Though he will return to the private sector after nearly a year of service, Jack King spoke highly of the direction of tech work in Illinois state government, encouraging support for customer-centric digital services.
Three Illinois IT officials have announced they will be departing the state later this month.
In a phone call with Government Technology Tuesday afternoon, Acting Chief Information Officer Jack King said he has accepted an IT executive position with a health-care system in the southeast, and his last day with the state will be Feb. 13. King first came to the public sector last April, leaving a position in health-care IT to become Illinois’ chief technology officer. He was elevated to acting CIO in December by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner. That appointment followed the retirement of former Illinois CIO Kirk Lonbom. King also noted that Illinois Department of Information and Technology (DoIT) Chief of Staff Tyler Clark would be departing on Feb. 15, as would the department’s chief strategy officer, Shanna Rahming. In late January, Illinois Chief Information Security Officer Chris Hill also departed for the private sector.
King said the departures were a natural part of a new administration taking office in state government, and he predicted a bright future for DoIT, which was created by executive order in 2016 before being permanently signed into law last July. Upon his own departure, Lonbom left a report detailing ways DoIT had saved government money.
“Everybody is just going back to the private sector,” King said. "DoIT is in really good shape. We stood it up this past year, and everything has been signed into law. We’ve got a solid foundation, and everything is moving forward. We’re just waiting for alignment with the governor’s office.”
King said he was certain that new Gov. J.B. Pritzker would support tech and innovation work in Illinois, especially digital inclusion efforts aimed at providing better broadband access to more areas of the state. King also said he wasn’t sure when the governor’s office would name a new CIO. An email to a spokesman for the governor’s office, sent late in the afternoon, was not returned as of this story’s publication.
“This is absolutely a fantastic organization,” King said. “DoIT has a super bright future, and as far as digital literacy goes, having a governor like [Pritzker] who is fluent with technology will be a great thing.”
As parting words of advice, King encouraged the state to continue creating a governmentwide culture of tech and innovation that puts the citizen at the center. He said in Illinois, as in many states across the country, efforts are underway to take citizen-centered approaches to services, and it is paramount for the new governor to continue supporting those efforts in order to modernize state digital services in a way that looks more like the work being done in the private sector.
“We need to start seeing these services through the eyes of the citizen,” King said. “It’s not just about IT, it’s about delivering real services.”