James Collins, the deputy chief of staff to Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, has been nominated as the state’s next chief information officer to lead the Delaware Department of Technology and Information.
If confirmed Collins will replace Jim Sills, who announced last month he is leaving state government to become the chief executive of North Carolina-based Mechanics and Farmers Bank.
“James understands that nearly every initiative we undertake as a state involves information technology,” Markell said in a statement. “His expertise in this field along with his impressive record of developing and implementing innovative services make him an ideal candidate to serve as the state’s Chief Information Officer.”
Collins worked in the technology sector prior to joining state government, serving as a senior consultant with Peregrine Systems, an enterprise software company, and in a number of rolls at Maximus Inc., a government contractor specializing in health and human services programs.
He spent 10 years as the director of Delaware’s Division of Professional Regulation in the state’s Department of State, where he also served as the agency’s deputy secretary. Part of his role included expanding the state’s e-government initiatives and the use of IT.
“I am thrilled and humbled to be nominated by Governor Markell to lead DTI,” Collins said in a statement. “If confirmed, I will take very seriously the agency’s most important obligation to safeguard the state’s data and information systems, and to provide agencies with strong support in order to help them deliver the highest quality services to our ultimate customers – the people of Delaware.”
While working at the Delaware Department of Professional Regulation, Collins led the establishment of the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program database aimed at combating prescription drug abuse.
Some of Collins’ other key projects included deploying an electronic medical records system at the Delaware Veterans Home that boosted revenues by 22 percent, increased public access to information through the Public Service Commission’s Web portal and created the Veterans Service Directory, an online searchable database of organizations that provides assistance to veterans, military members and their families.
Collins left the department in January to join Markell’s staff where his duties included being the governor’s policy advisor on technology-related issues.
The Delaware Senate must confirm Collins’ appointment before he takes the position. The Senate will meet Oct. 8 when the appointment could be discussed. In the meantime, Bill Hickox, the chief operating officer of Delaware’s Department of Technology and Information, will act as CIO.