Agriculture CIO announces retirement

Joseph Leo, the chief information officer at the Agriculture Department,

told his staff Oct. 25 that on Feb. 2 he will retire from a career in government

service that has spanned more than three decades.

Leo has held USDA's top tech job for the past year and helped work on enhancing

the department's information technology systems and delivering public services

electronically.

Because he is a political appointee, Leo's tenure as CIO was expected to

end with the election of a new president.

Leo said he has not decided whether to pursue a career in the private sector.

During his long record of public service — 34 years — Leo was one of the

founders of electronic benefits transfer systems in federal government.

He also is the chairman of the committee that helps state computer systems

administer food assistance programs.

In the recent budget battle over USDA funding, Leo's office helped persuade

Congress to continue funding the common computing environment project for

county-based agencies.

Prior to becoming CIO, he spent 15 years as deputy administrator for management

at USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, responsible for IT, human resources,

procurement and administrative services.

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