California proposal echoes Bush reforms

A commission has recommended making IT a driving force behind an overhaul of California's government.

California Performance Review

In an approach similar to the President's Management Agenda, a commission appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has recommended making information technology a driving force behind an overhaul of California's government.

The California Performance Review's report recommends more than 1,200 ways to reorganize or improve government operations, which could save more than

$32 billion during the next five years. Schwarzenegger launched the review in February to determine ways to resolve the state's fiscal crisis and prevent such emergencies in the future.

The commission's report addresses many of the same overarching issues that the Bush administration's management agenda highlights, including IT, procurement, human resources, financial management and performance-based budgeting.

Technology-specific recommendations include reorganizing the state's technology functions, creating a statewide enterprise architecture and improving information security. But as with the federal agenda, technology is not only a topic but also an underpinning of recommendations in many other areas.

"They really have captured the essence of the best practices out there," said Thom Rubel, vice president of government strategies at Meta Group Inc.

"It's a huge amount of work in terms of both the product and the work that needs to be done, but now come the realities of implementation," Rubel said. "It's the execution that's the hard part and the part that you've got to get right. It's not impossible, but it takes a tremendous amount of political will on everybody's part."

A key piece of the broader reorganization is the commission's proposal to establish an Office of Management and Budget to oversee all statewide operational services.

The director of California's OMB would work with the state chief

information officer to oversee the following divisions: technology services, human resources, retirement benefits, regulatory affairs and adjudication, fiscal affairs, business services and the performance review. Both the CIO and

the OMB director would report to the

governor.

OMB's technology division would combine IT functions that are scattered across state government. The new division would have five branches: consolidated technologies, project management, research and development, technology and systems acquisition, and telecommunications. The branches would develop policy and provide statewide IT services, including project management and procurement.

Plus, every department would have a CIO, who would report to the state CIO.

The commission's report makes it clear that this is not a simple reorganization. The state must change its governance strategy from the bottom up. The recommendations would reduce the state's 11 agencies, 79 departments and more than 300 boards and commissions to fewer than 20 departments.

"We can begin to eliminate the fat within the government, but we need to go a step further

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