California Gov. Jerry Brown Puts Technology in Budget Crosshairs

The California Technology Agency would be eliminated and made a department within a newly formed agency merging administrative functions.

by / January 6, 2012
California Gov. Jerry Brown/Photo by Troy Holden/Flickr CC Photo by Troy Holden/Flickr CC

California Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal for 2012-2013 puts technology in the crosshairs.

The California Technology Agency would be eliminated and made a department within a newly formed agency merging administrative functions, including procurement, IT and human resources. The Technology Services Board — which provides oversight to the Office of Technology Services — would be eliminated because the Department of Finance would be able to evaluate service rate proposals. The Public Safety Radio Strategic Planning Committee would be eliminated “because it is duplicative of functions currently being performed by the California Technology Agency.” The state’s High-Speed Rail Authority would be swallowed by the state’s transportation agency.

It’s unclear how Brown’s proposal would alter the everyday workings of the state’s IT operations. But it could cause further grumbling among some state workers that technology isn’t a top priority in the governor’s administration. Brown’s decision to confiscate thousands of cellphones from state workers in a cost-cutting manuever wasn’t popular. 

Technology is far from the only line item that would be consolidated in Brown’s $137 billion budget proposal. The wide-ranging plan touches nearly all corners of the state government as the administration continues to deal with a structural budget deficit — estimated at $5 billion for the coming year.

Download  (.pdf) the 258-page summary of the governor’s budget proposal.

California Secretary of Technology Carlos Ramos — the state CIO who Brown chose last year for the position — backed Brown’s plan in a blog posted Friday, Jan. 6.

“Governor Brown is determined to make state government more efficient and effective. The proposed reorganization keeps the Technology Agency’s authority, jurisdiction and mission intact.  In addition, by placing the Technology Agency together with the Department of General Services and the Department of Human Resources, the opportunity to collaborate on issues such as IT procurement and maintaining a capable IT workforce becomes easier,” Ramos said.

If the California Technology Agency is returned to department-level status, it would reverse much of the efforts of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former CIO Teri Takai, who worked together to rename the Office of the Chief Information Officer the California Technology Agency and elevate it to a Cabinet-level position

Matt Williams Associate Editor
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