In a long anticipated move, Florida Gov. Rick Scott officially tabbed Jason Allison to be the state’s chief information officer and executive director of the new Agency for State Technology.
Scott made the position permanent Thursday after Allison, who has served his administration in a number of roles, was named the state’s interim CIO since shortly after the agency’s launch this past summer.
“I am confident Jason will do a great job managing and overseeing the state’s technology projects,” Scott said in a statement.
Allison said he was eager to serve the governor and the state in laying the foundation of the new agency, adding “I plan to use the state’s technology resources in the most efficient and effective manner while serving in this capacity.”
The Florida Legislature voted early this year to create the Agency for State Technology to give the state a technology oversight agency. Florida had operated without such an agency – or a CIO – for more than three years following the defunding the Florida Agency for Enterprise Information Technology that was deemed too weak to be effective.
The agency officially formed on July 1 – the beginning of the state’s fiscal year – but the official appointing of a CIO needed to wait until the conclusion of November’s election in which Scott faced a tight race against former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
With the election win behind him, Scott was now able to put a person of his choosing in place on a full-time basis. Allison is not a surprising choice to those who follow the state’s technology, based on Allison working relationship with Scott during the governor’s first term.
Allison served as the information technology policy coordinator in the governor’s Office of Policy and Budget from 2012 until July 2014. From 2011-2012, he was the CIO for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Prior to that, Allison served as a senior IT business consultant at the Agency for Enterprise Information Technology from 2008 to 2011, and the management information systems director for the Florida Department of Health’s Division of Disease Control from 2002 to 2008.
The Agency for State Technology will be in charge of reviewing all technology purchases exceeding $250,000. It will also establish project management and oversight standards and perform project oversight for state agency IT projects that cost at least $10 million. The agency will have about 25 employees, including a chief technology officer and a chief security officer.
In the three years since the last state CIO, Florida agencies have been tasked with running their own technology departments. While the CIOs met regularly as part of a council, there was no general oversight into the programs.
Following costly overruns to an unemployment insurance system that gained statewide attention for its failures and public security breaches at retailers such as Target, a groundswell grew late last year to bring back a CIO with the authority needed.