New IT Chief Outlines IRS' Latest Modernization Plans

John Reece, the IRS' new chief information officer, is taking over the agency's modernization effort like a man on a mission.

In a speech this week at the annual conference of the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils in New Orleans, Reece outlined a thorough reorganization of the modernization effort. His goal, he said, is to make it more accountable, predictable and timely.

And he is bringing in a team of executives from industry to help him.

"I'm here to say that modernization not only can be done, but will be done," he said.

Reece said the IRS will soon send to Congress monthly status reports about its business modernization to ensure lawmakers are kept up to date, and that the tax agency gets its desired funding.

During the next year, the IRS wants to roll out the first replacement piece for its tape-based Master File System, improve customer service via phone and allow online registration for tax preparers. Those goals are in addition to 40 other IT improvement projects.

Reece said one of the first steps he took after joining the IRS in March was to clearly define the roles of the agency and its Prime Integration contractor, Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif. The IRS also will more clearly define roles for its Business Systems Modernization Office and Information Technology Services group, both of which report to Reece.

The CIO plans to bring in new people to help carry out the modernization. Jim Rinaldi, an IT executive from Marriott Corp. of Bethesda, Md., will join Information Technology Services as its director July 9.

Other outsiders, whom Reece wouldn't name before their appointments, also will join the systems team soon.

IRS veterans are part of Reece's plan. In the Business Systems Modernization Office, James Williams, deputy associate commissioner for program management, will directly supervise CSC and its subcontractors. Bob Albicker will continue to oversee technology development as deputy associate commissioner of systems integration.

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