Less than a month after the departure of its chief information officer, Maricopa County, Ariz., found a permanent replacement: Ed Winfield, the former CIO of Wayne County, Mich.
Winfield, who was named one of Government Technology's 2016 Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers, won’t start the new position until January, but he accepted the job around the end of October — less than 30 days after the former CIO, David Stevens, left for the IT company Valor Global.
Maricopa is the fourth-largest county in the U.S. by population, and was the fastest-growing in the country from 2016-17. So, playing CIO to the county is a big role.
“The opportunity of getting to be CIO for a county of that stature is very appealing,” Winfield said.
Winfield is used to the responsibility. He spent four years, 2012-2016, as CIO of Wayne County, home to Detroit and the 19th-most populous county in the nation. While there, he led a movement to upgrade from legacy systems to the cloud and cut costs in the economically-challenged area. He also worked to set up better data analysis for state services and operations so that leaders could run them more efficiently.
He declined to comment on the reason for leaving Wayne County.
Because Winfield has months until he begins the new role with Maricopa, he didn’t have many details yet for his plans and the county’s goals. But he said he sees three responsibilities as being most important in county IT leadership: ensuring daily operational stability, serving workers internally and engaging citizens externally.
“We have to make sure the systems are operating on a daily basis, and that people can do their jobs and that citizens who come to their jobs and their offices, their systems will be operational and they can do what they need to do,” he said.
Richard McHattie, who is serving as interim CIO until Winfield officially takes on the position, said Winfield is involved in the late stages of the county’s budget priority-setting process for the next fiscal year.
That will include decisions on cloud adoption, McHattie said.
“We’ve done some cloud implementations but we’re looking to formulate our official strategy on that,” he said.
It will also include some decisions as to how to best capitalize on some of the recent major work the county’s IT staff have done. It is in the final stages of an “infrastructure refresh” focused on data center consolidation and bandwidth upgrades. That has helped support a new website, made with CivicPlus, with greater emphasis on an ability to deliver services digitally.
“I think he’s coming in during a very exciting time for the county,” McHattie said.
Ben Miller is the business beat staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.