US Digital Service Gets New Leader

Flickr user Reuben Yau

Former Google guy Matt Cutts will serve as acting administrator.

Mikey Dickerson, the first administrator for the U.S. Digital Service, will leave his post Friday, along with a slew of other political appointees as President-elect Trump is inaugurated.

The leadership for USDS—President Barack Obama’s original tech team, with its 200 recruits—will now fall to director of engineering, Matt Cutts, who will step up to acting administrator on Inauguration Day.

Cutts broke the news on his blog Wednesday, and also elaborated on his decision to resign from Google—his last day at the tech giant was Dec. 31—and instead take the reins at USDS. The impact of public service, Cutts said, tops a fatter paycheck in Silicon Valley.

“The work that USDS does is critical to the American people, and I’m honored to continue that tradition,” he wrote. “Working for the government doesn’t pay as well as a big company in Silicon Valley. We don’t get any free lunches. Many days are incredibly frustrating. All I can tell you is that the work is deeply important and inspiring, and you have a chance to work on things that genuinely make people's lives better. A friend who started working in this space several years ago told me, ‘these last five years have been the hardest and worst and best and most rewarding I think I will ever have.’”

USDS was stood up in the wake of the massive tech problems in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and helped fixed As detailed in its report to Congress in December, USDS worked on numerous projects over the next 30 months, including improving the speed with which veterans receive health care and helping better secure taxpayer data. Dickerson was its champion, too, defending the organization against congressional criticism over the summer.

In his blog, Cutts encouraged those with experience in the tech industry to apply for positions at USDS.