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IT Veteran Batalla Named CIO for Oakland

“This is a really dream job for me,” Tony Batalla told Techwire on Friday. “Oakland is a tech center and cultural hub, and I’m excited to explore innovation opportunities — internally within the organization and externally in the community.”

Tony Batalla, a technologist with almost 20 years’ experience in the public and private sectors, has been named the new chief information officer and IT director for the city of Oakland.

Batalla was for eight years the chief technology officer and head of innovation and IT for the city of San Leandro — his first role in the public sector. He has also written occasional commentaries for Techwire.
Tony Batalla
Tony Batalla

In his new role, he will oversee a staff of 85 and a $37.5 million IT budget. He begins his new role on May 2.

“This is a really dream job for me,” Batalla told Techwire on Friday. “Oakland is a tech center and cultural hub, and I’m excited to explore innovation opportunities — internally within the organization and externally in the community.

“Oakland has also made tremendous progress addressing the digital divide, which was exacerbated by the pandemic,” he said, “and I’m both eager and honored to continue that work.”

In a news release, Oakland City Administrator Ed Reiskin said: “I am delighted to welcome Tony to the city of Oakland leadership team. Tony is an innovative IT executive who is passionate about public service. His equity-driven focus on digital inclusion and expertise in expanding community access to government through technology — along with a keen focus on core system and infrastructure robustness and reliability — will be pivotal to Oakland’s efforts to enhance service delivery through digital innovation.”

Reiskin noted that while in San Leandro, Batalla oversaw the creation of San Leandro’s Fiber Optics Master Plan and Smart City Strategy, an overarching vision for achieving digital transformation that was adopted by the City Council in 2018.

“He has led negotiations for licensing city-owned assets to broadband companies, creating new revenue for the city,” Reiskin added. “In addition, he spearheaded San Leandro’s Digital Inclusion strategy, including the launch of free public Wi-Fi, computing device giveaways, hot spot/laptop lending and grant-funded digital literacy training through the San Leandro Public Library. He also achieved tangible results towards increasing the diversity of his team.”

Before joining the public sector in February 2014, Batalla had worked as an IT consultant, systems administrator and systems engineer with companies in the Bay Area.

For the last four months, Batalla was the CIO/director of information services for Santa Cruz County.

“It’s always important to leave on good terms,” he said of his Santa Cruz County tenure, “and I’m thrilled that Tammie Weigl is taking over as the interim director to implement the action plan we developed together. I think you’re going to see a lot of exciting things coming from Santa Cruz County in the coming months and years.”

Batalla has a bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of San Francisco and a master’s in business administration from the Anderson School of Management from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is pursuing an executive doctoral degree with a research focus on public-sector innovation.

He serves as a board member for Family Resource Navigators, a nonprofit that serves Alameda County families with children who have disabilities.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. 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 Northern California.