RIVERSIDE – Riverside County Chief Information Officer Kevin Crawford told the Board of Supervisors today he was making progress consolidating the county’s 30 separate information technology units and assured board members that securing their confidential communications remains a top priority.
Crawford, who was appointed head of the Department of Information Technology a year ago, provided the board with a 25-page report on strategies the agency is implementing to meet various goals — one of the most important being the centralization of IT operations.
The county’s IT infrastructure, encompassing all electronic data services, lacks uniformity because departments have their own technical support teams, according to Crawford.
He said the result has been overlap and waste. The goal is to streamline operations and increase efficiency, with an eye to ”utilizing our precious dollars the best way we can,” Crawford told the board.
He said around 700 employees work in county IT units. Consolidation was expected to wrap up by the end of the 2013-14 fiscal year, netting the county an estimated $12 million in annual savings thereafter, according to the IT chief.
”We got very heavy in that area,” board Chairman John Benoit observed. ”We don’t need to continue to employ 700 IT workers in the county. Glad you’re consolidating that.”
Supervisor Marion Ashley posed a series of questions regarding the reorganization, including whether all agencies had ”signed on” to the consolidation plan, how many jobs would be lost through attrition and whether any services would be outsourced as a result of the changes.
The supervisor didn’t put Crawford on the spot, allowing him however much time he needed to respond.
All the supervisors expressed concerns about the security of communications post-consolidation.
”We deal with some very confidential constituent-related emails and files,” Supervisor Jeff Stone said. ”I’d like to see … that we have a team of people who ensure that the appropriate electronic security walls are up and we’re not subject to hacking.”
The supervisor added that he wanted guarantees emails and documents tied to labor negotiations wouldn’t be compromised.
Crawford replied that, while head of IT for the city of Los Angeles, he oversaw programs to safely segregate and store data for 18 elected officials.
”We can ensure who does and does not have access,” he said. ”We can minimize any chance of anything being seen.”