Washington State Shrinks IT Department’s Head Count

Washington state has cut a portion of its IT staff before the completion of the state’s new 50,000-square-foot data center.

by / July 7, 2011

The Washington State Department of Information Services reduced its head count by more than 10 percent beginning this month as a reshaping of the state’s technology enterprise continues.

The department is cutting 61.5 full-time-equivalent positions from its 460-person work force, an opening salvo in further changes that will fundamentally alter the department’s future. The cuts are coming through a combination of attrition, unfilled positions and more than 30 layoffs. Officials expect the number of positions lost to eventually reach a total of 70. This reduction comes on top of a pre-existing hiring freeze. 

The department’s back-office staff — including budgeting, contracting and communications — was especially hard hit, said Joanne Todd, the department’s communications director. The operational positions remained mostly intact.

“The challenge is there’s still a lot of work ahead,” Todd told Government Technology on Thursday, July 7.

On July 15 the state is scheduled to take possession of its new $250 million, 50,000-square-foot  data center and office complex, which will facilitate server consolidation, virtualization and other technology efficiencies.

Meanwhile, the Department of Information Services is set to be split apart in a larger reorganization of the state’s executive branch that Gov. Chris Gregoire and lawmakers are counting on to help close the state’s budget gap. The state budget Gregoire signed last month will cut spending by $4.5 billion during the next two years, and includes cuts to education, tuition increases, and a 3 percent pay reduction for state employees.

The Department of Information Services will essentially be moved in three directions, Todd said. Some staff will move into a newly created state CIO office, while others will transition into a new state agency called the Department of Enterprise Services that will handle the state’s back-office work currently being duplicated within multiple agencies. The remainder of the Department of Information Services will comprise the Consolidated Technology Services Department, which will provide computing services to the entire state government.

Matt Williams Associate Editor
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