IT pay study gets official CIO Council OK

IT pay study gets official CIO Council OK

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

APRIL 26—The Chief Information Officers Council has approved a study of information technology pay issues to be conducted by the National Academy of Public Administration, officials said this morning.

"Our goal is to keep pushing" the issue, said Agriculture Department deputy CIO Ira Hobbs, co-chairman of the CIO Council's IT Workforce Committee.

The Office of Personnel Management has not signed on to the study because OPM must maintain its objective role. But the CIO Council has worked with OPM to coordinate the study, Hobbs said.

"They are aware of it," he said. "They recognize [the issue is important]' but the CIO Council is a driving force in an area that is important to our constituency."

The study has been a long time coming. In a report last year, the IT Workforce Committee decided not to recommend a separate IT salary scale [see story at].

The council hopes the study will provide some data to support the conventional wisdom that federal IT workers are significantly underpaid, members said. The council endorsed the concept of the study last August, but it has taken time to address the scope of the project [see story at].

State Department CIO Fernando Burbano, who has been an outspoken proponent of the NAPA study, said it is important for agencies struggling with worker shortages. One survey predicts federal agencies will face a shortage of 70,000 IT workers within the next five years as employees approach retirement age, Hobbs said.

Burbano urged all agencies to help fund the study.

The CIOs made their comments during a wide-ranging discussion at the Government Information Technology Executive Council's Information Processing Interagency Conference in Orlando, Fla., today. Burbano, Hobbs, Treasury Department CIO Jim Flyzik and Transportation Department CIO George Molaski touched on a mix of issues ranging from IT security to electronic government initiatives to IT architectures.

While all four agreed that budget issues continue to be a central issue, they disagreed about whether CIOs should control all IT spending within agencies. Molaski said program managers are on the front lines and therefore have a better idea about how money needs to be spent. Flyzik, however, said that responsibility is tied to accountability.

"If CIOs are going to be held accountable, they need to play a role in the decisions," he said.

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