Florida's director of technology departs

P.J. Ponder, Florida's director of technology, left his post May 28 to pursue independent consulting opportunities in the private sector.

Ponder's replacement will be Mary Christopher, assistant director of Florida State University's Center for Learning, according to sources familiar with the state technology office, who said there is also talk of establishing a governor-appointed state-level CIO position. A summit is scheduled for June 18 to unveil a process to make that happen.

Meanwhile, North Dakota chief information officer Jim Heck announced he will retire at the end of this month. Heck has led the state's technology efforts for the past 30 years and has served in government for 40 years.

Republican Gov. Ed Schafer (N.D.) plans to appoint a replacement before the end of the month. The biggest challenge the state faces heading into the millennium is getting and retaining a skilled work force. Additionally, the state is looking into "the deployment of a statewide network that integrates voice, video and data and gets down to the counties, cities and schools," Heck said.

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