Michael Moore became CIO of San Diego County in November 2002 -- not exactly the best time to take the job. In October 1999, the county signed a seven-year $644 million contract with the Pennant Alliance to outsource all county IT operations, and the contract's first few years weren't pleasant.

The lead vendor for the alliance, CSC, was fined $2 million for failing to meet service goals during the contract's first year. The vendor also faced a $250,000 fine for not migrating county employees to a common e-mail platform.

Before joining San Diego County, Moore worked for SAIC, a member of the alliance, for 11 years, serving as an operation manager and corporate vice president responsible for State and Local Information Technology Outsourcing. When he became CIO, Moore spent a considerable amount of effort working with the alliance to turn around the outsourcing initiative.

Now the initiative is viewed by many as a good model for public/private collaboration on IT in local government.

Moore said he enjoys trying to change the culture of government work.

"I was fearful when I came to the public sector that change would be something that wasn't welcome, wanted or doable," Moore said. "I've found that change is not only welcome, but it's very doable."

San Diego County, like many others, faces a significant challenge in improving internal business processes. It's not necessarily the work involved in scrutinizing how things are done, it's taking the results of that analysis and devising enterprise policies.

"The hardest part about public-sector IT, in my view, is you have 50 very disparate business units -- unlike companies," he said. "If you're in the oil business, your company may have different divisions, but they're all in the oil business. The hardest thing I've had to deal with since joining the public sector is making enterprise decisions that work for 50 disparate business units."

Moore said the county will next focus on implementing a property tax software package that integrates all agencies involved in property assessment, and property tax collection and remittance. The county also plans to set foundation for mobile applications for health and human services staff.

Congratulations to this year's group of "Doers, Dreamers and Drivers," who appear in the March issue of Government Technology magazine.

Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor