New e-gov chief is not governmentwide CIO

New e-gov chief is not governmentwide CIO


Mark Forman will head up federal electronic-government efforts, oversee the e-government fund proposed by President Bush and direct the Chief Information Officers Council. Just don’t call him the federal CIO.

Forman, who reports for work today as the associate director for information technology and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget, will function as the governmentwide CIO in all but title.

The new e-gov chief himself expects to get things done.

“What I bring to the job is not just that I understand e-government, but also that I know how to change an organization. That’s one of the reasons I’ll be successful,” Forman said.
“I’m a people person, and I like to act fast. My job is to get things done quickly and efficiently,” he added.

Mark Forman
In announcing Forman’s appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, OMB Director Mitchell E. Daniels made it clear that the administration still intends for the as-yet-unnamed deputy director for management to shoulder the CIO mantle. Forman will report to the deputy director, a post that requires confirmation.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy, plans to proceed with legislation to establish a federal CIO.

“It’s less important what you call it and where you locate it than that someone is assigned” to focusing on e-government and centralizing IT management, a Davis spokesman said. “Rep. Davis will give it time.”

The spokesman said Davis “hopes that this post will be given the power and authority to carry out its mission and bring the federal government up to new-economy speed.”

In a statement, OMB said Forman will be the administration’s leading e-government executive, making sure agencies use IT to improve management and efficiency.

Hinting at his and OMB’s likely priorities, Forman said successful e-government must take place in two stages.

“It is largely a convergence process with two steps. The first is agencies in the same business must simplify their processes,” he said. That will let employees better help citizens and other constituents.

Only after the government’s own processes are integrated and simplified, Forman said, can agencies implement the second phase, offering online self-service directly to citizens.
If e-government doesn’t happen in that order, “it’s a nightmare,” he said.

Reformation man

Forman brings a history of both industry and government experience to the job. A one-time White House fellow, he had a seven-year stint, ending in 1997, as senior staff member of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Those years were marked by passage of several landmark reform bills, including the Federal Acquisition and Streamlining Act and the Information Technology Management Reform Act.

“Mark was involved in all the reform acts,” recalled Paul Brubaker, president of e-government solutions and global services at Commerce One Inc. of Pleasanton, Calif., and a former staff member for William Cohen during his tenure as Maine’s Republican senator. “He definitely has the right pedigree for the job and knows what it takes for e-gov.”

After his Capitol Hill tour, Forman worked for four years at IBM Corp., where he directed the e-government consulting practice in the company’s global services unit. Until Friday, he was vice president of electronic business for Unisys Corp.’s U.S. federal government group in McLean, Va.

At Unisys, he said, his challenge was to reorganize the old-line systems integrator around the concept of e-government.

Forman said he is most proud of IBM work done for the government of Shanghai, China, and for Washington state’s Department of Social and Health Services.

About the Author

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