Arkansas governor creates Office of Transformation, appoints chief transformation officer
Following the recent departure of the state’s chief technology officer, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday the creation of an Office of Transformation and a new officer role to run it.
Hutchinson appointed Amy Fecher as chief transformation officer, who will run the new office and report to the governor. Her mandate is to “prioritize efficiencies,” and she is charged with creation of a statewide strategic plan, centralization of state services and encouragement of citizen engagement.
Fecher serves as executive vice president of operations for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and is the governor’s designee on the Delta Regional Authority — responsibilities she will retain through her new designation.
For reasons not yet public, former Chief Technology Officer Mark Myers was asked by the governor to resign late November. Department of Information Systems (DIS) deputy director Yessica Jones is serving as Myers’ replacement in the interim. Fecher will not replace the CTO role, she told StateScoop, but will work closely with whoever ends up in that position.
“One of the things a lot of people have said in comments on the articles and blogs is, ‘You’re creating bureaucracy to get rid of bureaucracy,’ but the governor’s really not,” Fecher said. “I’m taking this on as an additional role … with no added salary. I thought that was a very strong sign the governor supports leading in efficiencies from the top down.”
Beyond pursuing the governor’s priorities of consolidation and increasing citizen usage of digital services, Fecher will help create a strategic plan that spans state government. Outside of budgeting, Arkansas does not have a strategic plan for each state agency, Fecher said.
A report by conservative think tank Arkansas Policy Foundation called the Efficiency Project will serve as the foundation of Fecher’s continued search for ways to lower the operating cost of government, she said.
“They went in and studied 20 of the larger state agencies in state government and they made some recommendations, so I will start diving deeper into a lot of those recommendations and will consider implementing them,” she said.
Arkansas’ announcement follows a similar one in November when the Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) appointed Brandon Williams as the state’s first digital transformation officer.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated shortly after original publication to include comments from Amy Fecher.