19 Jan Miszewski to depart as state IT audit wraps up
Madison, Wis. – Matt Miszewski will leave his job as administrator of the state’s Division of Enterprise Technology at the end of February, about the time an audit on problematic state information technology projects is due to be released.
Miszewski, who likely will pursue opportunities in the private sector, informed his staff of the decision in an e-mail and praised them for revolutionizing the use of technology in government.
His efforts generally have received positive coverage in the technology trade press, but many in and outside of state government have faulted Miszewski for an overly aggressive management style on IT projects.
State government’s information technology projects in several agencies have been beset with implementation delays, cost overruns, or system failures. The projects were touted as a way to improve services and save money, but the difficulties have cast doubt on the prospect for savings.
No one has put an exact price tag on the loss to taxpayers, but the estimate is in the millions. The Legislative Audit Bureau has been directed to audit the programs and its findings should be released within the next several weeks.
Scott Larrivee, a spokesman for the state Department of Administration, said Miszewski’s departure is not linked to the audit. “Matt told his staff that he signed up for four years, and we’ve passed the four-year mark,” Larrivee said, “plus he has some opportunities in the private sector that he wants to explore.”
The state audit will include case studies of selected major projects to identify the nature of problems that have occurred and the reasons for them. It also will include a review of the effectiveness of oversight structures established in state law, and current contracting procedures that pertain to IT projects.
Early in the audit process, Kate Wade, a program evaluation director for the Legislative Audit Bureau, said the bureau would try to release the report in early calendar year 2007 so that it’s findings would be useful to lawmakers during the new legislative session. Among other matters, the Legislature will be working on the 2007-09 state budget.
The state spends about $740 million a year on information technology, and spending on contractors has doubled over the past decade to $90 million.
State Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield, does not believe the audit will diminish the state’s commitment to upgrading information technology.
Kanavas said he would like Miszewski’s successor to have a strong IT project focus. He also said it’s probably better to have someone with a private-sector background.
“We need someone who knows how to execute a project,” he said, “and someone who knows how to make it successfully stay on course and stay on budget.”
• GOP lawmaker faults Doyle for IT problems
• State alters schedule for server consolidation
• State IT failures are not inevitable
• Embattled state CIO stands his ground
• Auditors outline what they want to know about state IT projects