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Tax and Fee Agency Names New CIO

An award-winning California IT executive is returning to state service — and to a familiar role, albeit with a new agency — after working for a few years in municipal government.

The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration has named a new Chief Information Officer, Nabil Fares, who comes from a similar position with the city of Stockton and is returning to state service.

Fares is an award-winning veteran IT executive, having held leadership positions within several state government departments including as director and CIO of the Department of Public Health and chief of Criminal Justice IT Enterprise Development for the state Department of Justice. He has also been active in training and mentoring participants in the California Department of Technology’s Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA), the Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC) and the League of California Cities.

“Being named the CIO of CDTFA is exciting, and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Fares told Techwire in an interview Tuesday morning. “It’s a department that generates $64 billion for the state of California in taxes and fees — about 35 percent of the general fund for the state. So the systems cannot flinch — they need to be up and running to serve the constituency.”

CDTFA Director Nicolas Maduros announced Fares’ appointment on Monday.

“Mr. Fares brings a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from his work in both state and local government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector,” said a news release from the department. “Mr. Fares brings 23 years of experience in a number of executive-level information technology positions with both the City of Stockton and the State of California. Prior to government service, Mr. Fares held similar positions in the private sector in the banking and financial industries.”

Fares’ LinkedIn profile notes that he was Stockton’s first CIO and Director of IT and summarizes what his role with the city has entailed during his three years as CIO: “I lead multi-operational issues and challenges including IT projects. To list a few, Strategic Planning, Workforce Planning, Capital Planning and Management, Information Security, Enterprise Architecture, Systems Acquisition, Development and Integration, E-Government Initiatives, Data Collection, Information Dissemination and Disclosure, Records Management, Privacy, and supporting enterprise strategic goals and delivering business solutions.” He said he was proud of having been part of city leadership as it tackled economic and public-safety challenges. 

Fares’ professional achievements include having twice won “Best of California” awards from eRepublic's Center for Digital Government. He was interviewed on video by Techwire last month as part of the California Public Sector CIO Academy. He is also active on Twitter.

Stockton Deputy City Manager Laurie Montes, to whom Fares reported, offered the following comments about Fares via an email to Techwire: “The City of Stockton has been fortunate to have Mr. Fares at the helm of our IT Department and as part of our Executive Leadership Team for the last three years. His experience, depth of knowledge, and leadership has transitioned our legacy systems into modern applications and he has launched our ERP process, preparing us for the future. While we will miss him, we know that he leaves us in a good place, which is the hallmark of a true professional and superb leader.”

Fares starts his new position April 1. He said he knows the job comes with a high profile.

“It’s a new department, so everybody’s watching, keeping an eye on it, to make sure it’s functioning properly,” he said. “My job is to protect taxpayers, to make sure the the state isn’t taking more than it’s supposed to take, but making sure it’s able to fill the need to fund public safety and government.”

Fares volunteers his time participating in speaking engagements, both nationally and internationally, on leadership and information technology domains and trends. He has his bachelor’s degree in English literature and educational psychology from Alexandria State University in Egypt.

Fares said he appreciates the trust that Maduro and CDTFA Chief Deputy Director Katie Hagen have placed in him with this appointment.

Meanwhile, several other key positions are open within CDTFA. The application deadline has passed for the Chief Financial Officer position, which is a new opening. The Chief Information Security Officer position also is vacant; it is being filled in the meantime by Agency Information Officer Andrew Armani, of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency. And Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to appoint a successor for Karin Caves, who had been CDTFA’s Communications Director until her death March 15. Until Brown names a successor, the role is being filled by Deborah Harper.

CDTFA, a newly created agency that took over many functions of the state Board of Equalization, posted its updated organizational chart Monday. It also has listed its open positions on the Cal HR website.

 

Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. 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 Northern California.