IRS picks Spires to lead modernization

The IRS said it has named Richard Spires to head the tax agency's Business Systems Modernization effective mid-September.

Fred Forman, the current associate IRS commissioner for business systems modernization, will leave in November.

IRS CIO Todd Grams hired Spires, former president of Mantas Inc. of Fairfax, Va., in April as associate CIO for modernization management. He has been working with Forman to assure delivery of the Integrated Financial System in October.

The IRS agreed with studies conducted last year that it needed more management with experience in large projects. "We know tax administration. We don't home-grow people who have experience in running large IT modernization programs," Grams said in a recent interview. In the past, IRS didn't do enough to reach out to the private sector for talent to complement its own, he said.

Before joining Mantas in 2001 when it was spun off from SRA International, Spires spent 16 years at SRA, where he helped develop the commercial consulting and systems integration business.

Under Forman, modernization has finally begun to take hold. After years of delay, the IRS has released the initial version of its new taxpayer database, the Customer Account Data Engine. It anticipates IFS will meet its latest deadline this fall. And the IRS has made available to individuals, businesses and tax professionals a variety of electronic services.

Forman has led the IRS modernization initiative since April 2002 under a limited contract. For nine months before that, Forman served as executive program adviser to the modernization project. Before joining the IRS, he was executive vice president at American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., where he also had been chief technology officer.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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