A record number of governors races contested Tuesday will potentially lead to an unprecedented number of new state CIOs in 2011.
Of 37 gubernatorial races up for grabs Tuesday, an estimated 26 new governors were elected. Many of them will likely handpick their own state CIOs. Add those new IT bosses to the ranks of recently retired or departed CIOs, and that means about 30 state CIOs will be new come 2011. (See the interactive U.S. map below for further details, including current officeholders.)
Some state CIOs have said the expected turnover could blunt progress — at least temporarily — on major technology initiatives, as several states continue work on enterprisewide IT consolidations.
Utah CIO Steve Fletcher, who just wrapped his yearlong tenure as president of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), said Wednesday the new blood coming into the organization will be a big opportunity and a big challenge.
"We will have a lot of new CIOs to train and a lot of new administrations to educate," Fletcher said. NASCIO is gearing up for both sets of people.
Photo: Colorado Governor-elect John Hickenlooper
Many of the new CIOs will be in populous states that are stalwarts in the Digital States Survey
. All of them will take over big IT initiatives that are under way. For example, new California Gov. Jerry Brown and his new CIO will inherit an IT consolidation that’s been ongoing for the past two years. Outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration believes the work will eventually save the state billions of dollars. The project was codified into law recently; Schwarzenegger officials hope the legislation means the consolidation will continue into the next administration.
Florida and New York state also will have new governors, which could mean the new administrations will pick a new CIO. For the past few years, Florida’s executive branch has been trying to give the state CIO more authority, but it remains to be seen if that effort will be a priority after the state’s leadership change. Meanwhile, in New York, incoming Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration will have to decide how to resolve a multibillion dollar IT staff services contract brought forth by the state Office for Technology that was rejected last week by the state comptroller, who was re-elected Tuesday.
In Iowa, Gov. Chet Culver was defeated. Culver had backed an IT consolidation that was in the early stages, and like California, was also backed by legislation. For the first time, Iowa is slated to hire a full-time CIO, but it likely won’t come during Culver’s watch.
Two IBM customers — Georgia and Texas — are in different stages of consolidation. Last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed Karen Robinson
to remedy a troubled data center partnership with IBM. Perry breezed to a win Tuesday, so Robinson likely will stay at the Department of Information Resources. On the other hand, Georgia and CIO Patrick Moore have been trying to avoid the pitfalls that have beset recent consolidations that rely on a single vendor partner. Moore, if he stays as CIO, will have a new boss: incoming Gov. Nathan Deal.
NASCIO will be ready for all the changes, Fletcher said.
"We will have a CIO boot camp for incoming CIOs, and we have an issues brief for transition teams to educate them on the role and value of the CIO," he said.
For comprehensive coverage of the state and local political races — including results and blogs on the governors races, attorneys general results, ballot measures and mayoral races — please visit Government Technology’s
sister publication, Governing