West Virginia's CTO resigning

West Virginia Governor's Office of Technology

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"Ready for action"

Keith Comstock, West Virginia's chief technology officer, will resign his

position May 10 — a move that also affects state governments' representation

on the federal CIO Council.

"It was a personal decision," said Comstock, who was appointed in January

2001 and ran the West Virginia Governor's Office of Technology. "We're trying

to make a nice smooth transition, but I decided it was time to look for

a new challenge."

Comstock, who handed in his resignation two weeks ago, also was the

National Association of State Chief Information Officers' ({www.nascio.org/}

www.nascio.org) liaison to the federal CIO Council.

Rock Regan, Connecticut's CIO and the current president of NASCIO, said

April 24 that Ohio CIO Greg Jackson had been tapped to replace Comstock

on the federal council.

Regan said he was "a little surprised" by Comstock's resignation. "But

this is the world we live in now — we live [with] a lot of change," he

said. "I haven't had a chance to talk to him directly so I'm not sure what

his plans are, but I wish him the best and wish him well. He was a good

person to work with."

Comstock was named the group's representative to the federal council

more than three months ago in order to present a collective view of state

government policies, objectives and issues. In recent years, NASCIO has

emerged as an influential group affecting technology policy across the nation,

and collaboration between the federal and state governments has increased

concurrently.

"Those were things I really enjoyed doing," said Comstock, referring

to NASCIO activities. "Of course I'm going to continue to support NASCIO....

Officially or unofficially, there are some very important things we're working

on and some very important balls that we don't want dropped."

Before joining the government, Comstock was a top executive with Clarksburg,

W.Va.-based Micah Systems Inc., an information technology firm founded by

his father. Later, in 1994, he and his brother co-founded an Internet/intranet

development business called Fenwick Technologies Inc., also with headquarters

in West Virginia.

Comstock said he wasn't "at liberty to say" what he will do next, but

in the meantime will spend time with his family. "I think after 15 months

of 80-plus hours a week, I'm not in any rush to jump into the next major

project," he said. "When I decide, I'll let everybody know."

Comstock also said he plans to continue to work with the state in some

capacity. "The governor and I were friends before this and will remain friends,"

he said. "There are a lot of initiatives that are important. There's a lot

still to be done. I'll probably just wear a different hat."

Among his accomplishments, he pointed to building a strategy around

the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and modernizing

state procurement laws.

"One of West Virginia's biggest challenges, quite frankly, was our procurement

laws, which were written in a time and in an age that never envisioned technology,

he said. "Some of the changes that we made there were to empower our agencies

who have a budget and a technology need to get that technology need in a

timely fashion. If there's been any one overriding challenge in West Virginia,

it's been that. Certainly, we're in the process of launching several modernizations

programs as far as replacing our legacy systems."

A replacement for Comstock as CTO has not yet been named.

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