Circuit

GSA’s Williams has a job, thank you
There was a rumor making its way through the halls of the General Services Administration that GSA acquisition czar Jim Williams was going to leave for a cushy, high-paying private-sector gig.

Well, just to get it out there — it’s not true. We spoke to Williams last week, and he said that even if he was thinking about it, which he isn’t, it wouldn’t be financially advantageous for him to leave until at least 2009. That’s when he will reach the age and years of service necessary for receiving full retirement benefits under the government’s older Civil Service Retirement System. 

Williams stressed that he is not looking. He said he is proud to be a government employee and if he decides to leave, he will not have any talks with anybody until after he is no longer a fed.
Always a class act.

Speaking of retirements...
A Who’s Who of federal information technology past and present gave Mary Mitchell, GSA’s respected technology and policy guru, a fond send-off into retirement earlier this month.

Mitchell’s last day after more than 32 years in government was Jan. 3. A packed crowd at a Clyde’s restaurant in Washington offered stories and gifts to Mitchell, who moved to Charleston, S.C., soon after the going-away party.

During her time in government, Mitchell cemented her legacy as a thinker, doer and techie, said her friends and colleagues who spoke at the event. The gathering was sponsored by GSA and the Amer-
ican Council for Technology and the Industry Advisory Council.

Michael Carleton, the Health and Human Services Department’s chief information officer and ACT’s vice president at large, gave Mitchell a toy BlackBerry to help her deal with crackberry withdrawal. Mitchell responded: “I was on the subway the other day and actually had to read a newspaper because I didn’t have a BlackBerry.”

Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for e-government and IT, presented Mitchell with a gift from the CIO Council and thanked her for all her work over the years, including helping to start the council.

Mark Forman, former OMB administrator for e-government and IT, said Mitchell possesses every trait of a successful government executive: an ability to do her job and a desire to leave a legacy of positive change and achievement.

Marty Wagner, a former GSA official for whom Mitchell worked in the Office of Governmentwide Policy, said he remembered the first time he heard of Mary Mitchell.

“Mary critiqued something we were doing…and she really had some good points,” said Wagner, who now is at the IBM Center for the Business of Government.

USDA’s shifting powers
And then there was, well, almost nobody in the senior ranks of the Agriculture Department’s IT leadership.

In recent weeks, there has been a spate of departures among USDA’s IT leaders. Bob Suda, who had been USDA’s associate CIO for integration and operations, left the agency to become acting director of the Volpe Center, an innovation center for the Transportation Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration. Chris Smith has been named as acting USDA associate CIO.

Also in recent weeks, Jerry Williams, USDA’s deputy CIO, and Chris Niedermayer, the department’s as sociate CIO for information and technology management, announced they were leaving for other posts. In February, Williams will move to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where he has conditionally accepted a position as director of financial improvement under Janice Lambert, ODNI’s chief financial officer. Niedermayer will go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where as program manager he will lead the transformation of IT governance processes for the agency’s IT investments under CIO David Freeland.

That will leave three key vacancies among the seven positions on the USDA CIO leadership roster.

CIO Dave Combs left last year and was replaced by Charles Christopherson, USDA’s chief financial officer, who added the CIO duties to his responsibilities.

Stay tuned. 

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