The South Carolina Government Efficiency and Accountability Review Committee (GEAR) -- a nine-member board charged by the governor to "analyze the systems and services within and provided by the South Carolina Budget and Control Board ..." -- just released a report highly critical of the State CIO's Office.

GEAR "examined the State CIO's role in planning, procurement and delivery of information technology services," saying the office has "too much authority over the operating arms of state government and is able to charge them for services without having to explain or justify the charges and to act arbitrarily and sometimes capriciously simply by hiding behind a tangled web of legislation." The report goes on to say that the CIO's Office has no responsibility, authority or accountability for the delivery of government services but has a "virtual stranglehold" on a principle means to improve services and lower costs.

The report also cited secrecy in the cost reimbursement system, saying that a former CIO claimed he had difficulty getting full access to the data used in charges for services and felt agencies had been overcharged. These claims, said the report, mirror a 2003 governor's commission which wrote that "Agencies distrust the office of the CIO and current fee-for-service model of acquiring mandated products and services."

Government Technology contacted Michael Sponhour, a spokesman for the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, who said the report was being reviewed.

Wayne Hanson  |  Editor