Stepping up the coordination of its government IT efforts, New York now has its first state CIO. Gov. George Pataki has appointed James Dillon, who had served as deputy executive director of the state's Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research.
Reporting to the governor's chief policy adviser, John Cahill, Dillon will supervise New York's Office for Technology and coordinate technology policies of all state agencies and authorities. "There's a greater emphasis on collaboration," says Dillon of his new position, in which he will also coordinate state IT matters with federal and local governments.
One key security project will be the consolidation of data centers. The state had already made great strides toward consolidation last year, he says. "They used to reside out in every large state agency with no security at all," he says. But the terrorist attack put more emphasis on security. Cyberterrorism could threaten some very important data, including tax, welfare, and unemployment-insurance information. "We're working closely with the Office of Public Security to make sure our data is secure."
His greatest challenge? "History." He's referring to the fact that myriad IT systems have been developed independently at agencies. "We're working with the large human-services agencies for example to do a unified human-services network, so citizens of state who are getting services for multiple agencies don't have multiple files."
Dillon served as executive deputy commissioner and acting commissioner of the New York Department of Labor from January 1995 to April 2001. During that time, he spearheaded the unemployment-insurance system's transformation from in-person reporting to Internet-reporting of claims. He also chaired the business-application subcommittee for the task force that led to the creation of New York's Office for Technology in 1995. He has also served as chairman of the IT and telecom committee for the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.
New York isn't the only state with a newly created CIO post. Last October, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appointed Randall Bradford as the state's first CIO. In addition, in September Wisconsin appointed a 19-year veteran of Xerox, Rebecca Heidepriem, as the state's first cabinet-level CIO and head of the state's recently formed Department of E-Government.