Kentucky's Gubernatorial Change Prompts CIO Jim Fowler to Resign

Kentucky's CIO resigned last month following Matt Bevin's ascension to governor two weeks prior, and Jim Barnhart has been promoted from deputy to acting commissioner of the Commonwealth Office of Technology.

by / January 4, 2016
David Kidd

Editor's note: This story was updated on Jan. 6 to include additional details about the CIO position in Kentucky.

Kentucky CIO Jim Fowler resigned in December following the induction of Gov. Matt Bevin earlier that month, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) confirmed in a Dec. 31 tweet.

Kentucky is currently in the early stages of a five- to seven-year cloud transition, Fowler told Government Technology earlier this year -- a move that frees up staff to become more innovative while also allowing government to use current technologies. And in August, the state unveiled a three-year broadband program driven by a public-private partnership that is designed to bring access statewide.

In June, Fowler spoke with Government Technology about having worked at different levels of the public sector, noting that the biggest lesson he's learned is to make sure that as a CIO, you have strong executive support -- something he had during his time leading IT in Kentucky. Not only did Fowler have former Gov. Steve Beshear’s full support, but he also sat on the cabinet, which gave him a peer-level relationship with other cabinet members.

“If there are pushbacks at the mid-department level, I have the relationships to make that go away,” he said at the time

On Jan. 5, The Wallstreet Journal (paywall) reported that Kentucky moved Jim Barnhart from deputy to acting commissioner of the Commonwealth Office of Technology. Barnhart served as deputy commissioner since February 2008, and previously was a scientific technical assistant at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.