Paul Lau, a 38-year SMUD veteran, has been named to succeed Arlen Orchard as the utility’s chief executive officer and general manager.
SMUD’s announcement can be found here.
Paul Lau, a 38-year SMUD veteran, has been named to succeed Arlen Orchard as the utility’s chief executive officer and general manager.
SMUD’s announcement can be found here.
Veteran data expert and former department CIO Scott Christman has been appointed to oversee California’s public health data operation, the program that tracks birth, death and marriage certifications, among other things. The announcement came after last week’s high-profile COVID-19 data reporting glitch that reportedly cost the Public Health Director her job.
Christman, who is returning to government after a stint in the private sector, previously served as a project manager in the office that he now directs. He also previously served in key roles such as acting agency information officer for the California Health and Human Services Agency and CIO at the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
As deputy director for the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), he is the first non-medical doctor to hold the position. His predecessors include Jim Green, Linette Scott, and Este Geraghty, all MDs. In the department organizational chart, he is a peer to department CIO Gary Nodine. They both report to the chief deputy director.
Christman has been central in the state’s effort to develop open data policies and helped with the CDPH open data playbook, released in 2013, which evolved into the Statewide Open Data Playbook issued in 2015 by the Government Operations Agency.
Besides the recent reporting errors, for obvious reasons related to COVID-19, public health data has been a priority for the Newsom Administration. The governor recently announced CalCAT, a forecasting and assessment tool that is also intended to reach citizen scientists, achieving unprecedented levels of government transparency, a theme in his book Citizenville.
Also last week on behalf of CDPH, the California Department of Technology launched a “challenge” with the vendor community to rapidly develop a solution to create a “robust and automated solution to securely and accurately collect, store, analyze and publish COVID-19 electronic lab reporting and case data for our constituents.” according to the state’s COVID-19 website.
Christman starts the new position on September 1.
Gov. Newsom on Friday appointed new executive team members to the Employment Development Department to boost customer service and deal with the backlog of unemployment claims due to COVID-19.
On July 29, the governor announced a strike team to focus on the information technology challenges EDD faces, lead by GovOps Secretary Yolanda Richardson and Code for America founder Jennifer Pahlka.
From the announcement:
Maurice Emsellem, 61, of Berkeley, has been appointed senior advisor at the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Emsellem has been program director at the National Employment Law Project since 2015, where he has held several positions since 1990, including policy director, program director and staff attorney. He was a Soros Justice senior fellow for the Open Society Foundations from 2004 to 2005, an associate appellate counsel for the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau from 1987 to 1990 and staff attorney at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit from 1986 to 1987. Emsellem earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Northeastern University School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $165,000. Emsellem is a Democrat.
Nancy Farias, 47, of Thousand Oaks, has been appointed chief deputy director of external affairs, legislation and policy at the California Employment Development Department. Farias has served as director of government relations at SEIU Local 1000 since 2017. She was deputy chief of staff at the Office of California State Senator Henry Stern from 2016 to 2017. Farias was district director at the Office of California State Assemblymember Mike Gatto from 2015 to 2017. She was deputy secretary of legislation at the Government Operations Agency from 2013 to 2015. Farias was deputy director of legislative affairs at the California Department of Human Resources from 2012 to 2013. She was legislative director at SEIU Local 1000 from 2009 to 2012 and senior vice president at Smith, Ruddock & Hayes from 2008 to 2009. She was an associate at Wolkon Pascucci from 2002 to 2008. Farias earned a Master of Science degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts and a Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,600. Farias is a Democrat.
Kevin Matulich, 32, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy director of legislative affairs at the California Employment Development Department. Matulich has been assistant director at the California Employment Development Department since 2019, where he served as assistant director of policy and external affairs from 2017 to 2019 and special assistant to the director from 2014 to 2017. He served in several positions in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2011 to 2014, including special assistant for appointments and constituent affairs representative. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $133,308. Matulich is a Democrat.
Carole Vigne, 41, of San Francisco, has been appointed general counsel and deputy director at the California Employment Development Department. Vigne has been senior staff attorney and program director of the Wage Protection Program for Legal Aid at Work since 2014, where she was a staff attorney from 2011 to 2014 and a Skadden fellow from 2007 to 2009. She was an associate attorney at Rukin, Hyland, Doria & Tindall LLP from 2009 to 2011. Vigne is a board member of Mujeres Unidas y Activas, and a member of the Coalition of Low-Wage and Immigrant Worker Advocates and the Freedom Network. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $170,772. Vigne is registered without party preference.
