In a matter of weeks Virginia could name a replacement for state CIO Lem Stewart, who was fired in June after he attempted to withhold a multimillion dollar payment to Northrop Grumman, the vendor that manages the state's computer systems.

Citing unnamed sources, the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper reported Wednesday that Virginia has narrowed its list for the CIO job to three candidates:

  • Steven Cooper, former CIO of the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security;
  • Art Gonzalez, CIO of the IRS; and
  • David Zeppieri, CIO of Overseas Private Investment Corp., a federal agency that promotes economic growth in developing countries.

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The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) outsourced to Northrop Grumman a 10-year $2.3 billion contract to provide the state's IT services, but the project has been plagued by delays, cost overruns and poor service.

Stewart told the board in May that he intended to withhold a $14 million payment to Northrop Grumman because of what he said was the company's substandard service.

The board soon after fired Stewart and put Virginia Secretary of Technology Leonard Pomata in a dual role as acting CIO.

Serving as technology secretary, Pomata reports to Gov. Tim Kaine. Virginia's CIO is overseen by the state's Information Technology Investment Board.

Kaine said during his monthly radio show in July that he wants state legislators to reform the system so that both positions report directly to him. Kaine said he believes the state's IT service problems stem from the structure and management of VITA, not Northrop Grumman's performance.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, former San Diego County, Calif., CIO Michael Moore withdrew from consideration for the Virginia CIO post. Moore oversaw a massive outsourcing project in San Diego County, the first municipal government to outsource all IT functions to the private sector. The county chose Northrop Grumman in a subsequent outsourcing deal in 2006.

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor