Commentary
8/30/2007
07:05 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary

The IRS Gets A New CIO

If there's a CIO hot seat, it's got to be at the Internal Revenue Service. Who would want that job, anyway?



If there's a CIO hot seat, it's got to be at the Internal Revenue Service. Who would want that job, anyway?Art Gonzalez, that's who. The IRS recently named Gonzalez as its new CIO. Gonzalez had been deputy CIO for the past two years, as well as acting associate CIO for enterprise networks, responsible for the design and engineering of the IRS's telecom system. He replaces Richard Spires, who had announced his departure from the post earlier in the summer. Spires will become an IRS deputy commissioner for operations support next month.

Gonzalez will oversee the IRS's modernization and information technology services organization, which supports the federal tax administration through its 400 computer systems, 7,000 employees, and a budget of nearly $2 billion. The IRS has more than 100,000 employees in total.

Before joining the IRS, Gonzalez was senior VP and CIO at Oxford Health Plans. Before that he held IT leadership positions at Kmart, Great Western Bank, and Western Airlines.

Like the FBI, the IRS has been plagued with high-profile computer-related problems, from runaway IT projects to data breaches, both internal and external. And recent reports don't make things seem much better. The results of a security test run earlier this year by the Treasury Department show that IRS workers are highly susceptible to social engineering: 60% of the IRS employees contacted by testers posing as help desk workers were talked into changing their computer passwords over the phone.

We wish Mr. Gonzalez the best of luck.

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