Amy Tong Confirmed as California CIO by Rules Committee

Gubernatorial appointees such as Tong must be approved by a Senate floor vote no later than a year after they are named to a position. The Rules Committee confirmation hearing and vote is the penultimate step in the process.

by Matt Williams, Techwire / April 20, 2017
California CIO Amy Tong, left, speaks at an IT event held in downtown Sacramento, Calif. Eyragon Eidam/Government Technology

The Senate Rules Committee voted 4-to-0 on Wednesday afternoon to confirm Amy Tong, state CIO and director of the California Department of Technology.

Gubernatorial appointees such as Tong must be approved by a Senate floor vote no later than a year after they are named to a position. The Rules Committee confirmation hearing and vote is the penultimate step in the process.

The confirmation hearing was uneventful, as Tong was joined in the room by her family, colleagues from the Department of Technology and representatives from the vendor community. The committee asked Tong only three questions: one on accountability and two related to the Department of Consumer Affairs' BrEZe project.

"Ultimately, in representing the administration, I am accountable for all things technology related," Tong said. "And within the administration, by working with my counterparts and colleagues in the various departments. I work with them very closely, and [am] holding them accountable on what is required. So at the end of the day, the buck stops with me and I'm ultimately responsible."

The Brown administration appointed Tong to her position on June 30, although she took over the state government's top tech post on an acting basis in March 2016, when Carlos Ramos, who was appointed state CIO in June 2011, retired from state government and launched a consulting firm.

Tong has worked in California state government for about 23 years in positions of increasing responsibility. She was appointed deputy director of the Office of Systems Integration in July 2014 and previously was named the California State Lottery’s deputy director of information technology services — its CIO — in December 2012.

Prior to joining the State Lottery, Tong was the chief technology officer for the State Board of Equalization. She also has served as the assistant division chief of the technology and support division, as well as chief of the data center at CalPERS and worked in technology at the State Water Resources Control Board.

Tong has a bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems and an MBA from California State University, Sacramento.

Groups representing California's technology industry told the Rules Committee that they strongly support Tong's confirmation.

"We've seen a great amount of vendor transparency and involvement in the policies and programs that the department has undergone and look forward to continued success working with the department and Director Tong," said Jennifer Saha, representing CompTIA.

"Thus far it's been a pleasure to work with her. She has provided an increased amount of transparency to the vendor community. We strongly support her efforts to increase [the] cybersecurity posture within the state," said Liam Crawford, with the IT Alliance for Public Sector (ITAPS).

This article was originally published on Techwire.