Minnesota CIO to step down


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Minnesota Chief Information Officer Carolyn Parnell announced Tuesday she plans to resign Jan. 5, becoming the latest CIO in recent weeks to who has decided to step down.

In a memo to employees of MN.IT, the state’s information technology agency, Parnell said, “I believe that MN.IT Services has reached important milestones that make it possible for me to step away and pursue new challenges.  I want you to know that the fact that I’m leaving says something about my faith in all of you to carry on with the momentum we have created together,” she added.

Parnell came to the Minnesota state government in 2011 after serving as the chief operating officer for information technology services for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, the fifth-largest system of two- and-four year colleges and universities in the country, in a career that has spanned more than 25 years.

Parnell oversaw the consolidation of the state’s information technology systems, employees and administration, including establishing a statewide project management office to ensure greater accountability for the state’s major technology investments and contracts.

“As commissioner of MN.IT Services, Carolyn Parnell ably led major reforms in our state government’s information technology and related services,” Gov. Mark Dayton, who was recently elected to a second term, said in a release. “This consolidation improved agencies’ efficiencies and saved Minnesota taxpayers nearly $28 million. I am grateful to Carolyn for her dedicated service to the people of Minnesota.” In the release, Dayton announced the state would begin accepting applications for her replacement atop MN.IT.

The agency is part of Minnesota’s executive branch and provides the full range of IT services to over 70 agencies, boards and commissions. MN.IT also makes available a subset of services to other Minnesota government entities and education institutions. It includes a staff of nearly 2,100 people that work in 90 different locations across the state, including 22 agency-based offices. Its primary role is to set the strategy, direction, policies and standards for the state, and manage over 2,000 distinct citizen-facing and back-office applications.

Parnell is the latest in a series of state technology leaders to announce plans to leave their posts.

Karen Robinson, the chief information officer for Texas, announced she would retire from public service after the new year. Claire Bailey, the chief technology officer for Arkansas, resigned in October, citing health issues, after one of the longest current tenures of any state technology leader in the country. And two weeks ago, Aaron Sandeen, the CIO for Arizona, announced he and two other high-ranking state technology officials would leave government at the end of the year to pursue opportunities in the private sector.

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Carolyn Parnell, Minnesota, State & Local News, States