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December 22, 2008
Jones Lang LaSalle

America's Mayor


Techies, you are going to love HUD Assistant Secretary Roy Bernardi. He told his CIO to do whatever was needed to upgrade the $38 billion 8,000-person agency's backroom IT when he took his post. It's a good thing, given the increased work HUD's been doing the last few years with the housing crisis, California wildfires, Hurricane Katrina, and Gulf Coast flooding. To date, the agency has put more than $200 billion of liquidity back into the market, says Roy, who heads day-to-day operations at HUD.


Roy says HUD's FHASecure program lets homeowners refinance into safer and more affordable mortgages, and has saved more than 465,000 homeowners from foreclosure. Roy also says HUD is working on the $4 billion Neighborhood Stabilization Program that's awarded grants to 309 hard-hit states and communities: "We are doing everything we can to help them recover from the effects of foreclosure and declining property values." That includes veterans: HUD is working with the VA to provide 10,000 annual housing vouchers for service men and women.


Roy came to the Bush Administration after serving as Mayor of Syracuse. (He's affectionately called "Mayor Bernardi" around the HUD.) He first served as HUD's Assistant Secretary of Community Planning and Development before being appointed to his current position in '04. "I'm not sure what I'll be doing when my appointment ends, but I've always helped people and I want to keep doing that," says Roy, a former high school Spanish teacher before becoming Mayor. Maybe the father of two can help his beloved New York Yankees, who are busy signing every big name baseball free agent this winter. "It's crazy what they're doing," Roy says.


As far as we know, baby seals aren't using Web 2.0 technology, but those who care about them now can. We recently caught up with EPA CIO Molly O'Neill who tells us last week she hosted a government symposium on environmental information where the EPA showed off some of its latest innovations. One was a new site, Connect4Environment, that lets people discuss environmental issues. Two contests were held on the site, "Best Info Idea" where people suggested ideas for environmental programs, and a "CIO for the Day" contest. "Take my job, please!" Molly says. She adds that the agency is also piloting a program to put geospatial environmental data on the Web.


Molly is unsure what she'll do once her appointment ends, but she hopes to spend some time relaxing after concluding this fast paced job. She'll also be looking forward to selecting one of the new, high-tech smart phones like the touch screen Blackberry or the G1. True to her IT background, Molly gets fired up when new electronics come out. "I guess my biggest hobby is to have cool gadgets."

Givers Open NASDAQ

If you look at all the fingers in the air, the thumb far left belongs to Small Act Network founder Casey Golden, who helped open NASDAQ last Wednesday with the fellow authors of "Do Your Living While You Are Living," a book of short stories and essays about the power of giving. Casey, whom you may remember as one of our Top 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35, wrote a chapter for the book on technology with a heart (because techies aren't only all brains). His site is a homepage that uses Internet ads to generate revenue for user-selected charities.

Nixon Peabody
Cardinal Bank
Kipps DeSanto

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