October 4, 2006 8:10 AM PDT

Massachusetts CIO quits

The chief information officer of Massachusetts is stepping down, complaining about a lack of funding for the commonwealth's technology initiatives.

Louis Gutierrez on Tuesday sent his letter of resignation to the state's secretary of administration and finance, Thomas Trimarco. The letter blasts the state for halting spending on ongoing projects.

Louis Gutierrez
Louis Gutierrez

"I'm presiding over the dismantling of an IT investment program--over a decade in the evolution--that the legislature leadership appears unwilling to salvage at this time," Gutierrez wrote.

His departure, effective in 30 days, will not derail the state's policy of adopting OpenDocument as the state's default document format, said Felix Browne, a spokesman for Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"We've established a course of action that remains prudent and will be pursued actively," Browne said. He added that no successor has been named.

Gutierrez took over the CIO job in January and was a strong backer of the state's existing decision to use standards-based document formats.

In August, the state said it intends to use a plug-in to Microsoft Office, which will allow executive branch agency employees to save and open documents in the OpenDocument format. A launch has been planned over the course of next year.

In his letter, Gutierrez said the state is "dismantling" its information technology investment program and that ongoing projects will need to be shut down and restarted at great costs.

Earlier this summer, the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate did not pass a bond bill that would have financed several technology projects.

"IT innovation in Massachusetts' state government ran out of steam in August, when the legislature closed its formal session without action on the IT and facilities bond," Gutierrez wrote.

Gutierrez succeeded Peter Quinn, who resigned in late 2005 saying that technology decisions, notably the OpenDocument policy, had become too politicized.

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"...will not derail the state's policy of adopting OpenDocument as the state's default document format" - it might not stop them from moving to OOo, but I don't doubt all the Microsoft dogs hounding him is part of his reason for resigning.

as for the MS Office plugin for OpenDocs, I suppose it's getting state employees to move to OpenDoc format so a good portion of their documents are already converted by the time they finally get settled into OOo. On the bad side though, it could be to simply keep them using MS Office just a bit longer.
Posted by tech_junky (56 comments )
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The guy cited specifically budget problems as his reason for departing. He said nothing about MS dogs, so I don't see where you got that idea.
If anything, the situation would indicate that the costs of migraging to open formats are more extensive than planned.
Posted by herby67 (144 comments )
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Seen it!
I have done some contract work for various IT Divisions in the state, it is horrible the way they are funded. At times working with 5 and 6 year old versions of software in bad need of upgrade!
Posted by mikey999 (5 comments )
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Typical Taxachusetts bureaucrat: give me more money for more boondoggles.
Posted by solrosenberg (124 comments )
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Sometimes there's more than meets the eye...
Posted by InformedObserver (1 comment )
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