Published on June 12, 2024, 8:29 pm

Hawaii is undergoing a potential restructuring that could alter the hierarchy within its government technology sector. A recent bill, SB 2516, passed by lawmakers in May and awaiting Gov. Josh Green’s signature, proposes that the state’s chief information officer (CIO) would report to the state comptroller instead of directly to the governor. This shift aims to enhance financial oversight and streamline technology operations across various departments.

Under the new legislation, although the CIO will continue to be appointed by the governor, reporting to the state comptroller will be a significant change. The Office of Enterprise Technology Services, led by the CIO and housed within the Department of Accounting and General Services alongside the state comptroller, plays a crucial role in overseeing statewide information technology governance.

The bill also introduces the creation of an information technology steering committee comprising thirteen members appointed from different legislative offices to provide additional oversight and guidance to the state technology office. The CIO will chair this committee, as per the legislation.

Former CIO Doug Murdock, who retired in May, expressed concerns about this legislative change. He believed that tethering the CIO role to the deputy director under the Comptroller might diminish autonomy and authority within Hawaii’s government IT sector. Murdock recommended allowing the information technology steering committee ample time to study this transition thoroughly and provide recommendations for future legislative sessions.

In light of differing perspectives on this proposed restructuring, it remains essential for Hawaii to carefully assess how these changes could impact its technology landscape moving forward.

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