New Louisiana CIO out already

Just four months after he became Louisiana's first chief information officer and a week after he was confirmed by the state Senate, James DuBos resigned June 15 amid talk of impropriety involving a company he formerly worked for, a state official said.

"He kept running or bumping up against speculation about his past association with his private companies," said Sarah Kracke, deputy commissioner with the state Division of Administration, which oversees the Office of Information Technology (www.state.la.us/oit) that was headed by the 34-year-old DuBos.

Problems started when the state Department of Social Services (DSS) awarded a contract to Exodus Communications Inc., an Internet hosting and management services company. DuBos was a former managing director for Exodus Professional Services, which in 1999 had purchased a company, Cohesive Technology Solutions Inc., which two years earlier had bought R&D Networking Inc., a company DuBos founded, Kracke said.

She said a lobbyist for a competing firm, Irvine, Calif.-based TekInsight, which lost the DSS contract, "basically tried to incite lawmakers that there was some impropriety action on the part of Jim."

"They were hinting at impropriety on Jim's behalf," Kracke said. "There was absolutely none."

In fact, she said, DuBos was asked by TekInsight's lobbyist to intervene in the process when the company lost the award. She said DuBos declined to be involved, saying he could not and would not manipulate the technology contract.

"They were trying to insinuate something was going on," she said. "And he just felt as if though this was going to be a constant barrier...to make progress. He felt as though this was going to be a hindrance."

In an e-mail statement sent by TekInsight spokeswoman Linda Wise, the company said it supported the appointment of DuBos "based on his impressive credentials and extensive experience. It stated that company officials were "surprised and puzzled" when the company lost the contract.

"TekInsight consistently provides high service levels and competitive pricing, and our customers at the Department of Social Services were very satisfied with our service and pricing," the statement continued. "Despite repeated requests, our company was denied access to the decision process and has been offered no explanation for the contract award. The company believes that certain state procurement rules and procedures designed to ensure fair and open competition were not followed during this process. Consequently, TekInsight filed an injunction in order to gain further clarification."

Steve Mayer, director of the DSS general counsel bureau, confirmed that TekInsight filed an injunction with the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, although he said he wasn't clear what the requested remedy was in the injunction.

DuBos' resignation, Kracke said, shocked people in her office and members of Gov. Mike Foster's administration, who apparently tried to talk him out of it. She called DuBos a "super, super guy absolutely right for the job."

In a previous interview, DuBos, a native of Louisiana, said he accepted the CIO position, created through a 1998 executive order, because he wanted to give something back to his community.

No acting CIO has been named yet, Kracke said.

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