OMB's McConnell to move to President's Y2K Council

Bruce McConnell, who has been instrumental in crafting and enforcing information policy at the Office of Management and Budget for more than a decade, this month will move to the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion to work on international Year 2000 issues, according to an administration source.

McConnell, chief of the Information Policy and Technology Branch in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at OMB, will spearhead efforts to organize a multilateral Year 2000 cooperative effort. Although the organization has not yet been formed, considerable interest has been expressed in having nations cooperate on Year 2000 issues, and the United States took part in a recent United Nations-sponsored conference in New York at which officials from more than 120 countries discussed their Year 2000 problems.

The president's council, headed by John Koskinen, is still working on the details of the plan, sources said. But an official announcement about McConnell's appointment and details about his responsibilities could be released this week or at least by the end of the month, sources said.

McConnell was chosen for the job, in part, because "he has a tremendous background and was the senior Year 2000 guy at OMB,'' a top-level administrator said.

McConnell is considered one of the Clinton administration's most knowledgeable executives on security, privacy and encryption policy issues. He was a key player in creating guidelines for implementing the Clinger-Cohen Act and in working such issues as the role of the Government Printing Office in the Electronic Age.

"Bruce has been a longtime and highly respected stalwart in IT policy-making in the federal government," said Steven Kelman, a former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at OMB and now a Harvard University professor. "His knowledge of IT issues and his good interpersonal skills have always made him one of the best IT policy people in government to deal with."

Olga Grkavac, senior vice president of the Enterprise Solutions Division at the Information Technology Association of America, said McConnell was the appropriate choice for the position. "Bruce brings a lot of expertise to the council," she said. "International Year 2000 concerns are the most pressing needs in terms of readiness and contingency planning. [The appointment] is a sign of confidence in Bruce." But Grkavac said McConnell's departure will be a loss for OMB. "Bruce takes with him a lot of institutional knowledge,'' Grkavac said. "He was in a position that is not easy to fill.''

His OIRA successor has not been named, but Jasmeet Seehra is expected to act as branch chief until an appointment is made.

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