Utah CIO Val Oveson was at Federal Computer Week's Government CIO Summit in Amelia Island, Fla last week and got himself quoted. In a discussion about the relationship between CIOs and CFOs, Val said:
Val Oveson, Utah's CIO, took the debate one step further, saying a department's chief executive officer should be the CIO. The CEO has the best grasp on an organization's business and vision, he said.
I think Val's on to something. Blending the CEO and CIO roles makes more sense than blending the CIO and CFO roles in my opinion. That certainly would be a big change here in Utah where most department executive directors are uninvolved and uninterested in IT.
I'd been given to believe that Val Oveson was the CIO and Dave Fletcher was the acting director of ITS, but some strange goings-on that I've been witness to in the Legislative Staff's office have dissuaded me of that notion. In fact, Richard North, legislative staffer, has been having secret meetings with certain IT Directors from various agencies without the CIO present as well as holding some meetings with ITS managers without ITS leadership present.
Now, you might chalk this up to legislative oversight, but I've got my doubts. For one thing, I doubt any member of the legislature asked North to do this. All indications are that he's doing it on his own. North's been trying to run IT in Utah for years. I was around when North tried to appoint himself "Executive Director" of the IT Commission, back when we had an IT Commission. Senator Dave Steel, then the head of the IT Commission had to gently tell him that he wasn't the Executive Director, he was just a staffer.
Poor Richard, always looking for more authority to mold IT in his visage. Thankfully for the citizens of Utah, he doesn't always get his way--the result would be a mishmash of ill-conceived ideas like the data center in Richfield that he masterminded. A waste of taxpayer dollars if ever there was one. I know my agency will avoid using it if we can and most other IT directors feel the same way. Utah could have bought sufficient data center services on the interest payments we make on that gold-plated albatros in the middle of no where. No glory in that, however.
You may be wondering why Val Oveson doesn't stand up to him and tell him that he's the CIO. Val's too smart for that. He's a political survivor and he saw what happened to his predecessor, Phil Windley. Windley wouldn't let North have his way with IT in Utah and he paid for it. Anyone who'd been in state government for more than a few years during that "scandal" recognized North's guiding hand in the whole thing. North's a wicked adversary and you oppose him at your peril. So, Val, cagey politician that he is, works quietly in the background. Anthony and Fletcher, if they know what's good for them will do the same.
Know anymore Richard North stories? I'd love to hear them. Email me at the link on the right.
Even though I don't always (usually?) agree with the positions that the ACLU takes, I usually rtespect them for what they do. I realize that back-pressure is a useful thing in politics to keep the majority from running roughshod over the minority. Outcomes like the one handed down yesterday by the US District court make it seem like they're just going after the Mormon church because of spite. This lawsuit wasn't even close. The courts basically shut them down, refusing to buy any significant argument that they made.