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Incoming Kansas Governor Will Retain Lee Allen as IT Chief

Allen, who took the reins as state chief information technology officer in July, will remain in the position after Gov.-elect Laura Kelly is sworn in. He will continue work to modernize and secure IT in Kansas.

Incoming Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday that Lee Allen will stay on as chief information technology officer (CITO) after Kelly’s inauguration Jan. 14, according to a press release.

“Lee Allen will continue to lead the state’s technology efforts at this critical time for our state,” the governor-elect said. “Technology changes and modernization will be key to our state’s ability to serve all Kansans.”

Allen was named to the role in July by Gov. Jeff Colyer, who was elevated to the governor’s office following the departure of Sam Brownback for a position with the U.S. State Department. Despite the upcoming November election — which ultimately saw the state flip from Republican to Democrat under Kelly — Allen focused on continuing modernization efforts across Kansas state agencies. This has included outsourcing four major data centers and consolidating IT efforts, he told Government Technology in an interview.

Kansas is in the midst of a move toward a hybrid cloud model as part of a contract signed with Unisys in 2017. The agreement includes oversight of the state’s data storage, both on-premises and in the cloud, as well as data center and network security, among other functions.

Allen comes to the position of CITO with extensive experience in state government, having previously served as CIO of the Kansas Department for Children and Families since 2013, according to his LinkedIn. He initially joined the state in 2010.

“Technology is essential to the way the state provides services to our citizens,” Allen said in the release from the state. “We will continue to focus on strengthening the security and improving service levels for all state agencies.”

Though new governors often mean new state CIOs, Allen is not the only IT chief to stay on as a new leader takes the reins this year — in Idaho, newly elected Gov. Brad Little has also decided to keep longtime CIO Greg Zickau in place.

Lauren Harrison is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.