New mysterious government office is now official

Mystery solved.

Earlier this year, Philly Clout reported on the “Case of the Mysterious Government Office” -- a new two-person department that was called the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and that seemingly had nothing to do with hammers and wrenches.

Today, Mayor Nutter made it official, signing an executive order to create MONUM -- pronounced “moe-numb” by city staffers -- which aims to be a hub of technological innovation for city government.

The office is based on one by the same name in Boston and will be staffed by Jeff Friedman, who was chief of staff for the city’s chief technology officer, and Story Bellows, who used to direct the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, in Washington.

Their salaries total $200,000, and Nutter said he is “not anticipating any additional expense” from the department.

Many of the department’s projects will be public-private partnerships that focus on engaging Philadelphia residents with their government. One project, City How, will be a wiki “that helps people share information about how to accomplish civic projects,” Friedman said.

They will also work closely with the grants department to bring money into the city from outside groups.

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