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FCW Insider: So who is left at USDA?

So two more departures from the Agriculture Department. Over the weekend, Paul Brubaker, the administrator of the Transportation Department's Research and Innovative Technology Administration, sent an e-mail message to staff letting them know that Cheryl McQueary will be joining the organization as deputy administrator. It states:

I am delighted to announce that Cheryl McQueary will be joining RITA on March 3rd as Deputy Administrator. 

Cheryl is coming to us from the U.S. Department of Agriculture where she served the Administration as Assistant Chief Information Officer for Transformation Programs where she and her team created and are deploying the largest and most complex single messaging and collaboration system in the Department's history. Cheryl has also worked a number of management and policy-related issues including organizational analysis and design, leadership and green technology initiatives. 

Cheryl also has extensive private sector management experience and has served in a number of technical roles at Bell Laboratories, AT&T and Lucent Technologies.  She is also bringing extensive experience in program management, operations and design engineering to RITA.   She has a bachelor's degree from Drew University and a Master's degree from Fairleigh Dickinson… .

Cheryl brings tremendous energy and enthusiasm to the role of Deputy Administrator as well as the right combination of relevant public and private sector skills that will enable her to hit the ground running. Since her selection, we have been in daily communication so that she will be well prepared on her first day. We are looking forward to her coming on board and I am anticipating she will assume ownership of a number of key initiatives. We look forward to her joining the RITA team.   


Paul R. Brubaker

Of course, this marks yet another departure from USDA, where…well, who is left?

And that's apparently not all. We hear that Lynn Allen, USDA's associate chief information officer for cyber security (the agency's chief information security officer) has announced that he is leaving to move to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As they say, this story is developing, but we'll let you know.

And the remarkable thing is that nobody seems to care that USDA's CIO and CFO organizations are seemingly dissolving. FCW wrote  a story on it earlier this month, but more people have left since then and there has been little talk about it otherwise. An excerpt of that story:

Recent departures of senior career executives from the Agriculture Department’s chief information officer’s office have left observers inside and outside government wondering why employees are in a rush to leave. A senior USDA official said it is a simply a case of experienced executives seeking new opportunities, but others say personality conflicts and leadership style are causing the exodus.

USDA is losing decades of experience from well-respected employees, including Bob Suda, Chris Niedermayer and Jerry Williams, at a time when such employees are most valuable. At the same time, a natural brain drain is expected from a change in administration and retirement losses.

Chuck Christopherson Jr., the department’s CIO and chief financial officer, explains the situation as the result of dynamic changes at USDA. Under Christopherson, who became CIO in July, The department is pushing initiatives to standardize information technology and business processes from headquarters down to agencies. Some IT initiatives, such as e-grant-making and secure identity verification cards, are mature enough to be deployed in USDA agencies.

But Christopherson is also seeking agency participation in generating new ideas and contributing to development.

Agencies are where the workforce is and where they need the initiatives that USDA headquarters is spearheading, Christopherson said.

If the entire senior leadership GSA left, people would be talking about it, so, it seems interesting.

I should note that I have reached out to Chistopherson, but to avail. I'd be interested in his perspective, beyond what I read.

Regardless, best to both
McQueary and Allen.

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Feb 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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