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Austin, Texas, Appoints Stephen Elkins CIO

After years of transitions, city officials believe new IT chief will bring diversified public- and private-sector experience to critical post.

After a series of unfortunate transitions in the past two years at the top of Austin's Communications and Technology Management Department, the city officially has a new chief information officer.

With decades of public- and private-sector IT experience, Stephen Elkins, who had been acting director of the department since August 2009, has been appointed CIO, city officials announced April 1.

The appointment comes after the city has struggled for two years to find the right person for the job. In 2008, Pete Collins, the city's then CIO, resigned after a human resource investigation claimed that he may have used city property for personal use. Then, in February 2009, Gail Roper, a past recipient of Government Technology's Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers award, became the city's new IT chief. But she reportedly had to leave and return to her previous job as CIO of Raleigh, N.C., because she couldn't sell her home there.

As Austin's acting IT chief in the past seven months, Elkins streamlined many processes, gathered IT requests from other city departments and improved collaboration with IT leaders, said Reyne Telles, the city's manager of media relations.

"We expect that role to continue and to be able to draw upon the broad base of knowledge he brings to the post," Telles said. "We really feel Elkins brings 24 years of a diversified career to the city of Austin, and that will benefit the department he has been charged with leading."