FCW Insider

Blog archive

FCW Insider: USDA's leadership vacancies

Our eyes spotted several former -- or and soon to be former -- Agriculture Department IT executives having dinner this week. Celebrating? I wasn't there, so it's unclear... but there is much buzz about what exactly is going on at USDA. Those questions arise because of the departure of three well-respected officials ... and many are asking how USDA business is getting done.

There has been just a run of departures at USDA in recent weeks among the agency's IT leadership. Bob Suda, who had been USDA's associate CIO for integration and operations, left that agency to become acting director of the Volpe Center, the innovation center for the Transportation Department's Research and Innovative Technology Administration. Chris Smith has been named as acting USDA associate CIO.

Then, in recent days, Jerry Williams, USDA's deputy chief information officer, and Chris Niedermayer, the department's associate 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 to be director of financial improvement under Janice Lambert, ODNI's chief financial officer. Niedermayer will go to the Patent and Trademark Office, where as program manager he will lead the transformation of information technology governance processes for the agency's IT investments under CIO David Freeland.

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

The USDA CIO leadership roster lists seven top positions, in addition Christopherson. In February, six of the seven will either be vacant or have people in an "acting" capacity. And, of course, Christopherson is a political appointee, so his days are numbered.

They say that nature abhors a vacuum, so... if anybody has insights as to what is going on, I'd love to hear about them.

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Jan 18, 2008 at 12:17 PM


  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.