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Government CIO jobs up for grabs in NSW

by Paris Cowan •
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After a succession of resignations from NSW Government departments in the last 6 months, many of the State’s largest agencies have been left with vacant or temporarily filled Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions.

Firstly, there is the potential for an imminent IT shake-up at Transport, where the current executive structure does not reflect the recent consolidation of strategic and policy control within the lead agency, Transport NSW.

Transport NSW was established in May 2010, to integrate the operation and planning of the state’s transport under and single Director General and a single budget. The Shared Services Blueprint also requires that all of the Transport agencies transition their IT needs to a single shared services provider.

However, Transport NSW does not yet have its own CIO or IT strategy. Instead it is represented on the NSW GCIO Executive Council by Joe Abraham from the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and Roland Oderbolz from RailCorp.

Housing NSW, within the Human Services Super Department, has also been left with a vacancy at the top of its IT unit after Vladas Leonas announced his resignation in August.  It is understood that Executive Director of Corporate Finance and IT, Michael Kuenzle, briefly acted in the CIO role, but it is now being filled by Deputy CIO Melissa McCabe.

Greg Wells, who stepped in to replace Craig Smith as the NSW Health CIO in July is yet to have his position made permanent.

NSW Health has said that Mr Wells will remain in this position until further notice is given.   If past conduct is anything to go by, this arrangement could remain in place for some time, as Wells’ predecessor remained in the Acting position for 12 months leading up to his resignation.

Applications closed for the newly established CIO role at Communities NSW last week, and the successful candidate will answer to the newly appointed Acting Executive Director of Corporate Services, Jo Grisard, who up until recently held an equivalent position at NSW Community Services (DoCS).  

The biggest name to leave the public service in favour of the private sector was Stephen Wilson, former CIO at the Department of Education and Training (DET).

Wilson left the $307,100 per annum position in June this year to take up a job as Head of Technology at Qantas.

At DET, Wilson was in charge of the biggest IT department in the NSW Government, and was in charge of the State’s rollout of the Digital Education Revolution’s Laptops in Schools scheme, and his own brainchild, the Connected Classrooms project.

The Department has only recently begun advertising to find a permanent replacement this month, 8 weeks after Wilson announced his departure.  The five-year contract is to be filled by “high calibre candidates [with] significant leadership experience in large and complex organisations,” says the recruitment posting.

DET’s Maria-Claudia Romero is temporarily filling the position.

The State Library has also recently closed applications for the position of head of the Digital Library Services division.

The CIOs that eventually fill these positions will have a lot of work to do over the next 24 months as they oversee the transition of ICT functions at their departments to one of 6 shared services clusters, in keeping with the requirements of the NSW Blueprint for Shared and Corporate Services.

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  • NSW
  • IT Services
  • Health
  • Human Services
  • CIO
  • Communities NSW
  • DET
  • Greg Wells
  • NSW Health
  • NSW Transport
  • Qantas
  • Stephen Wilson