Teri Takai, CIO, California/Photo by Gerry McIntyre California CIO Teri Takai Photo by Gerry McIntyre

One technology priority for Takai is a standard for the state's networks. "We'd like to have a unified statewide network, which doesn't necessarily mean one network, but it means that we're all going to do our networks in the same way," Takai explained. Common standards will help California move toward server virtualization (which saves on hardware investment and energy consumption) and also aid IT workers who are developing applications, she said.

The federated IT model, in which agencies retain autonomy over program-specific technology, will also extend to governance and the chain of command. "We're asking that all of the information technology staff would report into an information technology organization -- in some cases today, some of those staff reside in some of the business areas [of individual state agencies]," Takai said. All the IT staff in an agency would report to a CIO, she said, and employees will receive business direction, in terms of the way technology is to be used in their department, from the agencies and departments that they work for today.

"That reporting relationship won't change," Takai said. "Nobody's going to move or change seats. The difference is the IT policy direction will come from this Office [of the State Chief Information Officer]."

Under Schwarzenegger's plan, Takai's position would also be in charge of statewide IT procurement. Over the course of the next five years, Takai said, California will be doing a major refresh on most of the components of its infrastructure, including PCs, servers and software licenses. By having a central point person in control -- the state CIO -- it should lead to more efficient spending because there won't be hundreds of different ways of doing things in state agencies, she said.

If the consolidation is implemented, it would appear to cap a rapid accumulation of power and duties that Schwarzenegger has given to the state CIO position. In 2006, he signed legislation creating the Office of the State Chief Information Officer. In 2007, the governor signed more legislation that made the office a Cabinet-level agency with statutory authority over IT policy.

But Takai might not be around to see the entire consolidation to fruition. She's an appointee of Schwarzenegger, who will be term-limited in 2010.

"In the next two years, our plan will be to have this reorganization in place, because it will be at that time in statute, which means it will be there for the next administration," she said.

But first, the Governor's Reorganization Plan must get a recommendation from the Little Hoover Commission, an independent oversight agency that gives guidance to the state Legislature. The commission has scheduled hearing dates for the IT consolidation plan in February and March. The Legislature would also have to approve the plan.

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor