BEST PUBLIC SERVANT Miami 2003 - Oliver Kerr
Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning
For some reason that baffles us, a lot of local public servants don't seem to understand that the public's information is as precious as its purse. But Oliver Kerr, supervisor of the Miami-Dade planning and zoning department's demographic unit, does understand and sets the gold standard for info-currency. He represents Miami-Dade in the Urban Institute's National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, which is committed to "democratizing information" in order to help build "vibrant and sustainable" communities. For example, he brought it all home when the U.S. Census data for Florida finally came down the Internet pipeline last fall. Although he was deluged, not only was this twenty-year county veteran available and cordial but he provided the figures efficiently and quickly -- even to pesky reporters. They gave him the boundaries of a specific neighborhood; he gave them the stats on income, unemployment, housing, and the like. Kerr knows the formula. Information fuels knowledge. Knowledge is power. Obstruct the info flow and you abuse the power.