Amid the leadership alphabet soup that now includes CIOs, CFOs and procurement executives, the Treasury Department is looking to add one more ? a CXO council
Amid the leadership alphabet soup that now includes CIOs, CFOs and procurement executives, the Treasury Department is looking to add one more — a CXO council.
Though early in development, Treasury sees the CXO council as a body that could bring together the leadership of Treasury's 14 agencies — including finance, technical, procurement, legal and human resources — to focus on interagency issues.
"We're all facing the same issues," said Mayi Canales, chief operating officer for Treasury's chief information officer.
"We are just starting" and specifics have not yet been worked out, she said. In fact, the group's name has not even been finalized. One possibility is to call it the CXO Board of Directors. The early idea is to appoint a chairman and vice chairmen. Another idea is to create an executive committee to help direct the group.
The move toward an e-government is driving broader cooperation, Canales said. President Bush's $200 million e-government fund for fiscal 2002 is expected to focus on intergovernmental projects that encourage such relationships, said Joiwind Ronen, director of the Council for Excellence in Government's Intergovernmental Technology Leadership Consortium.
The concept of a CXO council isn't new, Ronen said. "It makes sense that there would be more coordination," she said.
The closest thing Treasury has right now to such an interagency organization is its investment review board, which reviews capital expenditures and includes membership across Treasury.
Olga Grkavac, executive vice president of the Information Technology Association of America's Enterprise Solutions Division, said the concept is more common among private-sector organizations. But anything that encourages federal enterprisewide solutions is a step in the right direction, she said.
Al Pesachowitz, former CIO at the Environmental Protection Agency and now director of IT consulting for Grant Thornton, said the timing is right for a CXO council. The roles of each person on such a council have matured to where they can begin working across the organization, he said.
CIOs were only created when the Clinger-Cohen Act became law in 1996. "I think those organizations are mature enough and stable enough now to entertain how to pull together a CXO council," he said.
There are a few concerns. Ronen noted that the Chief Financial Officers Act created the CFO Council, while the CIO Council and the Procurement Executives Council lack any statutory basis. The deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget, however, oversees all those groups, which could spur interagency cooperation.
Industry has also stressed the need to ensure that CIOs have a proper place among agencies' senior leadership, Grkavac said. "We still would like to see more responsibility given to CIOs," she said, adding it would be disappointing if a CXO council hindered that development.
Treasury officials are developing a charter for the council that will be presented to Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill soon.
Dorobek is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.
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