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Head Of Gilbert’s Office Of Digital Government Resigns

February 22, 2024

By Corinne Murdock |

The head of the town of Gilbert’s Office of Digital Government (ODG), Dana Berchman, resigned this week, several weeks ahead of a town council meeting to review the department’s scope and purpose.

The council’s pending review came after the publication of an AZ Free News report on ODG monitoring the online speech of employees and elected officials, and seeking action against those whose personal speech conflicted with their preferred, more progressive speech. 

Town residents at subsequent council meetings either condemned or defended ODG. Those in condemnation of ODG expressed displeasure with the department’s budget and scope, disagreeing with ODG members using town time and resources to monitor the personal online speech of employees. Those in defense of ODG felt that the department was essential for delivering public communications in a timely manner.

Berchman emailed her resignation letter to the council on Tuesday. While Berchman didn’t cite the pending council review of ODG, she did include a plea for the council to support ODG’s continued existence and functions in her absence. Berchman also said that under her leadership ODG had improved the quality of Gilbert residents’ lives and delivered all necessary information “expediently, efficiently, and economically” to them.

“The Gilbert Digital Team’s unwavering dedication and rare talents are just what this community has needed over the last decade,” said Berchman. “Please do not forget the importance of the work that this team does and the incomparable impact they have on our community engagement.” 

The former chief digital officer urged the council to not forget the significance and impact of ODG work. Berchman listed the remainder of the ODG team by name to thank them for their work: Jennifer Harrison, Derek Konofalski, Brenda Carrasco, Kelsey Perry, Lauren Oxford, Eva Kirschbaum, Oskar Agredano, Jordin Sanchez, Kailey Latham, Aymie Spitzer, and Debbie Dana. Berchman also thanked Town Manager Patrick Banger for creating and building up the department.

“Together we have pushed the boundaries of local government communications to new levels to set a high standard which other communities around the country, and even world, strive to replicate,” said Berchman.

ODG staff salaries amounted to over $1.15 million a year. Most ODG staff made over or close to six figures a year, per 2023 fiscal year salaries: Berchman made over $200,800, with the remainder of staff ranging from about $67,000 to $138,000. 

Berchman’s resignation will take effect on March 7, two days after the scheduled council meeting to address ODG. Berchman clarified to the Gilbert Independent that she plans to launch a consulting firm upon leaving ODG.

Councilman Jim Torgeson proposed the council review of ODG. In a Facebook post announcing the council review, Torgeson urged town residents to be measured and respectful in their approach to ODG. 

“I believe this to be an extremely important topic,” said Torgeson. “As a Town, we must remember that there are growing pains.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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