Teri Takai, Ken Theis, Brenda Orth and Elliot Schlanger Lead List of 2008 CIO Transitions

California, Michigan, Maryland and Pennsylvania get new CIOs; South Carolina post remains vacant.

by / December 3, 2008
Brenda Orth Pa DIT

Photo: Brenda Orth took over as Pennsylvania's deputy secretary for information technology and CIO, replacing Kristen Miller, who resigned in 2007.

2008 began with a significant CIO transition when Michigan CIO Teri Takai became CIO of California after months of speculation. In announcing her appointment, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the state must improve and expand its IT infrastructure. "Teri is the perfect person to do that," he said. "She has [more than] 30 years of experience in this field and possesses the vision necessary to make our great state a leader in the effective use of information technology."

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm replaced Takai by appointing Kenneth D. Theis CIO and director of the Department of Information Technology. Theis had been deputy director and led the successful implementation of several large IT projects, including a statewide child support enforcement system.

Elliot H. Schlanger, left his position as Baltimore's CIO and moved a few miles to Annapolis where he became state CIO. In Baltimore, Schlanger led development of the city's 311 hotline service, one of the first of its kind in the country.

In the Keystone State, Brenda Orth took over as Pennsylvania's deputy secretary for information technology and CIO, replacing Kristen Miller, who resigned in 2007. Naomi Wyatt, the state's secretary of administration, noted that Orth "has more than 25 years of management experience in the field of information systems, [and] she will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the commonwealth." Orth has been with the state since 2003, most recently as CTO.

In Philadelphia, Terry Phillis stepped down as the city's CIO. Phillis, who was appointed to the position by former Mayor John Street, was the last holdover from that administration. According to local news reports, Phillis was forced out over differences with city Managing Director Camille Cates Barnett on the implementation of a citywide 311 system. While serving Street, Phillis was a member of the mayor's Cabinet, but his position under Mayor Michael Nutter was downgraded and he reports to Barnett.

Kentucky hasn't had a permanent head of IT since Mark Rutledge resigned as CIO in December 2007. Currently Lori Flanery is listed as acting CIO, according to NASCIO.

Similarly in South Carolina, since Jim Bryant resigned as the state's CIO in early 2008, the position has remained vacant for most of the year.

Florida also moved slowly on the CIO front, finally appointing David W. Taylor as interim state CIO after leaving the position vacant for a long time. Taylor had served as the CIO and IT director for the Florida Department of Health.

Portland, Ore., appointed Mark Greinke as the new CTO, promoting him from the position of city information security manager. He joined Portland after 11 years with Intel Corp. in Hillsboro, Ore., where he led technology initiatives to move many business processes from paper to online transactions and the automation of the latest chip factories.

Louisiana appointed Edward Driesse its CIO, replacing Rizwan Ahmed, who resigned. Driesse has 15 years' experience as a CIO in various organizations. His last position was CIO for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Austin, Texas, CIO Pete Collins resigned after allegations of wrongdoing. Earlier in the year, a city employee accused Collins of misusing city property. The allegations were investigated by police who declined to prosecute. Collins was awarded Texas CIO of the Year by Government Technology. A former police officer, he was appointed CIO in 2004.

Back in California, Steve Ferguson departed from his job as CIO for the city of Sacramento to become CIO of San Jose. Among his accomplishments while heading IT in the state capitol, Ferguson launched the city's 311 hotline, installed a citywide customer relationship management system, overhauled a utility billing system and introduced online permitting.


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