senior official. You're not in touch. You don't meet with the secretary regularly. It's the same old, same old. If you want to have your state CIO two or three rungs down the ladder, that's fine, but IT is too important."
Flynn recalled a conversation he and then-Assembly Member Debra Bowen had, during his tenure in California, several years ago concerning the post of CIO.
"She thought it would be an interesting idea to make it a legislative appointment, or an independent position," he said. "She wanted to set it up like the state auditor's position. "I told her, 'The problem with that is that you can't have that person doing strategic planning. You can't have that person doing any innovative IT initiatives; he or she will just be a watchdog. You have to have both: You have to have the strategic planning responsibility and budget responsibility, and you have to be the watchdog.' That's the way it should be."
If a state's CIO doesn't have a combination of powers, the position winds up at the mercy of state agencies that can decide individually how they want to use their budgets on IT purchases, he said.
"The critical issue here is identifying the direction that the CEO of the state wants to take; identifying the enabling technologies to get there; supporting them and funding them; and doing proper oversight on the project itself," he said. "A legislatively directed or auditor concept would only cover one third of the CIO's job, and it wouldn't do that very well.
"It would be a very difficult way to do it," he said. "It'd be like a having a state auditor doing the job -- not there to do good, but there to find things that are wrong. There's a lot more to being a CIO."