What might be the highest-profile job in state government IT remains unfilled, as California continues to seek a state CIO.

The Secretary of California Technology is slated to be paid $175,000 plus full benefits (presumably minus salary cut because of built-in furlough days incurred in recent years by the state government).

The position will be a member of Gov. Jerry Brown’s cabinet, according to a job announcement from the California Technology Agency — formerly known as the Office of the State Chief Information Officer. The position is open until filled.

The state’s next CIO will be tasked with directing technology strategy for all government agencies, departments and offices across the state. The state government employs at least 8,000 workers in IT, including about 130 agency CIOs.

With the backing of legislation signed by ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former state CIO Teri Takai revamped the state’s IT structure during the past three years to consolidate data centers that are scattered across the state, and to centralize policy and decision-making on large IT projects and big-dollar procurements.

State legislation mandates that the state’s mission-critical data and applications be moved into Tier III data centers, and that the state’s IT contribute to a statewide goal to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent by this summer. The state also faces a summer deadline to move agencies onto consolidated e-mail and the state network.

In an interview this winter with Government Technology, Doug Robinson, executive director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, said that states were moving more slowly than expected in appointing their technology boss. Robinson said states could be facing a recruitment challenge as states like California face tough choices and budget cutbacks, leaving uncertainty about the parameters of the CIO’s role.

As of Feb. 1, only 10 governors had permanently filled their administration’s top technology job, among more than two dozen openings nationwide.

The projected $175,000 salary for California’s CIO appears to be in line with similar public-sector jobs across the country. For example, New York state CIO Melodie Mayberry-Stewart is paid $169,000, according to public records. John Nixon, Michigan’s director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget has the highest salary in Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, at $250,000.

Takai’s salary as California CIO in 2009 (her last full year on the job before becoming CIO of the U.S. Defense Department) was $158,000.

California is seeking a candidate with “experience equivalent to the CIO level with a large span of control/influence.” Knowledge of the state’s IT challenges is highly desired, according to the job announcement.

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor