Collins to step down as state’s chief technology officer

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Delaware Chief Information Officer (CIO) James Collins will step down later this month after nearly 20 years with the state. The past six years were spent as head of the Delaware Department of Technology and Information (DTI) during the administrations of Govs. John Carney and Jack Markell.

Collins presided over efforts to improve a state information technology system that faced numerous issues. The state’s work in IT has generated national attention.

More recently, Collins led efforts that allowed many state employees to work remotely and spearheaded a system aimed at reducing the number of “digital deserts” in rural areas.

Collins is leaving the department to join Microsoft Consulting as a General Manager focused on state and local government and higher education.

Jason Clarke, chief operating officer at DTI, will serve as acting CIO. Carney will send a CIO nomination to the Delaware Senate for consideration before the General Assembly reconvenes in January 2021.

“James has been a central member of our team since Day one when I asked him to continue to lead DTI and Delaware’s transition to a more digital government,” said Carney. “But his work and expertise has never been more important than over the last six months – as we have battled this COVID-19 pandemic. James and his team have kept state workers connected throughout this crisis, making sure they could continue to deliver vital services to Delaware families. He has worked with the private sector to expand high-speed broadband service across rural Delaware and to protect Delawareans from cyber threats. We will miss James’ leadership but wish him well at Microsoft.”

Collins, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, previously served as Director of the Division of Professional Regulation, Deputy Secretary of State, Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Governor Markell. Collins was first nominated as CIO by Governor Jack Markell and confirmed by the Delaware Senate in 2014.

In 2017, Collins worked to pass legislation – sponsored by Representative Paul Baumbach and signed into law by Governor Carney – that modernized protections for Delawareans affected by breaches of cybersecurity, a release noted.

As CIO, Collins led major modernizations of information technology systems including elections and child welfare systems, corporate filing platforms, and licensing applications.

“It has been my great honor to serve in the Carney Administration and work with such dedicated public servants committed to improving life in Delaware throughout my years of public service,” said Collins. “I have been blessed with amazing opportunities in the course of my career, so I am excited for this next step to continue helping governments and institutions of higher learning transform to deliver digital services on a national scale.”

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