CIO/CTO Recruitment Opens as Key State Department Realigns

“There are many functions that bled over into the data center that we will … identify and move back under the CIO, where they belong."

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The California Department of Technology (CDT) is recruiting for a Chief Information Officer/Chief Technology Officer, part of a larger reorganization intended to separate the department’s internal functions from its external ones.

“CDT has always had an internal CIO — that is not new,” said CDT’s Chief of Administration, Miles Burnett, in an interview Wednesday with Techwire. “That position was part of what we called the Office of Enterprise Technology, OET, which used to be ODI [Office of Digital Innovation].”

Under the reorganization, the new CIO/CTO will report to Burnett; previously, the position reported to Scott Gregory, the state’s Chief Technology Innovation Officer and head of OET.

The change has been under consideration for a long time under state CIO Amy Tong, Burnett said, and more changes may come. It was prompted in part by the blurring of responsibilities over time and in part by the fact that CDT has been pressed into service regularly to help other departments in state government rectify problems with technology. Those assignments, working with other departments as needed, are among the external duties Burnett cited.

“We’re an external service organization, and that’s what we do — but we have internal needs,” he said. “Over the years, those haven’t been very well separated, and that’s created problems, especially internally. This is really to separate it.”

“There are many functions that bled over into the data center that we will … identify and move back under the CIO, where they belong,” Burnett said. “It clearly is possible to delineate the lines between external service delivery, which is what the data center does, and internal service delivery, which is what the CIO does.”  

Burnett noted that governmental fiscal structures can muddle lines — and budgets.

“I’ve been with the state for 20 years and I’ve been in similar positions in other organizations,” he said, “and IT is typically either under administration or it’s a stand-alone (budget item). What makes CDT a little unique is it’s an IT service delivery organization — we’re cost-recovery. The thing that we call the budget, we actually have to raise. So it’s easy for internal functions to get swept up into that, because they don’t generate revenue. Or we get the inevitable call ... to go do X, Y and Z — but you’re not going to cost-recover for that. So this [reorganization] gives a clearer line of demarcation to where I can meet the needs of the internal organization.”

Among the responsibilities of the CIO/CTO are directing “day-to-day business operations of CDT,” including directing technical staff and exercising “operational oversight of IT procurement and budgets,” according to the job posting. The position is a Career Executive Assignment, with a monthly salary range of $10,360 to $12,341. The application deadline is Dec. 18. The reorganization will take effect Jan. 2 — and this isn’t the end.

“Over time, will there be more org changes? Yeah, there will be,” Burnett said, “because we’re going to identify those parts of the IT infrastructure that have migrated over time to the data center, that really belong under the CIO. … By and large, they’re trying to vertically integrate some of their existing functions.”

The timing of the reorganization doesn’t make the recruitment any easier, he said.

“The holidays are always a tough time to recruit. It isn’t necessarily when everybody’s looking for a job. But I’m definitely excited about it. I think it’s the right move.”

Tonya Digiorno has held the CIO/CTO position since October 2017. She joined state government in 1996 and has served in various IT roles in the Department of Justice and the Department of Health Care Services before joining CDT in September 2014.

Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire. He is a career journalist, having worked as a reporter and editor at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies in California, Nevada, Texas and Virginia, including as an editor with USA Today in Washington, D.C. He lives in the Northern California foothills.