IT reforms at forefront in Virginia
- By Matt Caterinicchia
- Jan 07, 2003
Virginia Gov. Mark Warner's proposal to restructure information technology
management in the state government — part of a broader package of reforms
— will go before the General Assembly when it convenes this afternoon.
The reforms, which Warner announced Dec. 10, 2002, at a meeting of the
Southern Technology Council, will consolidate state IT functions within
one agency, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, resulting in the
removal of three existing agencies and two government oversight boards.
The biggest beneficiaries of the governor's proposals are the citizens
of Virginia, George Newstrom, Virginia's secretary of technology, said in
an interview this week. "The main focus is providing the citizens with better
services as well as save them a substantial amount of money," he said. "We
want services to be enhanced as well as save money to constituents."
The elimination of the Department of Information Technology, the Department
of Technology Planning and the Virginia Information Providers Network Authority
will not result in a net loss of jobs, Newstrom explained. "There are currently
2,000 jobs in technology. There will be 2,000 jobs when we are done," he
By consolidating about $450 million in annual spending on IT, the state
seeks to generate savings by eliminating redundant activities and taking
advantage of the buying power of the state for computer hardware and software
Along with agency consolidation and the attempt to achieve long-term
cost savings, Warner wants to provide increased opportunities for state
government IT employees. According to Newstrom, government employees will
benefit from the IT reform because the consolidation of the agencies will
"keep our employees at the forefront of technology."
The proposal will include the following opportunities for government
employees that are not readily available under the current system in Virginia's
* Training and retraining of employees to ensure that skills keep pace
with the changing nature of technology.
* Access to technology tools, resources and techniques.
* A professional focus that emphasizes customer service to both state
government agencies and Virginia's citizens.
If the proposal is approved, the legislation will go into effect July
1. "We will be poised and fully ready to implement by this date," Newstrom
"This effort is one of the boldest in the country that I can see," he
said. "We are seeing a tremendous amount of curiosity from other states."
Caterinicchia is a reporting intern for Federal Computer Week.