San Joaquin County Opens Recruitment for CIO/IT Director

The Delta county is seeking a “talented, innovative and transformative CIO to work with a very talented and engaged IT team,” outgoing Chief Information Officer Chris Cruz told Techwire. The CIO also serves as the director of the Information Services Division as part of the County Administrator’s Office and oversees the Registrar of Voters Office.

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San Joaquin County has begun recruiting for a new chief information officer to succeed Chris Cruz, who’s leaving the role after two years to enter the private sector.

The Delta county, with a population of more than 700,000, is seeking a “talented, innovative and transformative CIO to work with a very talented and engaged IT team,” Cruz told Techwire. The CIO also serves as the director of the Information Services Division as part of the County Administrator’s Office and will oversee the Registrar of Voters Office.

“There is an enterprise governance structure in place that allows for the CIO to set the strategic vision for the county working with the Board of Supervisors, the county administrative officer and 31 department executives across the county including the sheriff, district attorney and San Joaquin General Hospital,” Cruz said.

Before going to San Joaquin in 2019, the award-winning CIO spent the majority of his career working for state government, most recently as the deputy state CIO and chief deputy director of the California Department of Technology (CDT). Throughout his state career and while in San Joaquin, Cruz has been a frequent speaker at tech conferences and events. When he left CDT, he said it was because the San Joaquin County job was too good to pass up.

Since joining the county in April 2019, he’s continued some digital initiatives that his award-winning predecessor, Jerry Becker, kicked off, and has started others. Cruz left the state to join the county after Becker left the county to rejoin the state, specifically the California Department of Transportation, where he was a senior strategic adviser until his retirement two weeks ago.

Cruz — who has not yet disclosed his next role once he leaves the county at the end of the month — said he remains bullish on the government leadership opportunities in San Joaquin County.

“The county has embraced industry best practices and deployed lessons learned, has a defined Digital Services strategy and is a leader in the areas of information security … virtual technology, innovation, modernization, project management (and) employee apprenticeship programs,” Cruz told Techwire. And the county, he added, “is on the cutting edge in utilizing the floating Data Center Barge as a one-of-a-kind new way of managing data center services on an environmentally friendly platform.”

The barge itself has drawn headlines for its revolutionary technology, using water from the Delta to cool the servers in the floating data center. The barge is owned by Nautilus Data Technologies of Pleasanton, and the anchor tenant is San Joaquin County, which leases space for its data backup and disaster recovery. It went live earlier this year.

The county’s CIO recruitment sets a high bar.

“The ideal Information Systems director candidate should demonstrate excellent leadership and management skills and possess expert knowledge of all the latest information systems technology trends,” the recruitment notice says. “Especially key is experience in and understanding of the complex and intricate nature of government technology and infrastructure needs. An ideal candidate will also possess experience developing and managing a large departmental budget. A master’s degree and seven years of administrative or management experience in an information technology environment is desirable.” 

The CIO position has an annual salary range of $160,562 to $195,164, and the application deadline is May 14.

Under Cruz, the county recently updated its 2020-2023 Digital Services and Innovation Strategy, which provides a department-by-department breakdown and look-ahead for technology.

Cruz noted that San Joaquin County “is also routinely a Top 10 Digital County in the annual Digital Counties Survey conducted by e.Republic.*”   

“If anyone is interested in reaching out to me about the job,” Cruz said, “I would be happy to speak with them.”

*e.Republic is the parent of Techwire, Government Technology, Governing, and the Center for Digital Government.

Dennis Noone is Managing Editor of Techwire.