Evans named new E-Gov chief

CAMBRIDGE, Md. — Karen Evans, the chief information officer at the Energy Department and a rising star in the government information technology world, is expected to be named to replace E-Government Chief Mark Forman.

Clay Johnson, the Office of Management and Budget's deputy director for management, announced Forman's replacement on Wednesday morning at the annual Interagency Resources Management Conference in Cambridge, Md.

He said the White House today would announce its intention to replace Forman with Evans, who is also vice chair of the CIO Council.

"Karen has done an outstanding job as vice chair. We're going to miss her in that role," said Ira Hobbs, co-chairman of the council's Workforce and Human Capital for IT Committee.

But he noted that Evans and Forman have worked closely together on the Bush administration's e-government initiatives. "Karen and Mark were almost symbiotic in their relationship. It is almost like a natural extension," Hobbs said.

Evans, who has been a management analyst at the Agriculture Department and head of the information technology shop at the Office of Justice Programs, was widely seen as the frontrunner for the job since Forman announced his resignation last month to take a job in the private sector.

Evans takes over the post at a time when there is a money crunch. Although Forman tried time and again to get $45 million for an e-government fund, Congress only appropriated $5 million in fiscal 2003. The Senate has slashed the fund to $1 million for fiscal 2004, and congressional negotiators are expected to try to increase the money for cross-agency e-government initiatives later this month.

Hobbs said it is good to have Evans step into that role because it means the initiatives can maintain their momentum. "It's going to be tough. Mark set a strong foundation, a very fast pace. That's always difficult to come behind," he said. "It's like we didn't stop the train to let Mark off, and we've got a capable engineer to keep the train moving."

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