Florida has named Jason Allison as its interim chief information officer and the executive director of the new Agency for State Technology, sources confirmed to StateScoop.
Allison has a long history with Florida’s state government, most recently serving as the information technology policy coordinator for Gov. Rick Scott within the state’s Office of Policy and Budget.
Allison also served as the CIO for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and as a senior IT business consultant for Florida’s Agency for Enterprise Information Technology, the predecessor to the Agency for State Technology.
The Agency for State Technology officially launched on July 1, the beginning of Florida’s fiscal year, after being signed into law this spring. The agency’s creation brings the end to a three-year period during which the state lacked a technology oversight body following the defunding of the Agency for Enterprise Information Technology.
Since the state last had a CIO, legislators – most notably state Sen. Jeremy Ring, a former Yahoo executive – have pushed to create such an agency. But each time, they have been unsuccessful. In one such instance, Scott vetoed legislation saying it did not give the potential new agency enough bite to be successful.
In the last year, though, the environment has drastically changed. This proposal emerged following widely-reported troubles with Florida’s $63 million unemployment computer system and security breaches at giant retailers such as Target.
Those public problems increased concerns about the state’s current information technology structure in which CIOs of major agencies and departments regularly meet as a council to share ideas and best practices, but it offered no real oversight of the state’s various programs.
The new agency will include 25 new positions, including a CIO, chief technology officer, chief information security officer, a chief planning officer and six strategic planning coordinators, among others. It will be in charge of reviewing all technology purchases more than $250,000, establishing project management and oversight standards and performing project oversight for state agency IT projects that cost at least $10 million.