Errington bids adieu to government service

Originally posted Aug. 22 at 10:18 a.m.; updated Aug. 25 at 1:31 p.m.

Gordon Errington

(UPDATED) Gordon Errington has been in the government trenches for a long time'33 years, to be exact'and now it's time to move on to something else.

Errington, the deputy CIO at the Energy Department, told colleagues Aug. 22 that he's retiring from the public sector.

'I've been here [at DOE] about nine years,' he told GCN, three years as a contractor, six years as a federal employee. 'I've been in this position for three years as of this month, the longest job I've held.'

Errington pointed out that in the military, he got used to being moved around every couple of years, so after three years in the deputy's slot, he's ready for a new challenge.

As a service-disabled veteran, he plans to open his own company, specializing in IT consolidation, cybersecurity and the conduct of A-76 competitions.

That last area ranks as one of his proudest accomplishments during his time at DOE.

'I was actually the tender agent for the A-76 study,' he said. 'It was pretty huge. It included 172 federal IT employees, approximately 1,100 contractors spread across 19 DOE locations. I think we came up with a good solution, partnered up with industry, [included] a lot of small-business opportunities.'

The tough part of his time at DOE was cybersecurity, Errington acknowledged. There have been several high-profile data breaches and other kinds of security lapses at the department and its component agencies, and DOE hasn't done well on the Federal Information Security Management Act scorecard since its inception several years ago.

'I didn't like getting an F four years in a row,' he said.

The size of DOE and its historically compartmentalized structure are part of the problem, but this federated approach is also part of the solution, he said.

He offered one suggestion for his successor, Carl Staton, who will be moving over from his current job as CIO for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

'Once he does get here, [Carl should] get out to the field immediately to learn the various missions,' Errington said. 'Decisions made here at headquarters might get made without understanding the impact' on individual operations.

He has one other worry that cuts across the government.

'I do have a concern about the federal workforce,' he said. 'I think getting the younger folks in there has been difficult. I wish there was a better way to attract [them] into the government. It's a big concern in our shop. Seventy-five percent of our folks are within three years of retirement.'

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