California Tech Agency Reorganization Gets Green Light

Legislation is under consideration that will address details of the California Technology Agency’s move into a new Government Operations Agency . State CIO to maintain direct reporting to governor on IT.

by / July 5, 2012

The California State Legislature allowed Gov. Jerry Brown’s Reorganization Plan No. 2 to pass this week, with the plan slated for implementation no later than July 1, 2013.

The plan, designed to reduce government waste and increase efficiency, will reduce the number of state agencies from 12 to 10. Five existing state agencies will be replaced by new agencies, including the Government Operations Agency, the Business and Consumer Services Agency and the Transportation Agency.

The California Technology Agency is among the agencies targeted for changes and will now become the Department of Technology under the new Government Operations Agency.

The Little Hoover Commission, an independent oversight commission that examines California state government, held hearings about the plan in April and recommended that the Legislature pass the plan while taking into consideration several concerns, including the change in the current cabinet-level status of the state CIO down to a non-cabinet-level position. While industry representatives have raised concerns about the changes, current CIO and Technology Agency Secretary Carlos Ramos has expressed support for the plan.

“The authority to hold folks accountable, the authority to have an impact on the technology portfolio of the state isn’t related to a title,” Ramos said at the April 24 hearing.

Commission Deputy Executive Director Carole D’Elia said Tuesday, July 3, that the Legislature conducted several hearings following the recommendations, ultimately deciding that the overall reorganization plan should move forward.

“They decided that they wanted the plan to go forward but they, like us, agreed that there were a couple of key areas that need fixes,” D’Elia said.

In response, four Assembly bills and one Senate bill, introduced earlier in the year, were reworked to address concerns, according to D’Elia. AB 1498, authored by assemblymember Joan Buchanan, D- Alamo, suggests that the director of technology under the Reorganization Plan should still report directly to the governor on IT matters.

The bill also asks that the governor’s office move IT procurement authority from the Department of General Services to the new Department of Technology.

Sources expect that AB 1498, along with other bills addressing concerns with the Reorganization Plan, will be considered by legislators as soon as this week. Brown’s office has indicated support for the package of legislation related to the reorganization.

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Ashley Nelson Contributing Writer