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PR- 337-12
September 25, 2012


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chief Policy Advisor John Feinblatt today announced the White House recognized Michael P. Flowers, Director of Analytics at the City’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, as one of 13 Local Innovation Champions of Change for his comprehensive work and use of data-driven analytics to identify the best ways City government can address multi-faceted problems, including high-risk illegal housing conversions, prescription drug abuse and instances of mortgage fraud. The Office of Policy and Strategic Planning has been at the cornerstone of some of the City’s data-centered innovations, conducting wide-ranging data mining and analysis to improve City services, enhance transparency and more effectively solve complex municipal issues. Flowers was honored this afternoon at a White House ceremony for his pioneering approach to analytics programs and for his efforts to share the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning’s successful practices with cities across the nation.

“Since day one, we’ve empowered everyone in our Administration to try new and bold approaches to tackling old problems and base solutions on hard data, not ideology or partisan philosophy,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Michael Flowers and his team have exemplified our approach and taken it to new levels of success. From creating powerful assessment models for identifying high-risk illegal housing conversions, to using the latest data and technology to combat property fraud and prescription drug abuse, the Policy and Strategic Planning Analytics Team has been at the forefront of our innovative problem-solving strategies. I want to congratulate Michael and his entire team.”

“Michael Flowers and the Policy and Strategic Planning Analytics team epitomize how local governments can solve diverse urban problems with cutting-edge data analysis from across city agencies,” said Chief Policy Advisor Feinblatt. “Analytics truly open the window to developing new strategies that increase the efficiency of city government, while also ensuring the return on taxpayer dollars is maximized. I would like to congratulate Michael on this wonderful accomplishment.”

I am honored and grateful to be recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House,” said Director of Analytics Flowers. “This award is a testament to Mayor Bloomberg and the Administration’s commitment to finding new and innovative ways to better deliver services to New Yorkers – and it’s also a reflection on the tremendous work undertaken by City agencies on a daily basis. I want to thank my colleagues at the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning and all our partners throughout city government – together, we’ll continue to implement data-based analytics wherever possible to increase the productivity and effectiveness of City services.”

The City’s Policy and Strategic Planning Analytics Team analyzes data from across City agencies to help quickly and efficiently allocate government resources to address crime, safety and other municipal challenges. By merging information across City agencies and specializing in data-driven solutions, the Analytics Team is able to detect areas of operational challenges, tailor solutions to individual problems and maximize the use of City resources.

To identify properties with a higher-risk of fire death, for instance, the Policy and Strategic Planning Analytics Team combined FDNY data with information on illegal housing conversion complaints, foreclosures, tax liens and neighborhood demographics. The Analytics Team then created a risk assessment model that provides a list of the highest risk properties with illegal conversion complaints. These high-risk locations are jointly inspected within 48 hours by the Department of Buildings and FDNY, and the joint inspection team uncovered unsafe conditions for inhabitants 70 percent of the time using this predictive model – a five-fold increase in effectiveness over typical inspections.

The Analytics Team has used data-based targeting to isolate instances of prescription drug abuse, discover cases of mortgage fraud and identify businesses operating with expired licenses. To date, the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning has led prosecutors and enforcement agencies to over 1,000 potential fraud cases – worth more than a combined $200 million.

The White House Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Barack Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. The program recognizes key individuals who have transformed the way local governments work for their citizens – from making municipalities more transparent and ensuring public data is more accessible, to creating new tools that change the way the public, private and non-profit sectors collaborate to build a better, brighter future. 


Marc La Vorgna / Kamran Mumtaz   (212) 788-2958


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