Carol D. Williams, 52, of Davis, has been appointed chief deputy director of operations at the California Employment Development Department. Williams has served as chief of the Filing Division at the California Franchise Tax Board since 2015, and was chief of the Accounts Receivable Management Division from 2011 to 2015 and director of the Revenue Recovery Services Bureau from 2006 to 2011. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,600. Williams is a Democrat.
Elliot Mainzer has been appointed the new president and CEO of the California Independent System Operator(ISO), the agency announced on Thursday.
Mainzer, who is currently serving as administrator and CEO of Portland, OR-based Bonneville Power Administration will replace Steve Berberich who is retiring at the end of September.
“Elliot’s demonstrated success leading a large, complex power and transmission organization will serve CAISO, our customers and stakeholders well,” said the CAISO Board of Governors said in the announcement. “We are happy to have a leader so knowledgeable about integrating renewables and passionate about building on CAISO’s organizational strengths and momentum toward low-carbon electricity.”
Berberich has been with California ISO for the past fourteen years, serving as CEO for nine years.
The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) has hired Jessica Chan to head up the agency’s IT and administrative divisions.
“We are excited to have Jessica as our new CIO and Chief of Administrative Services at the Office of Traffic Safety,” a California State Transportation Agency spokesperson said in an email to the GovReport. “Jessica has built a strong relationship within the IT community. She is a strong technologist and business leader who will focus on enhancing services for the public through technology solutions.”
Chan, a 2005 graduate of CSU Sacramento, has been with OTS since Nov. 2018, serving as an information technology specialist for just under two years before becoming CIO in June.
Prior to joining OTS, Chan spent close to nine years as an information systems analyst for the California DMV.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in finance and an associate’s degree in economics from CSU Sacramento, Chan received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix in 2009.
The CIO position at OTS had been vacant since March, when former CIO Quentin Wright left the role after nearly two years to become the new CIO/CTO for the California Department of Technology.
OTS spends $80 million in National Traffic Highway Safety Administration grants annually to fund traffic safety education and enforcement programs in California, according to its website.
Covered California has a new executive to oversee the health agency’s IT strategy and tech initiatives, according to an announcement this week. Kevin Cornish will serve as the chief information officer, replacing soon-to-retire Karen Ruiz, who has worked for Covered California since 2013 and has served as its CIO for the past five years.
Cornish has more than 31 years of experience in the IT industry. While at Kaiser Permanente, he led a multi-million dollar initiative to transform the healthcare provider’s technology infrastructure from the ground up. He then moved on to fill roles as CIO for the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and most recently as chief technology officer for the University of California Office of the President.
“Kevin has spent more than three decades helping organizations build and expand their information technology infrastructure,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “His knowledge, experience and passion will serve us well as Covered California continues its efforts to use technology to make health care work better for consumers and to support our team in serving millions of Californians.”
Covered California’s announcement can be found here.
After 30 years of service to the state, Information Technology Deputy Secretary for Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency (BCSH) Andrew Armani will retire at the end of this month, he told the GovReport.
In his role with BCSH, Armani was responsible for setting policies as well as overseeing technology activities for the Agency, a consolidation of agencies that assist in licensing and regulation for businesses and professionals.
Prior to his current role, Armani served as the director of the office of eServices, where he led initiatives that expanded service delivery via the California State Portal. Armani says one of his greatest accomplishments with eServices was creating a sense of consistency throughout the state’s online services.
“I was able to bring a uniform look and feel and branding to all executive branches’ websites,” Armani said. “This was accomplished by bringing a handful of state staff volunteers to design and develop templates and provide all the tools necessary to agencies.”
Armani graduated from California State University, Chico with a degree in Electronics and Computer Technology, which led him to a career in the private sector managing software engineers in the development of enterprise applications and network architecture.
Across multiple roles and decades in information technology, Armani noted that “change is the only constant in IT.”
The most significant change from the beginning of his career, he said, was “moving on from [on-premises software] to cloud,” a mass migration that has taken place largely in the last three years.
One of the most significant and challenging tasks in that migration was the switch to cloud email services for California state workers.
