Guilt By Association - InformationWeek

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7/13/2004
06:58 PM
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Guilt By Association

Connecticut CIO Rock Regan is guilty of association. His crime: being a decades-long friend of a disgraced governor who quit July 1. His punishment: banishment from state government. Regan's been fired, but he isn't shedding any tears over his ouster. You shouldn't either.

Connecticut CIO Rock Regan is guilty of association. His crime: being a decades-long friend of a disgraced governor who quit July 1. His punishment: banishment from state government. Regan's been fired, but he isn't shedding any tears over his ouster. You shouldn't either.Growing up in Connecticut, Rock Regan's best friend was the younger brother of John Rowland. After Rowland became governor, he picked Regan?an aeronautical engineer?to be state CIO. Rowland faced impeachment for accepting favors from government and business officials; no one ever hinted Regan was involved. In fact, new Gov. Jodi Rell praised Regan in an article in the Hartford Courant Tuesday, calling him "a great guy who has done great things."

Still, Rell wants her own person to run state IT. And, that's the way it should be. Who says? Regan says. He should know. He held the post for seven years.

"I don't feel bad about it," Regan tells InformationWeek. "One of the qualities a governor needs in a cabinet official is explicit trust to carry out his or her agenda. A governor needs to have his or her own person in there."

That's especially true in government. A governor needs a CIO who can understand his or her political and governmental agenda, take it, and align IT to support it. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in May named his deputy chiefs of staff Simone Marstiller as state CIO. Marstiller's resume has no hints of a technology background; she's a lawyer who served in a number of positions in Florida government. And, as a top aide to Bush, she knows what the governor wants.

One may not agree with the way the president's bro runs the Sunshine State, but it's very appropriate for him to have a trusted advisor oversee IT as long as that official is qualified. IT is so instrumental to the success in government these days, that the CIO must fully understand what the CEO?the governor?wants done.

And, that's how Regan and Rell see it in Connecticut. "I was John Rowland's person," Regan says. "She needs to put her own thumb print on her administration."

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