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Kansas Governor Names New Tech Chief to Replace Lee Allen

Gov. Laura Kelly has tapped Department of Administration Secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace to serve as the state's new chief information technology officer. She replaces Lee Allen, who was appointed in July 2018.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday that she appointed Department of Administration Secretary DeAngela Burns-Wallace as the state's new Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO).

The appointment, effective immediately, will place Burns-Wallace leading two state agencies: the cabinet-level Department of Administration and the independent Office of Information Technology Services (OITS).

Burns-Wallace said in a prepared statement that she feels honored to be selected to serve in both roles.

“I believe in public service and I look forward to working with Gov. Kelly, the Legislature and the OITS and Department of Administration teams to serve the people of Kansas,” She said. “We must ensure that the state has the IT systems in place to conduct its daily business and maintain the safety and security of our data in today’s ever-changing and interconnected world.”

Portraits: KU Faculty
DeAngela Burns-Wallace, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies, Undergraduate Studies
Meg Kumin/Meg Kumin
Burns-Wallace replaces Lee Allen, who served as CITO for a little more than a year after his appointment by former Gov. Jeff Colyer in July 2018.

Kelly said in a prepared statement that she has appreciated Allen’s work and her appointment does not reflect on his performance.

“The relationship OITS has had with the rest of state government has been challenging, and communication between the agency and its customers has been difficult,” she said. “This was not the fault of the agency’s previous leadership. It is, however, a direct result of the fact that the previous administration split OITS from the Department of Administration and then failed to properly support the move, convey its mission and get buy-in from the rest of state government.”

OITS was created under the watch of former Gov. Sam Brownback and was previously known as the Division of Information Systems and Communication, which fell under the purview of the Department of Administration. While OITS is independent today, the two agencies remain somewhat intertwined because the separation was never fully completed, the release states.

“Secretary Burns-Wallace has the leadership skills and executive experience necessary for a successful Chief Information Technology Officer to possess,” Kelly said. “Our state’s computer systems are vulnerable to both domestic and international security threats. Secretary Burns-Wallace understands these threats and will ensure that our state’s infrastructure is prepared to handle them and keep Kansans’ information secure.”

Burns-Wallace joined the Kelly administration in June when she was appointed to the governor’s cabinet. Previously, she was the vice provost of undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas. She has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University, a master’s degree in public policy and international affairs from Princeton University and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Patrick Groves was a staff writer for Government Technology from 2019 to 2020.