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Top planning official to head StateStat

A top official at the Maryland Department of Planning has been named director of StateStat, the performance measurement and management program that Gov. Martin O’Malley brought statewide after initiating a similar program during his tenure as Baltimore’s mayor.

Matthew J. Power, deputy secretary for the Department of Planning, previously held a number of administrative jobs within the agency, at one point overseeing financial management.

Power, 42, said Tuesday that quantitative, fiscal and analytical skills developed at the planning department should help him run the data-driven accountability program.

“It’s a great position to oversee the key components in state government,” he said. “It’s one of the few positions in state government that has the breadth of looking at all components of state government, not just one agency.”

The new director — who will start the job at the end of May — broke in with the state in 1999 as a policy analyst for the Department of Legislative Services, where he was responsible for legislation concerning the state’s environmental agencies.

In a statement announcing Power’s appointment, O’Malley said the University of Maryland and Loyola University graduate would help StateStat effectively monitor the performance of state agencies.

“In Maryland, we believe that the things that get measured are the things that get done,” O’Malley said. “We are committed to an open and accountable state government that works for the people of our state.”

Power said he was most looking forward to increasing public awareness of StateStat, a program adapted in 2007 from O’Malley’s CitiStat program. The program uses data from the state Department of Economic Development, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Maryland State Police, Maryland Department of Transportation and other agencies to track performance and find solutions to problems.

“It certainly gets attention, but it doesn’t get quite the attention it deserves,” Power said. “Quality government isn’t as exciting and sexy and news-making as it should be.”

Power’s appointment fills a vacancy created when original StateStat Director Beth Blauer left last October to work for Seattle-based Socrata. Blauer now oversees GovStat, a cloud-based program that allows government agencies to share information and analyze data.