McConnell joins growing list of feds fleeing government

One of the government's top Year 2000 trouble-shooters and an information policy expert for three presidents has decided to look for work in the private sector.

Bruce McConnell, head of the International Y2K Cooperation Center, said he will not return to the Office of Management and Budget this spring when the Y2K Cooperation Center shuts down but is "planning to go into the private sector in April."

"I want to help people manage the business risks and opportunities created by technology," McConnell said Thursday. He said he is interested in work at the international level, but he does not yet have a new job lined up.

An expert on security, privacy and encryption policy, McConnell began his federal career at OMB under President Reagan in 1985. During the Bush administration, he handled information policy. He helped craft guidelines governing the Clinger-Cohen Act and helped define the role of the Government Printing Office in the Electronic Age.

McConnell was chief of the information policy and technology branch in OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs when he was tapped to head the International Y2K Cooperation Center.

McConnell hailed the massive and successful effort to make computers ready for the Year 2000 as a triumph for government technology workers. "Y2K brought out the best in government project management," he said.

He conceded that his departure adds to the difficulty the federal government is having holding on to senior IT personnel, as many depart for higher-paying jobs in the private sector. "Everyone, including government and industry, is having trouble keeping good tech people," McConnell said.

And in a parting plug for the federal sector, he said, "No one in government is in it for the money. You've got to believe in the mission, and the government has some of the world's most exciting missions."

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