Conn. puts off IT merger

Connecticut Department of Information Technology

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has postponed state officials' plan to consolidate all information technology personnel pending the selection of a new commissioner for the state's IT department.

Since taking over the governor's office July 1 after Gov. John Rowland resigned, Rell has taken several steps to put her own stamp on state operations. That includes creating a task force to evaluate contracting practices and announcing a "Blueprint for Restoring Integrity in State Government" to follow 133 recommendations from that task force.

Connecticut's chief information officer, Rock Regan, announced his decision to step down shortly after the change in administration. He was one of the longest-serving state CIOs, holding the position for more than seven years.

The transfer of approximately 350 IT employees from various Connecticut agencies to the Department of Information Technology was to take place Oct. 1 under the centralization plan. Other states have made similar moves during the past decade to bring all state IT employees and functions under the state CIO's direct control to improve service and save money. The California Performance Review, which was released this summer and proposes thousands of recommendations to reform the entire state government, includes recommendations for centralizing IT personnel and functions.

With that action suspended in Connecticut, however, IT workers will continue to coordinate with the central department while still reporting to managers at their respective agencies.

"Instead of consolidation, I want to focus on selecting a new commissioner for the department," Rell said in a statement. "His or her first major task will be a review of DOIT's current operations."

According to staff in Rell's office, this change will not have any impact on the state's budget, since the fiscal 2005 budget allows for the centralization but doesn't require it.

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