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Ira Hobbs, the Agriculture Department's deputy CIO, will become CIO of the Treasury Department on June 13, the Treasury Department said Thursday. Hobbs, who will report to deputy secretary Samuel Bodman, Treasury's No. 2 official, replaces Drew Ladner, who stepped down April 30.
Traditionally, the Treasury CIO is a career civil-service appointee. That's the case with Hobbs, who's worked in federal policy development and IT program management at Agriculture for 22 years.
Unlike his predecessors and successor, Ladner was a political appointee, brought in to shake up Treasury's IT operations. "I was appointed to achieve discrete, targeted goals in information technology governance, operations, and policy," Ladner wrote in his resignation letter to President Bush. "Today, that mission is complete. While I am proud of the measurable results that have been achieved, it's time to convert the CIO position back to the original civil-service role and for me to return to the private sector." Ladner didn't say what his next job will be.
During Ladner's tenure, the CIO gained power at Treasury. For instance, the CIO now approves all departmental IT investments--$2.6 billion for the current fiscal year--including the modernization of the Internal Revenue Service. During Ladner's watch, Treasury launched departmentwide portfolio-management systems aimed at cutting costs and boosting efficiency. It also began an infrastructure-consolidation effort that incorporated Web services. The department created a chief information security office and expanded security managed services, including the creation of the Computer Incident Response Center. Late last year, Treasury completed an enterprisewide licensing agreement that used reallocated maintenance-payment fees to extend software licenses across the department.
Working with the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Federal CIO Council, Hobbs has championed a variety of cross-government initiatives aimed at improving business processes and implement best practices. Since 1999, he has co-chaired the Federal CIO Council's Workforce and Human Capital for IT Committee. Among his accomplishments, according to a Treasury Department statement, Hobbs commissioned the National Academy of Public Administrators to study the state of the federal IT workforce. Once completed, he worked with OMB, the Office of Personnel Management, the CIO Council and Congress to build a broad coalition of support for implementing the significant changes recommended by the National Academy, which included changes in laws and regulations. "He has a demonstrated track record of working collaboratively with others," the Treasury statement says, "setting a clear vision for the future and being a catalyst for change."