Gavin Keirans and I met today with Catie Wolfgang, Philadelphia’s Chief Service Officer. We were there to talk about service partnerships for the growing Philadelphia Catholic League Alumni Corps and we’ve set the foundation for a promising relationship with the City of Philadelphia.

Catie’s role as Chief Service Officer is a great case study in an innovative field in the civic space. She works through Mayor Nutter’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service. Her role is a first for the city and grew out of Cities of Service, a national campaign created a few years ago by Michael Bloomberg to integrate strategic planning for citizen service campaigns.

When Mayor Bloomberg created the Chief Service Officer position in New York City in 2009 it was the first instance of a city government instituting the position, and through Cities of Service Philadelphia is one of 22 other cities to have adopted the position.

Michael Bloomberg has done a lot to place New York City in a position of leadership, and this initiative has so far been a great example of a robust approach to city government innovation. Cities of Service demonstrates the difference between isolated and coordinated leadership. It has been a powerful signaling mechanism for what citizens should expect from their cities.

I wish something like this existed within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. If it did, there wouldn’t be a need for the Philadelphia Catholic League Alumni Corps.