Utah CIO Windley resigns

Utah CIO Phillip Windley is the latest to leave in the end-of-the-year blizzard of state CIO resignations. He submitted his resignation yesterday to Gov. Michael O. Leavitt, effective Dec. 31.

In the past two weeks, CIOs from New Jersey, Iowa and Georgia stepped down.

'With recent events, I have come to realize that I have become an impediment to implementing our vision for e-government and an efficient and effective information technology infrastructure,' Windley said in his resignation letter. 'The conversation has increasingly become about me instead of the important work that needs to be done to benefit the citizens of Utah.'

Leavitt appointed Windley CIO in March 2001. Windley had been vice president of product development and operations at the now-defunct Excite@Home of Redwood City, Calif.

As CIO and director of Utah's IT Services, Windley had come under fire in a September report, Hiring Practices of the CIO and ITS, by the Office of the Legislative Auditor General for Utah. 'We believe favoritism towards former Excite@Home employees has occurred,' the report stated. 'While individual cases may not raise strong concerns, taken together we believe these cases display a pattern which does yield strong concerns of favoritism.'

The report detailed examples of how competitive processes were apparently manipulated to hire specific individuals formerly employed by Excite@Home. It also stated that the new hires that had come from Excite@Home had higher starting salaries than other new hires. 'Taken together, we believe this data supports the allegation of favoritism,' the report said.

Although Windley said he has 'many mixed emotions: anger, sadness, excitement and relief,' his resignation was not 'forced.'

In a statement yesterday about Windley's resignation, Leavitt said, 'The state is losing a very talented technology leader and strategist.'

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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