Virginia will pay new CIO a record salary

Virginia is planning to pay its new chief information officer a salary comparable to the private sector in order to land the best candidate possible.

The state is on the verge of announcing the new CIO, and reportedly has narrowed its search to two candidates. The Richmond-Times Dispatch identified Jan. 4 the finalists as Steve Kolodney and Lemuel Stewart.

Kolodney, however, told Washington Technology today that he withdrew his application on Dec. 14. Kolodney is is a vice president with the public-sector group of American Management Systems Inc., Fairfax, Va. He is a former CIO of Washington state and a former technology director for California.

"Although the work in Virginia is really exciting, I would rather stay with AMS and not go back into government," he said.

Tim Ward, a consultant helping Virginia find a new CIO, declined to comment on the status of either candidate's application.

Stewart is a former head of the Virginia Department of Information Technology, now a part of the new Virginia Information Technologies Agency, or VITA.

The Virginia Information Technology Investment Board will pay the next CIO an annual salary of $175,000 to $200,000, Ward, a senior consultant at the McCormick Group Inc. told Washington Technology. The job comes with a five-year contract.

The salary is comparable to what the position pays at most Fortune 1000 companies, Ward said. His Fredericksburg, Va.-based firm was hired by the state to find the new CIO.

State CIOs earn somewhere between $90,000 to $120,000 with some states paying more, according to Virginia's Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, an arm of the Virginia General Assembly. In contrast to the CIO position, Virginia cabinet secretaries have an average annual salary of $131,370.

The board intended to hire someone for the position by Jan. 1, but that was an "arbitrary" deadline, said George Newstrom, Virginia's secretary of technology and the board's chairman.

The state CIO will serve as the director of VITA. Last year, Gov. Mark Warner signed a bill that consolidates 94 state IT departments into VITA in three phases. The consolidation is scheduled to be completed Dec. 31, Newstrom said.

Ward said about 150 individuals applied for the CIO job. The field of candidates was narrowed to 10 finalists, he said. The board subsequently held in-depth interviews with two applicants on Dec. 1, JLARC said.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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