For my money, Baltimore’s most innovative agency head is its parking director, Pete Little. When I met him at parking authority headquarters for our interview, I found out that he had turned his spacious office into a break area for staff and taken a small desk in the corner of a back room, alongside employees far below him on the org chart.
Ever fastidious (he organizes his sock drawer by type of sock), Pete says of the move, “The larger your office, the more crap you collect. Having a smaller space has forced me to simplify.” One thing he will never get rid of is a picture he keeps at his desk of a young boy using crates to make his away across a big puddle. It reminds him that “if you are creative and persistent, there is always a way to get to where you want to be.”
I’m sure it also reminds him of all he has done to turn a corrupt, incompetent parking operation into a customer friendly cash cow for the city. His story, including his use of the Innovation Fund, might change the minds of those who don’t think government can operate efficiently and with integrity.