Treasury mulls creation of a CXO council

CIO Council

Amid the leadership alphabet soup that now includes CIOs, CFOs and procurement executives, the Treasury Department is looking to add one more — a CXO council.

Though early in development, Treasury sees the CXO council as a body that could bring together the leadership of Treasury's 14 agencies — including finance, technical, procurement, legal and human resources — to focus on interagency issues.

"We're all facing the same issues," said Mayi Canales, chief operating officer for Treasury's chief information officer.

"We are just starting" and specifics have not yet been worked out, she said. In fact, the group's name has not even been finalized. One possibility is to call it the CXO Board of Directors. The early idea is to appoint a chairman and vice chairmen. Another idea is to create an executive committee to help direct the group.

The move toward an e-government is driving broader cooperation, Canales said. President Bush's $200 million e-government fund for fiscal 2002 is expected to focus on intergovernmental projects that encourage such relationships, said Joiwind Ronen, director of the Council for Excellence in Government's Intergovernmental Technology Leadership Consortium.

The concept of a CXO council isn't new, Ronen said. "It makes sense that there would be more coordination," she said.

The closest thing Treasury has right now to such an interagency organization is its investment review board, which reviews capital expenditures and includes membership across Treasury.

Olga Grkavac, executive vice president of the Information Technology Association of America's Enterprise Solutions Division, said the concept is more common among private-sector organizations. But anything that encourages federal enterprisewide solutions is a step in the right direction, she said.

Al Pesachowitz, former CIO at the Environmental Protection Agency and now director of IT consulting for Grant Thornton, said the timing is right for a CXO council. The roles of each person on such a council have matured to where they can begin working across the organization, he said.

CIOs were only created when the Clinger-Cohen Act became law in 1996. "I think those organizations are mature enough and stable enough now to entertain how to pull together a CXO council," he said.

There are a few concerns. Ronen noted that the Chief Financial Officers Act created the CFO Council, while the CIO Council and the Procurement Executives Council lack any statutory basis. The deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget, however, oversees all those groups, which could spur interagency cooperation.

Industry has also stressed the need to ensure that CIOs have a proper place among agencies' senior leadership, Grkavac said. "We still would like to see more responsibility given to CIOs," she said, adding it would be disappointing if a CXO council hindered that development.

Treasury officials are developing a charter for the council that will be presented to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill soon.

Dorobek is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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