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Fed 100s... and the role of CIOs

This weekend, we pulled together an esteemed, all-star group, all of whom gave up their Saturday to review the hundreds of nominations to select those who will make up the Federal 100 for this year. The list will not be out until the March 20 issue, which comes out in conjunction with the annual awards banquet.

The discussion among the judges is totally off the record – something we take very seriously because it is important that the judges be able to discuss issues without concern that something they say will end up in print in one way or another.

So, without giving up anything that was said, the discussion solidified my person belief that our annual Watch List issue, which came out on Monday, was right to focus on CIOs. Of course, the question we asked is, "Do CIOs matter?" (And, if fact, we are asking you that question too in the FCW.com poll... and it is interesting -- as of today, the poll is evenly split!)

Ten years after the Clinger-Cohen Act was signed into law, there is still a real question about whether CIOs truly have a seat at the senior management table… and whether they should. There are some who argue that CIOs don't actually do anything. I, however, would tend to argue that any good organization needs good leadership. The difficult position for CIOs is that they have to provide leadership for within the IT shop, but they also need to provide that leadership with the agency leadership. That is a theme you will find coming from all of our experts whether it be Karen Evans, Jim Flyzik or Bruce McConnell. And that is no small task.

The one thing that struck me as I was reading these stories is how difficult the CIO job has become – they have scores of issues on their agenda from information sharing to electronic records to accessibility. Yet they have very little true authority. I suppose we shouldn't really be surprised that the turnover among these senior leaders is so great these days.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jan 10, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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