CIO survey

A Federal Computer Week survey of CIOs in federal, state and local offices found that most are in career slots in which they are less likely to be influenced by politics. Those CIOs feel that they better understand an agency's culture and work within it more effectively than their politically appointed counterparts.

On the other hand, the informal survey, conducted online during the week of April 26, found that more than one-third of the 129 CIO respondents believe a political appointee can raise the profile of information technology within the government. Two-thirds said that politically appointed CIOs have better access to the top leader at an agency.

ChoiceCountPercentage Answered
The level of government you work within is
municipal or county4435.2%
The CIO position you hold is
politically appointed3124.6%
a career position81 64.3%
other 14 11.1%
I have been in my current position for
less than six months 4 3.2%
six months to a year 11 8.7%
one year to two years 21 16.7%
two years to three years 20 15.9%
more than three years 70 55.6%
How long did it take you to feel comfortable and to fully understand your agency's or bureau's lines of business, specific IT challenges and the solutions needed to solve them?
six months 53 42.4%
12 months 28 22.4%
18 months 16 12.8%
two years 21 16.8%
more than three years 7 5.6%
To whom do you report directly?
Departmental secretary or agency head 41 32.8%
Assistant secretary or second in charge at agency 13 10.4%
Governor or mayor 7 5.6%
Second in charge at state or local level10 8.0%
Head of the agency's financial or budget office 7 5.6%
Chief operating officer level 20 16.0%
Other 27 21.6%
Is the person to whom you directly report
elected? 15 11.9%
politically appointed? 66 52.4%
hold a career position? 36 28.6%
other 9 7.1%
Do you have an acting CIO or a permanent CIO?
Acting 10 8.2%
Permanent 112 91.8%
How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "Politically appointed CIOs are more effective in their position and have better leverage to accomplish more tasks."
Strongly disagree 31 25.0%
Somewhat disagree 47 37.9%
Somewhat agree 34 27.4%
Strongly agree 12 9.7%
The advantage(s) of a politically appointed CIO is (are) that the political CIO (check all that apply)
has better access to the top leader of the agency or bureau. 85 65.9%
can offer fresh ideas. 45 34.9%
raises the profile of IT within government. 52 40.3%
can bring in best practices from the private sector. 30 23.3%
commands more respect than a career CIO. 12 9.3%
is not held back by the bureaucratic culture. 37 28.7%
is a better manager. 7 5.4%
can work better across government. 18 14.0%
The advantage(s) of a career CIO is (are) that the career CIO (check all that apply)
tends to remain in the CIO position for a longer time and can affect more change. 85 65.9%
understands the agency culture and can work more effectively within it. 105 81.4%
is not influenced as much by politics. 71 55.0%
has a better IT skill set. 46 35.7%
is a better manager. 30 23.3%
understands the agency mission better. 73 56.6%
can work better across government. 62 48.1%
Should agencies have two CIOs, a politically appointed CIO and a career deputy CIO?
Yes 20 15.9%
No 106 84.1%
How strongly do you agree with the following statement: "Each agency/bureau should have a CXO Council, which would include top C-level executives such as the chief financial officer, the chief privacy officer, the chief technology officer, the chief operating officer, the chief human resources officer, chief knowledge officer and others?"
Strongly disagree 18 14.3%
Somewhat disagree 18 14.3%
Somewhat agree 50 39.7%
Strongly agree 40 31.7%
Do you think the Federal CIO Council is an effective organization?
Yes 21 16.8%
No 28 22.4%
No opinion 76 60.8%
Do you believe the National Association of State Chief Information Officers is an effective organization?
Yes 31 24.8%
No 21 16.8%
No opinion 73 58.4%
Should each department/agency have a line item budget for all IT spending under the control of the CIO?
Yes 98 79.0%
No 19 15.3%
No opinion 7 5.6%
Does the CIO position have enough authority within your agency to fulfill the mandates and meet the requirements imposed by The Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 and the E-Gov Act of 2002?
Yes 54 43.2%
No 31 24.8%
No opinion 40 32.0%


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