Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better Interior’s Howell to move to OMB

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Interior Department CIO Mike Howell will become the government's senior career IT official.

Interior Department CIO Mike Howell will become the government

In what may have been the worst kept secret in government IT, Interior Department CIO Mike Howell has a new job — and a powerful new job at that. Howell has accepted an offer to be OMB’s deputy administrator for e-government and information technology, the federal government’s senior career IT position. Howell will move to OMB in mid-September, government and industry officials confirm, replacing Tim Young.

In December, Young was promoted to be deputy director. At the same time, OMB shifted the deputy director post to a career position as part of an over all reorganization of OMB’s IT management.

Young, however, is a political appointee who therefore must leave at the end of the Bush administration. Insiders say that he is in the process of searching for an IT management consulting position.

Howell will serve as the deputy to Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator of e-government and IT. Howell has served as Interior CIO since May 2007 and has worked in many parts of the Interior organization. It is unclear who will take Howell’s place as Interior CIO.

The position becomes exceedingly important with the looming administration transition and was widely seen as a plum post — not officially “plum,” but… you know what I mean. OMB received more than 75 applications for the post.

Evans has told friends that she wouldn’t be opposed to staying on as a bridge to a new administration, but it is most likely that Howell, as deputy, would become the government’s most senior IT official until a new e-gov/IT administrator is named.

The move will also set off a scramble for who would be the new Interior CIO. Jerry Williams joined DOI as the deputy CIO in July replacing Ed Meagher, who left to join SRA International. Williams would be the obvious choice, but Interior often works in mysterious ways.

You can read Howell’s Interior bio after the break.

On May 14, 2007, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne appointed Michael J. Howell Chief Information Officer for the Department of the Interior. The Chief Information Officer reports directly to the Secretary. The Office of the Chief Information Officer provides leadership to the Department and its bureaus in all areas of information management and technology.

Before accepting this position, Mr. Howell served as the Assistant Director for Information Resources and Technology Management and Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Prior to that, he served as Chief, Information Technology Portfolio Management Division in the Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, where he was responsible for overseeing the management of the Department’s $900 million a year portfolio of IT investments. He served two years as the actingCIO and deputy CIO for the Bureau of Land Management and five years in BLM’s headquarters budget office.

Mr. Howell spent four years at BLM’s Oregon State Office as a branch chief, responsible for software application development, Geographic Information Systems applications, and data and records management programs. He managed IT andGIS support for the President’s Northwest Forest Plan and the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. Mike spent seven years inBLM’s Eugene District on forest inventory, land use planning, and National Environmental Policy Act analysis. He worked five years in a variety of forest management jobs in theMedford District in southwest Oregon. Mike’s career began in 1978 with the U.S. Forest Service in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest in Idaho and the Olympic National Forest in Washington.

A native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mike graduated in 1977 from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor of science degree in Forest Science with a minor in Wildlife Management. In 2005, he completed the Chief Information Officer certification program at the National Defense UniversityIRM College. Mike and his wife Gretchen have a son Sean and a daughter Victoria.

Written by cdorobek

September 5, 2008 at 6:30 PM

6 Responses

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  1. Williams is certainly a great pick as Interior CIO. Sadly, one can’t help but note the shameful results in this administration given the rich crop of potential cabinet-level African-American CIOs and the Clinger-Cohen-mandated OMB “concurrence”. This embarassing sham needs to change and someone should be accountable.

    No One

    September 10, 2008 at 1:51 PM

  2. […] e-government and information technology. That job has since been made a career appointment being filled by Mike Howell, who came to the post from the Interior Department, where he had been serving as the CIO. Young is […]

  3. […] by cdorobek on September 22nd, 2008 So Mike Howell has reported for duty at his new post as the Office of Management and Budget’s deputy administrator for e-government and information techno…, the federal government’s senior career IT position. But people are still awaiting word on who […]

  4. […] as part of an over all reorganization of OMB’s IT management. Then, earlier this year, he was replaced by Michael Howell, who became the senior career IT […]

  5. […] Howell, who, earlier this year, was named to replace Young as OMB’s deputy administrator for e-government and information technology — the first […]

  6. […] on the street is that Sonny Bhagowalia will start on Monday, Dec. 8, replacing Michael Howell, who left the DOI CIO job to become the senior career IT guy at OMB earlier this year. Jerry Williams has been serving as the acting CIO. He will reportedly be the deputy CIO when […]

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