As Ed Toner settles into his new role as chief information officer of Nebraska, he takes the baton of a technology executive who’s served the state for two decades.
Nebraska’s former CIO Brenda Decker presided over the tech department’s multimillion-dollar budget through two gubernatorial administrations. In her role, she’s overseen efforts to boost the state government’s enterprise content management system and was involved in a program to give the state’s agricultural inspectors mobile devices they can use in the field. Toner, who was appointed to the role June 9, will have much to build on.
Decker sat down with StateScoop TV during the National Association of State Chief Information Officers midyear conference in April, before her departure was announced, to talk about the projects her office was focusing on. Her responses could shed light on what Toner has planned in his new job.
Editor’s note: Responses edited for clarity and space.
On the state’s focus on cybersecurity: “States hold so much personally identifiable information on our citizens. We really have a greater responsibility than anyone else to make sure that we are secure and we’re keeping the data in an area where it’s protected. … We need to know whose coming into our networks, what they have access to and why they should have access.”
On workforce: “One of my biggest challenges is something you hear CIOs talk about a lot, and that’s workforce. When it comes to finding professional, talented IT staff at the salaries that state government pays, that becomes a challenge for us. I’m looking for innovative ideas for how do we get that workforce that’s going to let me move Nebraska to the next step.”
On the Internet of Things: “I think state governments are a little bit behind in the Internet of Things. I think we’re being a little more cautious than a lot of companies, but I think state governments have a lot of potential in this area.”
Toner will bring his own dimension to the job, having worked the private sector since 1999, according to his LinkedIn profile. Most recently, Toner worked as the director of information technology for global infrastructure operations at First Data Corp. He has also worked in the IT enterprise space for TD Ameritrade.
After Toner took over the day-to-day role as state CIO, Decker remained with the state to aid in the transition, according to her LinkedIn profile.
StateScoop was unable to reach Decker to confirm her future plans with the Nebraska Information Technology Commission.