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State CIO Named Governor's Aide

As Pennsylvania's deputy chief of staff, Stephens appoints deputies to promote cross-agency cooperation in planning and implementing I.T. goals
Pennsylvania CIO Art Stephens' influence on state IT policy has reached a new level. Gov. Edward Rendell has tapped Stephens, whose official title was deputy secretary of IT in the Office of Administration, as his deputy chief of staff.

In his new position, Stephens will continue to have general oversight responsibility for IT and will serve as Rendell's liaison with the departments of Banking, Corrections, and Military and Veterans Affairs; the State Police; the Office of Homeland Security; the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency; and several boards and commissions.

Former Pennsylvania CIO Stephens is now the governor's deputy chief of staff.

Former Pennsylvania CIO Stephens is now the governor's deputy chief of staff.

Photo by Dominic Episcopo
"Art's initiatives in the Office of Administration have changed the way technology is planned for and managed in Pennsylvania, making it more efficient and cost-effective," Rendell said in a statement announcing the appointment. "He has promoted a collaborative approach to his responsibilities that will translate well into his new role."

In one of his first pronouncements as deputy chief of staff, Stephens revealed the creation of deputy CIO positions for each of the state's communities of practice--health and human services, public safety, environment, and general government operations. Communities of practice provide for cross-agency cooperation in planning and implementing common IT goals.

In a memo sent to state agency CIOs and IT managers, Stephens said the deputy CIOs will help resolve conflicts, have approval authority for the Office of Information Technology on community-of-practice projects, coordinate budgeting and funding across communities of practice, and help define common processes to identify new opportunities that increase IT effectiveness. The deputy CIOs will be the primary contact between agencies and the Office of Information Technology, the state's main IT organization.

In his new role, Stephens' main areas of responsibility will be IT and public safety. "I have mixed feelings about this transition. ... I'm apprehensive because of the numerous IT initiatives that are started but not completed," Stephens wrote in the memo. "I believe some of you may have similar concerns--I assure you that I will continue to be involved in key technology initiatives."

Among those initiatives are enterprise architecture, shared services, enterprise IT system security, statewide radio, and key agency projects. Stephens will serve as the main contact point for the governor's office for community-of-practice processes and continue to serve on the IT governance board.

As CIO for the past two years, Stephens directed all technology activities for agencies under the governor's jurisdiction. He oversaw the implementation of an integrated enterprise-resource-planning system that services human resources, payroll, budget, finance, and procurement system needs. Stephens also authored the state's strategic technology plan, the first such plan since 1996.

During Stephens' reign as CIO, Pennsylvania centralized project follow-up, assigning project managers to communicate with agencies and integrators. The managers also must ensure that agencies deliver on the money they receive. "We need to make sure the state lives up to its end of the bargain [with integrators] as well," Stephens told InformationWeek's Government Enterprise magazine. That means making decisions in a timely fashion, signing off on deliverables, and getting decision makers involved in projects they assign to integrators.

Kristen Miller, director of the Bureau of Enterprisewide Projects, is serving as acting deputy secretary for IT and acting CIO.

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