Agency knew of CIO's 'degrees'

Jimmy Shirl Parker was named CIO of the Federal Technology Service in 2000. He brought with him more than 27 years of experience in the Army as both a military and civilian employee'and bachelor's and master's degrees from California Coast University in Santa Ana, Calif.

An FTS official reportedly said the degrees played a role in Parker's selection for the position. But CCU is not accredited by any federally recognized accrediting body.

Parker is a member of the Senior Executive Service, and he holds a security clearance. His Army career included 15 years with the Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Okla., and about two years with the Army Corps of Engineers. His last post with the Corps of Engineers was information management director for the Southwestern Division.

While he was serving as senior technical director and chief of tactical data systems at Fort Hood, Texas, according to his resume, he received a bachelor of science degree in management in 1989 and a master's in business administration in 1991 from California Coast.

Not accredited

California Coast University has a business license from the Bureau of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education, a unit of the state's Consumer Affairs Department. It is not licensed or accredited by California's Education Department.

In July 2001, the General Services Administration Inspector General Office was notified that Parker's degrees were not from an accredited institution. The complainant, a GSA employee passed over for the position Parker holds, said a high-ranking FTS official said Parker 'had an M.B.A. and brought a broader range of experience to the job.'

In a letter responding to the complaint, the IG said, 'there were no degree requirements listed' among the qualifications for the CIO's position.

When asked about Parker's academic credentials last month, a GSA spokeswoman replied in writing: 'Jimmy Parker was hired as [CIO] ... based on prior job experience and high technical qualifications. The qualification requirements for the position were outlined in the vacancy announcement'qualifications which he met. There were no prescribed education or degree requirements outlined in the vacancy announcement. Mr. Parker was selected for this position after careful review of the full breadth of his experience and background.'

When GCN requested an interview with Parker, a GSA spokeswoman declined to make him available, saying, 'We're simply resting on the statement.'

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