Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

State CIOs Must Understand, Rise Above Politics

A state CIO needs not only tech savvy but political finesse to get the green light for IT projects. Likewise, governors and their policy makers increasingly are realizing the value of a state CIO who can use IT to further their political initiatives.

"In choosing a CIO, you want someone who understands the technology business and how to use technology to achieve policy goals," William Leighty, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's chief of staff, said Monday at the National Association of State CIOs' midyear conference in Chicago. "It also helps if that person can communicate with legislators."

Leighty, who's been Warner's chief of staff since January 2002, shared a panel Monday with Toby Roth, chief of staff for Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, and William Goetz, chief of staff for North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven.

The goal for states should be to align their policy advisors with their CIOs and engage IT in the policy process, Roth said. "IT is not instinctive to policy advisers, and [CIOs] have got to have the policy advisers on board." Getting IT involved in the development of policy also helps ensure continuity from administration to administration.

Technology staffers need to know and understand a governor's agenda, including education, corrections, and the budget, Goetz said. "But they also have to understand how the legislature works."

  • 1