“As the Co-chair for implementing statewide email consolidation, we were able to bring CAmail which was the first-ever private cloud email service to the state of California,” Armani said. “It took several years and many meetings with the various departments to accomplish the task.”
When asked what advice he would hand down to a potential successor, Armani provided a number of useful maxims gleaned from a long career with the state.
A good reminder to anyone working in technology, Armani urged that “vendors are not the enemy, establish a good relationship with them.”
As for maintaining good standing as an executive, he said, “don’t let the power go to your head . . . [and] employees will go to any length to do what you ask them, if they respect and trust you and know you have their backs.”
Armani cites one adage above all that guided him throughout his professional career: nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
Armani’s retirement will become effective June 30.
After nearly 30 years of service, California Highway Patrol (CHP) Chief Information Officer (CIO) Dr. Scott Howland will retire effective July 1, the department has confirmed.
Howland began his career with the CHP in 1990, training to become an officer and eventually rising to the rank of captain in 2004, where he served as the CHP’s representative to California State Legislature and United States Congress for four and a half years.
Howland served as the department’s assistant chief for close to five and a half years before assuming his current position as CIO, where he has served since May 2014.
While serving as CIO, Howland has overseen IT policy and procurement for the CHP and led the implementation of the California Accident Reporting System, the state’s automated collision reporting system.
Howland also oversaw the redesign of the CHP’s website and worked to deter cybercrime as leader of the Computer Crimes Investigation Unit.
Prior to joining the CHP, Howland worked from 1985 to 1990 in various roles at Oakland’s KTVU 2 news, while simultaneously earning his bachelor’s degree in radio and television at San Francisco State University.
Furthering his education, Howland enrolled at the University of La Verne in 2011 to earn his master’s degree in business and later an educational doctorate in organizational leadership.
The CHP has chosen Assistant Chief Chris Childs to succeed Howland as new CIO in command of the Information Management Division, effective on Howland’s July 1 retirement.
The California Department of Technology has appointed Carlos Isaac Cabrera as the state geographic information officer (GIO), a newly-created position tasked with overseeing the regional distribution of technology funding and service delivery throughout the state.
The appointment of Cabrera follows the recommendation in 2019 by the Little Hoover Commission (LHC) to create a GIO position to coordinate the state’s geographic information systems (GIS), which collects geo-spatial data and allocated technology services accordingly.
In their Oct. 2019 report titled “Mapping a Strategy for GIS,” the LHC also recommended the state create a GIS advisory council comprised of “government leaders and other stakeholders” and noted that the state’s GIS strategy was “inconsistent, and lacks centralization and coordination.”
The state originally named a GIO when the GIS program was created in 2009, but the position was absorbed by the chief information officer until the state began recruiting for a full-time GIO this past February.
Cabrera, an alumni of California State University, Fresno, most recently served for over four years as the GIS administrator for Contra Costa County where he managed a broad-based enterprise GIS used by various departments across the county.
Pedro Nava, chair of the LHC, applauded Cabrera’s appointment as GIS, saying in a statement released on April 28 that “we called for a dedicated, full-time GIO position, and we’re pleased to see Mr. Cabrera’s appointment. Though we hope to see the position elevated as outlined in our report, we are encouraged by this action and wish Mr. Cabrera the best as he steps into this critical role.”
Gov. Newsom on Thursday announced the reappointment of Amy Tong as CDT Director, a position she has served in since 2016:
Amy S. H. Tong, 46, of Elk Grove, has been reappointed director of the California Department of Technology, where she has served as director since 2016. Tong was acting director at the California Department of Technology in 2016. She was chief deputy director at the Office of Systems Integration and agency chief information officer at the California Health and Human Services Agency from 2014 to 2016, deputy director and chief information officer at the California Lottery from 2012 to 2014 and chief technology officer at the State Board of Equalization from 2011 to 2012. She served as chief of the California Public Employees’ Retirement Pension System Data Center from 2008 to 2011 and acting chief information officer at the State Water Resources Control Board from 1994 to 2008. Tong is a member of the California Northstate University Board of Trustees, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Asian Pacific State Employee Association, and Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association. Tong earned a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Sacramento. Tong was confirmed to this position by the Senate in 2017 and the compensation is $197,797. Tong is registered without party preference.