A profile of tech management in Virginia Beach

In Virginia Beach, the CIO job is split between IT and the city manager's office. That has yielded some impressive results and some difficult choices.


Public CIO has a piece on Virginia Beach's unique structure for technology management. City Manager Jim Spore created the CIO position as an office reporting directly to him, taking the CIO job out of IT and putting it directly in top management. "I wanted the CIO position to have the scope to govern IT across the entire organization, and to translate the vision of technology into a coordinated strategy for the city," he said.


"By moving my job out of IT and into the city manager's office, I had direct access to the decision-making process," says David Sullivan, the city's first CIO "No longer could decisions be made that I didn't know about, and it allowed me to communicate IT to other department chiefs, as well as give IT a voice at the city council level."

 But splitting the job between technology and politics means the number 2 IT official is even more important. The combination of a strong number 2 and a "cabinet-level" CIO has yielded some big wins for the city. They recently completed an $11 million overhaul of legacy systems and have made huge strides in e-government.

Interestingly, though, Sullivan ultimately decided he wanted to work exclusively in technology and quite the Virginia Beach post for an IT job in nearby Hampton Roads.