Hawaii CIO may soon report to state comptroller, steering committee

Newly passed legislation would have Hawaii's top technology official reporting to the state comptroller and create a new IT steering committee.
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green delivers remarks as President Joe Biden listens during a visit to an area devastated by wildfires in Lahaina, Hawaii on August 21, 2023. (Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)

Hawaii’s chief information officer may soon report to the state comptroller instead of the governor, which could change the technology office’s role and how it operates.

Bill SB 2516, which lawmakers passed in early May and now awaits Gov. Josh Green’s signature, aims to streamline state technology operations and provide stronger financial oversight. The CIO would still be appointed by the governor, but report to the state comptroller.

In Hawaii, the CIO leads the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, housed within the Department of Accounting and General Services, which is also home to the state comptroller. The comptroller is responsible for protecting taxpayer funds by uncovering waste, fraud and abuse.

The proposed legislation would establish a designated fund for shared technology services supported by a percentage of receipts collected from “special funds,” but the bill doesn’t offer further specification.


The duties of the CIO, to oversee statewide information technology governance and ensure compliance across departments and agencies, would largely remain the same. However, the bill would also create an information technology steering committee, comprised of thirteen members appointed by various legislative offices, to provide oversight and guidance to the state technology office.

“The chief information officer shall serve as an ex officio member and as the chair of the committee,” reads the bill, which also gives the CIO and comptroller authorization to raise money and accept donations to fund the information technology steering committee.

Former CIO Doug Murdock, who retired in May, opposed the legislation. He argued that the bill would reduce the CIO role’s autonomy and authority within the state government.

“Dual-hatting the CIO to deputy director under the Comptroller would diminish the authority and independence of ETS and the CIO,” Murdock wrote in written testimony to the House Committee on Labor and Government Operations on March 14. “It could also lead to the CIO being assigned to projects unrelated to ETS’ statutory mission.”

Murdock encouraged the House committee to allow the information technology steering committee to study the topic and provide a report with recommendations for the next legislative


“In the IT community, working for the state CIO and Office of Enterprise Technology Service is preferable to taking a position in the Department of Accounting and General Services under the Comptroller,” he said. “The option of creating a board or commission to oversee the duties of the CIO would be preferable to adding this responsibility to the Comptroller.”

Sophia Fox-Sowell

Written by Sophia Fox-Sowell

Sophia Fox-Sowell reports on artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and government regulation for StateScoop. She was previously a multimedia producer for CNET, where her coverage focused on private sector innovation in food production, climate change and space through podcasts and video content. She earned her bachelor’s in anthropology at Wagner College and master’s in media innovation from Northeastern University.

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