Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly said Friday she will keep Lee Allen as the state’s top information technology official when she takes office on Monday. Allen, a former chief information officer for the state’s human services agency, was appointed last July to the post of chief information technology officer by Gov. Jeff Colyer.
“Lee Allen will continue to lead the state’s technology efforts at this critical time for our state,” Kelly said in a press release. “Technology changes and modernization will be key to our state’s ability to serve all Kansans.”
Allen landed in the job last year after the departure of Phil Wittmer, who resigned amid a Cabinet shakeup when Colyer became governor after his predecessor, Sam Brownback, stepped down to become a roving ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Kelly, a Democratic state senator, won a close election last November over Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who defeated Colyer for his party’s nomination.
Since taking the CITO job last year, Allen has been occupied with the process of outsourcing the state government’s four data centers in Topeka to Unisys. The state and the company announced a five-year, $40 million contract last September to move Kansas’ data to a hybrid cloud model.
Under Kelly, Allen may also oversee a new state investment in broadband infrastructure. As a candidate, Kelly ran on expanding high-speed internet access throughout the vastly rural state, which currently ranks as the 38th-most connected, according to Broadband Now, a website that ranks internet service providers.
Allen joined Kansas state government in 2010 and served as chief information officer of the family services and health departments before his appointment as the state’s top IT official. He previously worked in a variety of private-sector IT roles. In a 2018 interview with StateScoop, Allen said he got his first foray into enterprise technology in 1991 as a young member of the U.S. Army, when he was tasked with installing IBM desktops at Fort Riley.
“I am honored to be selected by Gov-elect Kelly to continue serving as the chief information technology officer,” Allen said in the press release from Kelly’s transition organization. “Technology is essential to the way the state provides services to our citizens. We will continue to focus on strengthening the security and improving service levels for all state agencies.”