The board of commissioners in Clark County, Nev., ratified the permanent appointment of interim CIO Michael Lane the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 6.
Lane was first tapped to lead the county’s information technology department by County Manager Yolanda King on Nov. 18, just a week after the departure of former CIO Louis Carr Jr., who accepted a position with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Prior to Carr’s departure, Lane served in the county’s deputy CIO role since August of 2013 and was well equipped to take over as CIO given his 20-year history in technology.
The newly minted county CIO told Government Technology he was glad the approval of his appointment went off without any surprises and that he is set to kick off internal conversations about how the county can improve its technological standing.
“I’m not one to tip the boat over on the way in. I’ve got a 90-day plan that I am executing and that involves spending a lot of time meeting with staff to understand what the challenges are, what they see as the challenges holding us back from moving forward and getting their input,” he said. “Once I’m done hearing what everyone has to say, then I will strategically make changes in direction to accommodate those things. I think the takeaway is that I am here to listen and learn initially.”
The Clark County IT team is composed of around 160 people and serves roughly 38 government departments.
Despite what he describes as a career that was heavily weighted in the private sector, Lane said he enjoys giving back through public service. By his count, he has served as a CIO in one form or another five separate times.
Prior to coming onboard with the county in 2013, he put in time as a high school math teacher, worked in casino and gaming tech, and managed IT for a leading travel website. During his tenure in casino IT, he oversaw the launch of some 59 casinos around the world.
He said the opportunity at the county was one that summoned him back into the information technology field.
“I was a teacher for three years and I saw this opportunity at the county and the ability to give back in government and be back in IT," Lane said, "so I jumped on it."
Lane also said that one of his primary goals will be maintaining the local government’s cybersecurity health, despite the daunting threats, and keeping the jurisdiction in step with evolving technologies.
Government at all levels is facing constant scrutiny by bad actors, and Lane said a constant and ongoing part of his new title will be protecting county assets.
“It is changing. It’s changing rapidly and it’s changing dramatically. The whole business of IT is moving to a cloud-based business, so we have to adjust ourselves as an IT organization to accommodate that move,” he said. “In addition to that, there are a lot of very, very smart people out there participating in cybercrime, so what we need to do is stay abreast of the cybersecurity landscape and assure that we secure our infrastructure for our employees, as well as our citizens.”