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Bloomberg Philanthropies: Scottsdale is certified ‘Gold’ by What Works Cities

Photo of mayor of Scottsdale who is being recognized by Bloomberg Philanthropies for digital innovations and service at City Hall
Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega at a community event held earlier this year at The Fieldhouse of Scottsdale Stadium. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)
Bloomberg Philanthropies supports municipal excellence of the 21st century

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Scottsdale has received the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Certification at the Gold Level for exceptional use of data to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate program effectiveness, and engage residents.

What Works Cities Certification sets the standard of excellence for data-informed, well-managed local government, officials at City Hall say.

“Our community deserves the best from its city government, and this higher level of certification from the What Works Cities program confirms that we are delivering that in Scottsdale,” said Mayor David D. Ortega. “This award recognizes our commitment to maximize valuable data to benefit everyone.”

Scottsdale, city officials report, leveled up from being named on the Honor Roll in 2018, to Silver certification in 2019 and recertification in 2020 and is among an elite group of 62 cities worldwide to have achieved certification.

Among recent accomplishments, the What Works Cities team spotlighted Scottsdale’s data-driven approach to tackling tough issues with short-term/vacation rental properties.

The Scottsdale Short-term Rental Resource Center allows residents to view the license status and understand the impact of short-term rentals in their neighborhoods. The map tool draws on the city’s Data Service Standard — Scottsdale is one of the first cities in the United States to publish one — that guides the city in developing reliable and informative data services and products for its residents and businesses.

Other notable examples include the role of analysis and data in managing Scottsdale’s water resources and managing water policies such as the recently re-launched residential water rebate program, in evaluating and implementing compensation programs to ensure the city remains a competitive employer in critical public safety positions and other areas, and in expanding ways to engage residents through technology such as the new Speak Up Scottsdale platform.

A view of Scottsdale City Hall. (Photo: Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress.com)
Bloomberg Philanthropies supports municipal excellence of the 21st century

The What Works Cities Certification program, launched in 2017 by Bloomberg Philanthropies and led by Results for America, is the first-of-its-kind standard of excellence for data-informed, well-managed local government.

What Works Cities Certification recognizes and celebrates local governments for effective use of data to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate the effectiveness of programs and engage residents.

Since its inception in 2017, 62 cities have achieved What Works Cities Certification. In today’s announcement, Scottsdale joins seven newly certified cities, six other certified cities that have achieved a higher certification level and seven cities being re-certified.

A city that achieves 51–67% of the 43 criteria is recognized at the Silver level of Certification, and 68–84 percent is required to achieve Gold, according to a press release.

“Under the new criteria, these cities have shown that they’re not just leading with data—they’re using data to make lives better by prioritizing equity and resident wellbeing,” said Rochelle Haynes, managing director of What Works Cities Certification. “Leaders from the seven cities join hundreds of data champions in our certification community, where they will continue to grow their data practices, share innovative ideas, and inspire communities at all points on their data journey.”

The What Works Cities Certification program, launched in 2017 by Bloomberg Philanthropies and led by Results for America, is open to any city in North, Central or South America with a population of 30,000 or more.

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