Senate Confirms Oveson as State's Chief Info. Officer

Senate Confirms Oveson as State's Chief Info. Officer

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Senate confirmed Val Oveson, a Republican and former two-term lieutenant governor, as the state's new chief information officer.

Oveson's confirmation on Tuesday followed the Dec. 31 resignation of embattled former CIO Phil Windley, who had been in the job since March 2001.

A legislative audit said Windley -- a former senior corporate officer at the now-defunct Internet service provider Excite(at)home -- showed favoritism by hiring nine of his former colleagues at inflated state salaries.

Oveson said he looked forward to "restoring trust and confidence" in a technology office with 800 employees.

"Information technology should not drive the agenda; it should facilitate the agenda," he said in brief remarks on the Senate floor.

Oveson was confirmed by a Senate vote of 27-0.

"He's our organizational chiropractor," said Sen. Carlene Walker, R-Salt Lake City.

Sen. David Steele, R-West Point, said Oveson had "tremendous qualifications," but he didn't mention any of them, even as Steele criticized "the media" for being "ignorant" of Oveson's qualifications.

Oveson served as Gov. Norm Bangerter's lieutenant governor from 1985 to 1993, chairman of the Utah State Tax Commission from 1993 to 1998 and state auditor from 1981 to 1985.

Five years ago, U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin picked Oveson to lead the reorganization effort of the national taxpayer advocate program, which involved the selection and training of 2,300 employees.

Oveson became the first person from outside the IRS to hold the post and was given the directive to solve complicated taxpayer problems that may have been sitting on the shelf for years.

A certified public accountant, Oveson went on to work as managing director of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, splitting his time between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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