After more than three decades in Washington state government, Rob St. John will retire at the end of June.
St. John has been serving as acting chief information officer and director of Washington Technology Solutions (WaTech) since October 2017, following the departure of Michael Cockrill. All told, St. John will retire after 33 years in public service.
“Rob has done a great job leading WaTech these past several months, and I congratulate him on his much-deserved retirement,” Gov. Jay Inslee said, in a statement. “He’s helped our state and our agencies navigate many important changes and innovations, and I thank him for his 33 years of public service.”
A national search to name a permanent CIO for the state has been underway since Cockrill stepped down in October 2017 to take a position in the private sector.
St. John has spent about the majority of his career in IT in some capacity, starting with the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, where he would go on to serve as CIO.
In 2012, St. John was named director of Consolidated Technology Services, followed by being named director of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).
“This agency employs some of the brightest and hardest working staff in state government, and because of that I’ve always had confidence that our systems and services are dependable, secure and ready to meet the needs of our users,” St. John said, in a statement.
St. John assumed the CIO role in the fall of last year following the departure of Cockrill, whose own departure came just days after a critical state audit of WaTech, citing eight steps for improvement. The performance audit was critical of the department in a range of areas from fiscal responsibility, to communications to transparency.
However, officials at the time stressed that Cockrill had notified the governor’s office of his plans to depart prior to the audit release and the timing was purely coincidental.