New Utah CIO excited about e-gov
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jan 12, 2003
State of Utah
W. Val Oveson, a managing director at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC and a former
two-term lieutenant governor of Utah, has been selected by Gov. Mike Leavitt
to become the state's new chief information officer.
Oveson is a Utah native and has been commuting to Washington, D.C.,
where he currently works. However, he said he has spent most of his career
in government and is "really excited" to return.
"[Leavitt] needs a leader, a diplomat, a sociologist and someone who
understands state government really well," said Oveson, who was elected
lieutenant governor from 1984 to 1993. His appointment as CIO is subject
to state senate confirmation.
Oveson will replace Phillip Windley, whose resignation was effective
Dec. 31, 2002. A state audit last September criticized Windley's hiring
practices as showing favoritism toward former colleagues at a now-defunct
company where he once worked. Windley apparently resigned voluntarily.
Oveson said he's looking forward to leading several enterprise computing
projects that are already under way and that have huge implications for
He also sees electronic government growing in the state, which already
has 97 services online. About another 300 to 400 services can be placed
online, he said, noting that each would have to be evaluated on its cost-effectiveness.
Utah, like many state governments, is facing a budget shortfall. Oveson
said that technology is one way to save money in the long run.
"I know Gov. Leavitt has that vision," he said. "The use of technology
in the long term is one of the solutions to the budget crisis." He added
that the challenge of investment, particularly in legacy systems and modernization,
"has us all perplexed," but new technology solutions are helping governments
face that problem to a degree.
Although admittedly "not a technologist per se," Oveson has managed
large information technology projects. As chairman of the Utah State Tax
Commission from 1993 to 1998, he oversaw the redesign of its computer systems
and creation of the Utah Tax Law Library on CD-ROM.
In 1998, he was appointed by then-Treasury Department Secretary Robert
Rubin to serve as the National Taxpayer Advocate for the Internal Revenue
Service and was responsible for managing 2,300 employees nationwide. He
said he was involved with then-IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti's modernization
program at the organizational and technology levels.
In 2000, Oveson, who holds an accounting degree from Brigham Young University
and is a certified public accountant, joined PricewaterhouseCoopers to lead
the knowledge management function for the company's state and local tax