January 26, 2001, 3:30 PM — As if it were a hostile takeover, the inauguration of a new president brings federal CIOs a lot of uncertainties about their work and jobs. But while most federal IT managers have some civil service job protections, they will want to do more than merely survive in their positions -- they hope for more responsibility in the new administration.
"It all comes down to this: Does your new boss like you or not?" said Roger Baker, CIO at the U.S. Department of Commerce, who worked in the private sector before taking the federal job two years ago. His new boss will be Donald Evans, the Commerce secretary-designate.
"You've got to make sure you're on his team, that he understands what you are all about and that you can add value to the organization," said Baker. "In the end, he's got to decide that you're the person he wants in the job, not that he inherited you."
Federal CIOs say they expect President George W. Bush to bring significant changes to the $40 billion federal IT operation, including expanded online government initiatives, a move toward centralized control of IT management through a federal CIO, and cross-agency initiatives -- the sharing of IT resources affecting everything from application development to help desk operations.
"Hopefully, it's going to be a more structured, more connected organization," said George Molaski, CIO at the Department of Transportation.
Bush, the former governor of Texas, is also bringing in a team that has advocated privatizing state services and using e-government to improve service and shrink staffs.
In Texas, IT outsourcing is well above the average for all states. In fiscal 2000, outsourcing expenditures represented 29% of the state's total IT budget, compared with a nationwide average of about 18%, according to a report last year by the Texas Department of Information Resources.
Moreover, a top IT adviser to Bush is former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, a Republican who was a leader in privatizing many IT services in that city and who has won national awards for delivering e-government services.