the complexity of the relationships involved among the city, EarthLink, Wireless Philadelphia, and local utilities. Several contracts were required among these parties.
Whatever happens in Phila. will surely dog Neff's heels for good or ill. Whether the plan is executed to her instructions or not following her departure, and whether the network works as pictured or not, her legacy at the city will be tied to it.
Update: Philadelphia radio station KYW reports that the mayor's ethics board will investigate Neff joining Civitium.