About this time last year, New York CIO Maggie Miller testified before state legislators during a budget hearing that the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) needed experts as soon as possible. She communicated her urgency by informing legislators that the agency expected to lose one-fourth of its staff to retirement in the immediate future and that current policies restricted her from hiring necessary replacements.
Fast forward to Jan. 31, when Miller testified at a joint legislative budget hearing that this is still a need. This time, however, she outlined a state budget proposal that would allow her to hire 250 contractors that would stay in their roles for up to five years, followed by options for permanent roles.
Miller argued that outside contractors are being used solely because there are rules in place that allow her to only hire entry-level government employees.
“We have fantastic internship programs and we love having bright kids straight out of college join the organization,” Miller said. “But, as I said, expertise is a mixture of skill and experience. And we desperately need an injection of experience into the middle layers and the more senior layers of the organization.”
The new hires would come into a wide range of roles, but Miller is pushing hard to fill the skills deficit.
The ITS has made strides with training programs to aid current employees, as 11 percent of the agency’s staff was promoted since last year’s budget hearing. That will not be enough to make up for the 25 percent of employees on their way to retirement.
In her testimony, Miller informed legislators that the proposal is focused on hiring current contractors as government employees because they already possess an understanding of state systems.