RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Mark Warner ceremonially signed two bills this week to restructure IT in the commonwealth. The legislation creates a single new state agency, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), and an independent CIO to oversee the planning and development of all IT projects in the commonwealth and the purchasing of IT equipment and services.

HB 1926, sponsored by Delegate Sam Nixon, and SB 1247, sponsored by Sen. Walter Stosch and originally introduced by Sen. Janet Howell, were signed by the governor at a meeting at the Library of Virginia in Richmond. The governor directed agency heads to do all they can to assist in the transition.

"With the help of our legislative partners, we have passed the most sweeping reform of its kind in the nation," said Gov. Warner. "Now comes the hard part: Making the institutional and mindset changes needed for this ambitious reform effort to succeed. Currently, the commonwealth spends more than $900 million each year on information technology. We buy the same computers from 15 different vendors at 15 different prices, we have seen cost overruns on projects in the tens of millions of dollars, and we have email systems that do not talk to each other. That makes no sense."

The reform will consolidate the majority of 94 state agency IT departments into VITA. In creating VITA, the legislation also eliminates, as of July 1, 2003, three existing state agencies, the Department of Technology Planning, the Department of Information Technology, and the Virginia Information Providers Network (VIPNet) Authority, and two boards, the Board of the Virginia Information Providers Network (VIPNet) Authority and the Chief Information Officer Advisory Board.

Employees of the three state agencies that are being eliminated will be transitioned to ensure service continuity into VITA.

"State agencies can do more by collaborating as an enterprise than operating as independent units," said Secretary of Technology George C. Newstrom. "There will also be tremendous opportunities not afforded to most of our IT professionals today -- including opportunities to learn new technologies, gain new skills, and advance in their careers."

Office of the Governor