Michigan Budget Director John Nixon was honored by Governing magazine today for rebalancing the state budget while making strategic technology investments designed to make the state government more efficient and effective.

Nixon — director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget — is one of eight Public Officials of the Year for 2012. The annual award program, run by Government Technology’s sister publication, recognizes leaders from state, city and county government who exemplify the ideals of public service.

Nixon joined the administration of newly elected Michigan Gov Rick Snyder in 2010, after serving four years as budget director for Utah. During that time, Utah was named the best managed state in the nation by the Pew Center on the States.

In Michigan, Nixon heads an agency that oversees financial and technology functions across the state — a role that’s let him make a significant impact on how the state views technology spending. For instance, Nixon closed a $1.5 billion budget deficit during his first year on the job in 2011, but he still found funds to promote small, high-impact technology projects.

In 2012, Nixon locked an extra $47 million into the annual state budget for technology projects. That funding will continue for five years, pumping close to a quarter billion dollars into new IT infrastructure for the state. In addition to new IT spending, Nixon has forged a particularly effective partnership with state CIO David Behen, and he enjoys strong support from Snyder, a former Gateway executive who branded himself “one tough nerd” during the gubernatorial election.

Earlier this month, Michigan earned one of only two “A” grades awarded in the Center for Digital Government’s Digital States Survey. And the state’s combination of smart management and tech savvy will continue to make Michigan a force to be reckoned with over the next several years.

Steve Towns, Editor Steve Towns  |  Editor

Steve Towns is editor of Government Technology, and executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market.