Mich. merges IT and budget departments

In a demonstration of continued consolidation, Michigan’s Department of Management and Budget (DMB) and Department of Information Technology will merge, Governor Jennifer Granholm announced Tuesday. The move will more closely align two departments vital in streamlining government and creating efficiencies, Gov. Granholm said.

“We are continuing to reform, restructure, and streamline state government,” Gov. Granholm said in a statement. Michigan’s current CIO Ken Theis will continue to oversee DIT, taking the top spot of the combined department when the consolidation is complete. Recently, Mr. Theis said that Michigan was working to make it a destination for information technology jobs. He told Government Technology in September that an uptick of rural sourcing and urban sourcing of IT jobs is taking place in Michigan. As evidence of this, he pointed to a pair of new facilities announced over the summer by IBM and General Electric. Combined, the two are expected to bring almost 3,000 new high-tech jobs to the state.

The move is part of a broader effort by the Granholm administration to consolidate bureaucracy across state government, officials said. In 2003, the governor said her administration would reduce the twenty state departments to enhance service delivery at lower costs to taxpayers. And this year, Michigan Lt. Governor John Cherry, Jr. was tapped to lead a comprehensive effort to bring the total number of state agencies down to eight.

The DIT, DMB consolidation is further proof that government can do more with less, according to Lt. Gov. Cherry. “The governor’s decision to move forward in merging these two departments is consistent not only with our findings, but our recommendation,” he said. “It also recognizes the critical role technology plays in government streamlining.”

Long-time Granholm confidant and director of DMB, Lisa Webb Sharpe, will step down from her position, leaving chief deputy director of DIT Phyllis Mellon, to serve as director of DMB on a temporary basis. Robert Emerson will continue to serve as the state budget director, and the Office of the State Budget will not be affected by the merger, officials indicated.

“With this announcement, our efforts will have resulted in the net elimination of five state departments and nearly 200 boards and commissions,” Gov. Granholm concluded. “And we will continue to streamline.”

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