Blunt hopes to consolidate technology

If approved, the two new appointments will oversee state’s technology systems.
Thursday, December 2, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 5:39 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s Office of Administration will experience changes under Gov.-elect Matt Blunt’s administration with two key appointments and the proposed consolidation of the state’s information technology systems.

In a news conference Wednesday, Blunt said he plans to consolidate all state agencies’ information technology departments into one that would be overseen by the Office of Administration.

“Today, virtually every department in the state government has at least one information technology division,” Blunt said at the Capitol. “What I call for doing is consolidating all of that into one department as quickly as possible.”

Blunt appointed Senate Administrator Michael Keathley as commissioner of the Office of Administration and Deputy Secretary of State Dan Ross as chief information officer. Keathley’s appointment is subject to the approval of the Missouri Senate.

Ross’ new position will take the lead in consolidating the state’s computer information systems.

“Dan is going to serve in positions that are currently occupied by two people,” said Blunt, who is completing a term as secretary of state. “He will be the director of information services within the Office of Administration and then also by executive order will be the chief information officer for state government.”

Merging the two positions will save Missouri taxpayers $100,000 a year, Blunt said.

Ross said he’ll model his work after that done in the secretary of state’s office, “where we came in, found antiquated systems and replaced them with cost-effective new systems and have done that at a tremendous cost saving.”

Separate information networks prevent state agencies from delivering their messages to the public efficiently, Ross said. He added that many state government agencies are unable to provide information in formats that Missourians with disabilities can use.

Keathley, former CEO at IXL Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of tool handles, has worked in the Senate since 2002. Keathley said that in the past three years as Senate administrator he has cut the office’s budget by 15 percent.

While he would provide no specifics, Keathley said he sees many questionable expenses in the budget of the Office of Administration. The office oversees central management functions of state government, such as personnel, information services and facilities management.

Computer system consolidation in agencies with directors appointed by the governor will occur more rapidly, Blunt said, adding he will propose the efficiency measures to the General Assembly when he takes office in January.

“I think at some point there will be a need for legislative action,” Blunt said, “especially when you are dealing with those agencies that the governor doesn’t appoint the director.”

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