San Bernardino County Interim CIO Larry Ainsworth

The farthest-flung county in the continental United States has a new IT leader.

Larry Ainsworth, assistant chief information officer at San Bernardino County, has been elevated to interim CIO. He replaces former CIO Jennifer Hilber at the technology helm of a county larger in land area than Massachusetts and New Hampshire combined. Among the takeaways:

• Ainsworth, whose first day as interim CIO was Aug. 14, replaces Hilber, who retired from the agency Aug. 13, he said via email. His tenure at the county dates to 1987, according to LinkedIn. The county, which is home to more than 2.1 million people in 20,105 square miles, will replace its CIO via a nationwide search, Ainsworth said, adding he has not decided whether he will apply. It’s unclear what Hilber’s next move will be; the county is unaware of her retirement plans, the interim CIO said.

• San Bernardino County ranked sixth in 2018 in the Center for Digital Government’s* annual Digital Counties survey. Among the initiatives that attracted notice, the agency had virtualized 90 percent of its environment, and its surveyor was using drones to do aerial mapping. Asked what IT projects he inherits or will carry on from Hilber, Ainsworth said officials “will continue our work focusing on key initiatives, which include GIS and data analytics helping the county make informed decisions.”

• In terms of where the county is in its drive to move off legacy systems and increase efficiency, the interim CIO said staffers are “directing our attention on modernization efforts surrounding key legacy business systems and infrastructures. This effort is imperative with an aging workforce whose skillsets will be difficult to replace.”

Asked what stage these efforts are in, Ainsworth indicated San Bernardino County has “multiple projects that have their own timelines and therefore each is in a different project management phase or stage.”

• The recent addition of a new security official should enable the county to take the next steps on a range of IT and technology projects, according to Ainsworth.

“With the addition of a new County Chief Information Security Officer, we are moving forward on a number of key security projects, initiatives, and policies,” he said. San Bernardino County CISO Robert K. Pittman Jr. joined the agency in September 2018, having previously held the same position at Los Angeles County.

*The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, parent company of Techwire.