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New Mexico Picks Former Agency CIO as Next IT Secretary

John Salazar, a former CIO of two state departments in New Mexico, is the new IT secretary of New Mexico. Salazar replaces Vince Martinez, who served in the role for a little more than a year.

New Mexico Capitol
New Mexico Capitol
Shutterstock/Zack Frank
John Salazar takes over today as the secretary of the New Mexico Department of Information and Technology (DoIT). 

The announcement from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham came late last week. Salazar replaces Vince Martinez, who was appointed to the role by the governor when she first took office in January 2019.

In addition to the IT project management that he did in New Mexico as part of the firm CSW Enterprises, Salazar is the former CIO of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department and Department of Workforce Solutions. 

“I’ve got a lot of experience with the agencies, what they do, how they do it, and the tools that they use,” Salazar told Government Technology

Salazar’s knowledge should help him with one of the main challenges for the New Mexico DoIT secretary position: navigating the state’s IT structure, where agencies run their own infrastructure. In this respect, Salazar said the hope is to establish more advisory committees so that the state can develop a roadmap for the future in coordination with its various departments. 

Modernization will be another challenge for Salazar. Darryl Ackley, who served as New Mexico’s IT secretary before Martinez, spoke to Government Technology in 2018 about the state’s need to modernize its IT infrastructure — a need that still exists in 2020. 

“We’re not at a point where we can take a lot of credit for the systems that we have; a lot of systems have to be modernized,” Salazar said. “That’s an ongoing process, and I hope to work closely with the governor’s office in moving agencies forward with new technology and embracing new processes going forward.”

Infrastructure is related to another significant need in New Mexico: broadband connectivity for its citizens. Salazar said Lujan Grisham is concerned about the lack of high-speed Internet in certain areas of the state. Getting a plan together with Internet service providers will be key. 

“The infrastructure has to be there [for broadband],” Salazar said. “We hope to build on some of the successes from other states. 

Jed Pressgrove has been a writer and editor for about 15 years. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in sociology from Mississippi State University.
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