Daniels departing as OMB chief

Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell Daniels Jr., who promoted the president's Management Agenda and kept a tight rein on information technology spending, announced his resignation today to make an expected run for governor of Indiana.

Daniels will be leaving OMB in 30 days, and no decision has been made on his replacement, an OMB spokesman said. But all of the President's Management Agenda items will continue forward, no matter who is leading OMB, the spokesman said.

Information technology officials attending the semiannual CIO Summit in Savannah, Ga., sponsored by FCW Media Group, said they did not expect any major changes in budget philosophy with Daniels' departure.

"Mitch has done a fantastic job. He's held us accountable," said Steve Cooper, the chief information officer at the Homeland Security Department. Cooper also worked with Daniels at Eli Lilly and Co., the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical firm.

Cooper said Daniels understood the strategic value of IT, and at the same time, he made clear that OMB "expected us to make wise investments."

"The answer is not throwing more money at a project," Cooper said.

Tim Campen, the White House CIO, said Daniels "has been a real mainstay for the President's Management Agenda."

He said he hopes Daniels' successor continues to support e-government and the work of Mark Forman, the administrator of OMB's Office of E-Government and Information Technology.

Nevertheless, Carla von Bernewitz, the director of the Army Enterprise Integration Oversight Office, said Daniels is leaving at a "critical time for the IT world."

Just this week, OMB issued guidance to departments and agencies on how to proceed with budget planning for fiscal 2005, with the message that every expenditure would have to be backed up with a solid business case.

Diane Frank contributed to this report.

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