The reorganization plan that would consolidate California's IT services under the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) is one step closer to finalization after the state's Little Hoover Commission, an independent oversight agency, signed off on the proposal Thursday.

According to the commission, the plan will go into effect May 10 if the California State Assembly doesn't reject it by a majority vote.

California CIO Teri Takai and her office would absorb and oversee the state's Department of Technology Services -- currently managing two of California's largest data centers -- as well as the Office of Information Security and Privacy Protection and the Department of General Services' telecommunications division, which manages 911 call centers and public safety radio. Under the plan, Chief Information Security Officer Mark Weatherford and Technology Services Director P.K. Agarwal would report to Takai.

"The reorganization plan is an evolutionary but not revolutionary step toward managing the state's technology resources more efficiently. The plan adds coherency and accountability to the state's technology decisions and investments," commission chairman Daniel Hancock said in a statement.

Takai told Government Technology in February that the consolidation will be federated, meaning Takai and OCIO would oversee IT procurement, overarching technology strategy and other statewide functions, while individual state agencies would continue to control their IT budgets and be able to choose technology equipment that's critical to their business needs.

Takai and other top-level officials, including Utah CIO Steve Fletcher, testified in February to the Little Hoover Commission about the benefits of the consolidation plan.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger estimates it will save at least $1.5 billion over the next five years.

"The Governor's Reorganization Plan is a critical step toward overhauling our state technology systems, saving precious taxpayer funds and increasing efficiency in California government," Takai said in a statement Friday. "By creating a more consolidated IT organization, we can better manage our equipment, personnel and purchasing while optimizing the use of technology and ultimately providing more services for the people of California."

 

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor