Gary Robinson, Washington State CIO

"The model we are drawing upon for Washington state is building upon both New York City, and particularly building upon the work that has been done in the city of Baltimore."

by / July 1, 2005
The Center for Digital Government recently hosted Washington State CIO Gary Robinson, and Deputy Director Jim Albert in a Center teleconference moderated by the Center's Vice President of Advisory Services John Thomas Flynn, former CIO of both Massachusetts and California.

Robinson, director of the Washington State Department of Information Services, was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire earlier this year as a permanent director of the department. He began his career in Washington as a member of the committee staff of the House of Representatives and then the Senate. He next joined the administrative staff for the Parks and Recreation Commission and then moved to the Office of Financial Management. Robinson also served as the assistant director, deputy director and acting director while at the Office of Financial Management. He's also a member of the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, the Information Services Board, the Public Employees Benefit Board, and the Sentencing and Guidelines Commission.

Gary Robinson
Robinson began by highlighting projects and initiatives of the Department of Information Services (DIS) -- a centralized computing and telecommunications agency for the state that handles mainframe services, files services, voice and data telecommunications and networks, among others. DIS sets technology strategy and standards for the state and has oversight for large agency projects. Robinson said providing service in a more consolidated enterprise approach is a priority.

The governor has charged DIS with providing portal services for entities, such as businesses, that interact with state and local governments. "The addition to that now," said Robinson, "is ... to have that portal be an entry route for both state services and also local services. The initiative is initially going to focus on cooperating with one of the larger counties and one of the larger cities in the state; that being Snohomish County and the city of Everett, which are just located north of Seattle."

One enterprise project under way is a Business Continuity Disaster Recovery initiative recently funded by the Legislature. "We are kicking off that initiative in the latter part of June," said Robinson, adding it will be available to local governments as well.

Also, said Robinson, one of DIS's responsibilities is to assume joint accountability for state agency application development projects. Those include the Department of Personnel's centralized personnel application that will be used by all state agencies. The Department of Corrections has a project to track and administer offenders at state institutions, as well as in community corrections and parole. A third project is a Department of Social Services system for the administration of the Medical Assistance Program.

Robinson said that DIS will also be instituting a version of the CompStat program, pioneered in the New York City Police Department. "The model we are drawing upon for Washington state," said Robinson, "is building upon both New York City, and particularly building upon the work that has been done in the city of Baltimore. With Baltimore ... and other jurisdictions that have pursued this management initiative, there is information that is brought to bear to elected leadership and the key agency managers in order to ensure that programs are performing well and that if there are issues that need to be addressed, they are visible and action is taken in a timely fashion.

"The term being used within Washington to describe the management initiative," said Robinson, "is GMAP, short for 'Government Management Accountability and Performance,' and the governor issued an executive order, which is on the governor's Web site, and there's also additional detail associated with the description of that initiative that is available at the governor's Web site ... The objective is really to ensure we are managing our programs well and ensure we're achieving the performance that was identified as both the governor and Legislature chose to make investments in agency programs as the budget is coming together."

Robinson said that the three essential components for the successful management of state service programs are personnel, finances and technology. A panel will be composed of the Governor's Office, CIO, and directors of the Budget and Personnel offices, which will focus on the state's enterprise initiatives. "We will be assisting agencies in ensuring that they are performing their responsibilities and achieving the results that we expect by the funds that they receive," said Robinson.

Washington has a biennial budget, and the new budget year starts July 1, with the budget approved by the Legislature several months ago.

Robinson said that the state is doing an initial review related to consolidating agency information numbers into a centralized 3-1-1 call center. Also, the state has looked at enterprise architecture and wants to build upon integrated architectural design, he explained. Jim Albert said the state was developing an enterprise architecture for geographic systems, and as soon as that is complete, the standard will be sent to the Information Services Board for approval.
Wayne Hanson Editor, e.Republic Digital Publications