Transition


This morning's opening panel is discussing transition.  At least 22 governors will change this year.  There could be as many as 35, I believe.  When they change most will also change the CIO for the state since that usually an appointed position.  Most CIOs at the conference have never been through an administration transition and so I'm sure this is a topic on the minds of many here.  Each of the panelists has significant experience with multiple governors.  

Charlie Gerhards (CIO, PA) and Carolyn Purcell (CIO, TX) both talk about the enthusiasm that new Governors bring to the job.  Charlie says that most Governor's come in thinking that they'll change 90% of governor and are happy when they leave if they've change 10%.  Carolyn says that every Governor and Legislator who comes into office comes in with the goal of making government efficient and good, but that they all have different approaches and different areas that they emphasize.  Carolyn has survived three Governors, so she probably understands how to get along. 

Quentin Wilson, Acting Commissioner, Missouri Department of Higher Education makes the point that new Governors what action and impact.   He uses the acronym FIRST to describe his approach to satisfying this need for action and impact:  Focus on a few important things. Do things that have Impact.  Governor's want to be Responsive to constituents.  Governors like Speed.  Technology is the tool for making this happen. 

Marlene Lockard, Vice President E-Government Strategy, EzGov (and a former chief of staff to a Governor and transition team leader) makes the point that Governors understand that the campaign is over and that they need to govern and so they're not as quick to clean house as some might think.  She emphasizes the need to demonstrate your expertise to the next Governor if you want to keep the job.  She says to avoid being political and keep lines of communication open with both sides. 

The audieance was asked whether they thought that a CIO should try to stay on or make way for the next administration.  (There's a nifty little audience feedback system at all these NASCIo conferences.) 70% said they thought they should stay on.  I guess its hard to predict how I'd feel if Gov. Leavitt were leaving and I was in a tansition situation, but frankly I can't imagine wanting to do this job for someone else.  Gov. Leavitt has such a keen interest in technology and understands the impact it can have.  That makes this job interesting and worth doing. 

If you're interested in Federal government transitions, the Plum Book offers some interesting insights.