Richard Spires resigns

UPDATED: After nearly two months on leave under mysterious circumstances, CIO sends e-mail to colleagues that confirms departure but leaves many questions unanswered.

Richard Spires

Richard Spires resigned as DHS CIO on May 7.

Richard Spires, who had been on leave for nearly two months, resigned his position as Department of Homeland Security Chief Information Officer on May 7.

In an e-mail sent to various DHS officials and shared with FCW by a source within DHS, Spires wrote:

“Today I have resigned from the Department of Homeland Security. It has been a privilege to work with such a stellar group of public servants to support such important missions. I have served as the Department’s CIO for more than 3 1/2 years, and I take pride in working with you to have IT more effectively support the Homeland Security missions and business as we also have worked to more efficiently deliver our services. I have learned much from you and I will miss you.”

A DHS official, speaking on background, told FCW that the department had accepted Spires resignation, and that Deputy CIO Margie Graves continues to serve as the acting CIO.

Spires' leave was paid, and his last day receiving government pay will be May 17.

Rumors have swirled since news of Spires' leave broke on April 1, ultimately leading House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) to send DHS a formal inquiry asking the department to provide an explanation for Spires "being placed on either voluntary or non-voluntary leave on March 15."

The inquiry, which also asked DHS to provide Graves' job history, instructed DHS to respond by May 6, but DHS did not meet that deadline, according to a House Homeland Security Committee official.

DHS has officially maintained that Spires went on elected leave beginning March 15, yet several sources have told FCW Spires' leave was not of his choosing, and may have been precipitated by fundamental disagreements over CIO's authority over department-wide budgeting and purchasing of commodity IT.

Spires was also vice-chairman of the federal CIO Council, but requests for comment to the Office of Management and Budget regarding how that position will be filled were not returned.

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