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State Employment, Housing Department Names CIO

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has chosen a longtime state technology leader as its new chief information officer, succeeding an interim CIO named several months ago.

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Steve Nash, chief information officer at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
A state agency that’s a major advocate for residents has named a new permanent technology leader — who hails from the same department as his interim predecessor.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has named 24-year state employee Steve Nash as its new chief information officer. Nash’s first day was Dec. 2. He joins the department from the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), where he was its chief enterprise architect for nearly six years. Before that, Nash was FTB’s technology operations manager for more than a year, rejoining it after a 12-year career that was punctuated by nearly five years he spent as information technology infrastructure operations manager for the California Department of Child Support Services.

“It was a difficult decision to leave FTB after so many years, but the opportunity to lead the technology team at a department like DFEH was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” Nash told Techwire via email. “I have always had a passion for civil rights, so I am extremely excited to be here at a leading civil rights agency like DFEH.” Among the takeaways:

  • Easily the new CIO’s No. 1 priority, he said, is a nascent technology project at DFEH — working with OnCore Consulting LLC to develop a new portal that will let employers in the state comply with state Senate Bill 973 — signed Sept. 30 by Gov. Gavin Newsom. SB 973 requires private-sector employers with 100 or more staff file an annual Employer Information Report under federal law and submit a pay data report to DFEH with “specified wage information.” The bill mandates employers provide this data to DFEH by March 31. Nash, who has devoted most of his long tech career to large state projects like the California Child Support Automation System (CCSAS) and FTB’s Enterprise Data to Revenue Projects (EDR and EDR2), described it as “only fitting” that he joins DFEH as it is on the cusp of a major tech initiative.
  • Another top priority, Nash said, will be ensuring that “effective technology, policies and procedures are in place” to enable the state to keep residents’ data secure. A key difference between FTB and DFEH, the CIO said, is the latter’s “almost exclusive use of cloud services,” which lets it be “very agile” in adopting the latest security technologies to protect data assets.
  • Like all other state agencies, the CIO said, DFEH has been “impacted significantly” by COVID-19 and has pivoted to support remote work for the vast majority of staff while seeking “new and innovative ways to provide services to our customers.” He added: “I look forward to partnering with my business colleagues and the state vendor community to ensure that we are providing the best digital services to our employees and to the people of California.”
  • Nash replaces veteran FTB CIO Cathy Cleek at DFEH. Cleek, who was FTB CIO from November 2005 to December 2017, rejoined the state last summer as DFEH’s interim CIO, replacing its departing CIO PJ Bajwa. Now, however, she’s not leaving DFEH, Cleek told Techwire — but will stay on as project manager as the department develops the new portal to let employers comply with SB 973. Cleek said via email that she is also “maintaining DFEH's online Sexual Harassment Prevention Training,” which was completed by nearly 40,000 students last month. The department released it during her tenure as interim CIO.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.