Commerce's CIO to leave

Editor's note:This story was updated at 12:03 p.m. Oct. 16. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

The Commerce Department’s chief information officer, Barry West, has decided to retire after 24 years of government service.

West said his last day will be Jan. 1, 2008, and he will take some time off to decide what to do next.

“I’ve gotten some offers [from government and industry] but haven’t made a decision,” West said. “I’d like to do something different, but I’m not sure what that is.”

He added that Commerce has not yet made a decision on who would replace him on an acting basis.

West’s decision to leave Commerce comes at an interesting time.

For the past several weeks, there has been talk in the federal information technology community that West was under investigation by Commerce’s inspector general.

West wouldn’t confirm or deny an investigation, but he said “there was some stuff that came up, and we dealt with it, and both sides are not to talk about it. It has nothing to do with my decision to move on.”

Additionally, there seems to be a migration from the agency under way. West’s deputy CIO, John McManus, left government Sept. 28, and West’s immediate boss, Deputy Secretary David Sampson, stepped down in August.

West started his career in the military, supported Air Force One and spent time at the General Services Administration working on the federal government’s Web portal, then named FirstGov.gov, before becoming CIO at Commerce's National Weather Service.

He then moved on to be CIO at the Federal Emergency Management Agency before returning to Commerce in 2006.

“Being involved in cutting edge things in government like Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, IT security and IP Version 6 has been great,” he said. “Working at FEMA during Katrina and during the two biggest hurricane seasons ever was unbelievable, too.”

West said he left IT once before to work in the meteorology field, so he may jump from the technology field again.

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