Houston’s new CIO is Phoenix’s old CIO.

Charles T. Thompson has begun work as Houston’s CIO after serving in the same capacity since 2007 for Phoenix.

Thompson said Friday, Feb. 3, that it was a tough decision to leave Phoenix. But the chance in Houston to work on a new records management system, a new case management system for courts, and a second-generation 311 for citizen relationship management proved too good to pass up.

“Those three large projects and then delivering IT governance in this wonderful, fourth-largest city in the nation — those are exciting opportunities for any CIO,” Thompson said.

In Phoenix, Thompson led the creation of a governance structure that he thinks is a model for large cities. He also was proud to have sustained IT training for staff despite budget cuts.

Thompson was formerly the CIO for Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools and as the CTO for the District of Columbia Public Schools, according to a biography page on Houston’s website. Thompson also has worked as a systems engineer, systems analyst, consultant and manager with IBM, NYNEX Business Systems, SynOptics, Bay Networks and Cisco Systems.

Thompson has a master’s degree in operational analysis and a bachelor’s in information systems management from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and is certified by the Federal Council of CIOs.

Thompson left Phoenix city government on Jan. 20. Assistant CIO Rob Sweeney was elevated to acting CIO of Phoenix.

In Houston, Thompson is succeeding Richard Lewis, who retired after being CIO since 2002. Houston’s departmental IT directors report to the CIO. According to a fiscal year 2010 estimate, Houston spent $152 million on IT that year.

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor