Minnesota names Baden as state CIO

The 32-year veteran of state government and current CIO of the state's human services department will now head up Minnesota's overarching IT agency.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton promoted Tom Baden, the chief information officer of the state’s department of human services, to be Minnesota’s new CIO on Wednesday.

Baden has spent more than 32 years working for the state government and will now serve as commissioner of MN.IT Services, the state’s information technology agency. The agency is responsible for providing a range of technology services to more than 70 state agencies, boards and commissions.

“Tom Baden’s wealth of experience, developed over his thirty-two years in state service, has prepared him well to lead the agency in its core missions: to better connect Minnesotans with each other, and with their government,” Dayton said in a release. “Under Commissioner Baden’s leadership, I am confident MN.IT Services will continue to improve Minnesotans’ access to information, and to the valuable services provided by state government.”

Baden replaces Carolyn Parnell who announced in December her intention to step down Jan. 5. Parnell had served as the state’s CIO since 2011.


In addition to serving as CIO of the state’s human services department, Baden has played a number of leading technology roles within the state. He served as the chief architect for the Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology, which later became MN.IT services. He also served as the enterprise architect for the state’s department of employment and economic development.

In his current position, Baden led a staff of nearly 600 employees who supported the agency’s systems, including a Medicaid management information system, the state’s social service information system and a child welfare case management system. He also served as CIO of the state’s health insurance exchange.

“I am thrilled to take on this new role, and eager to continue the work of improving the IT services provided by the State of Minnesota,” Baden said in the release. “Under Governor Dayton’s leadership, and with the work of many dedicated MN.IT Services employees, we have made great progress in the last four years to streamline and improve our IT systems. I look forward to building on those efforts in the years to come.”

Now as commissioner, Baden will oversee a staff of nearly 2,100 people who work in 90 different locations across the state, including 22 agency-based offices. The agency’s primary role is to set the strategy, direction, policies and standards for the state, and manage over 2,000 distinct citizen-facing and back-office applications.

Baden’s hire quickly closes one of a handful of state CIO vacancies across the country. Arkansas, Texas and Arizona are all without a permanent CIO, although each state has someone performing the duty in an acting role.

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