West lays out FGIPC agenda

The incoming acting president of the board of the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils plans to focus on training and building close ties with member councils.

Barry West, chief information officer for the National Weather Service and executive vice president of FGIPC, will take over as acting president Feb. 1, the day after current FGIPC President John Ortego retires from government service after 32 years. Ortego, director of the National Finance Center in New Orleans, which runs the electronic payroll system for 125 government agencies and manages the Thrift Savings Plan, announced his retirement in October 2002.

FGIPC, a collection of professional groups that fosters communication among federal information technology managers and users and industry, named West acting president after Ortego announced his retirement. FGIPC will elect a president to a two-year term in May, and it is almost certain that West will be elected.

As acting president, West said one of his top priorities will be to work with the Industry Advisory Council (IAC), the largest of the 16 FGIPC councils. He also said that another top priority is encouraging training, especially in homeland security, authentication and new procurement techniques.

"FGIPC is primarily a training organization, and we need to spur more of that," he said. West also wants to foster more collaboration with all the FGIPC councils.

In all likelihood, he will be working with a new executive director of FGIPC. The current director, Alan Balutis, has been unable to resolve differences with the FGIPC and IAC boards over his paid outside consulting work and is negotiating his departure from the federation.

Prior to becoming the National Weather Service's CIO in spring 2002, West was deputy director of the Office of Electronic Government at the General Services Administration.

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