Interior Department chief information officer Bernie Mazer is retiring in July and transitioning out of his role today.
In an email obtained by Federal News Radio, Andrew Jackson, Interior’s outgoing deputy assistant secretary for technology, information and business services, said Mazer would stay on for the next several months to help with the selection of a successor and advise on other ongoing priorities.
“I want to express my gratitude for Bernie’s service and for leading a team of employees that enable the continued success, growth, and maturity of our IT across Department of the Interior,” Jackson wrote to staff. “Bernie has been an instrumental part of the Department of the Interior for almost four years, leading OCIO into one of the most innovative IT departments in the federal government.”
Jackson was appointed by President Barack Obama on March 11 to be the assistant secretary for management at the Education Department. His last day at Interior is today as well.
In the interim, Sylvia Burns will be acting as CIO. She has been the acting associate deputy CIO for service planning and management since 2009.
Mazer’s decision to retire after more than 25 years in government comes as a host of long-term CIOs decide to leave government. Rob Carey, the principle deputy CIO for the Defense Department, announced he’s retiring after 31 years earlier this week, and at least six others with a tenure of more than three years have left or are planning to leave government.
Many in the federal IT community say Mazer has been the most effective Interior CIO in a long time.
Federal IT observers and experts say because Mazer was a bureau CIO first, at the Fish and Wildlife Service, he brought credibility and trust from his peers.
With that knowledge and relationships and the support of former Secretary Ken Salazar, Mazer transformed the way Interior oversees and manages IT. For decades, Interior had been a conglomerate of individual technology fiefdoms where the headquarters CIO had little power or authority to make change.
But starting in December 2010, Salazar consolidated IT oversight into the CIO and made the bureau-level CIOs, assistant director for information resources. Interior’s approach became the model for the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), which aims to have only one person with the title of CIO per agency. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), author of FITARA, said there are 243 people with the title CIO across the government.
Then in June 2011, Mazer issued a roadmap to transformed its infrastructure and save nearly $500 million between 2016 and 2020 by moving to cloud computing, improving customer expectations and services and focusing on new ways to buy products and services.
Since those two major changes, Mazer has consolidated 14 email systems across the agency, reduced the number of data centers by 55 and created a shared services organization that is focusing on infrastructure activities such as hosting, workplace computing, telecommunications and an enterprise service desk
Mazer also was active on the CIO Council as the co-chairman of the Portfolio Management Committee, which focused on best practices in the areas of governance and management processes, optimization of commodity IT resources, the use of IT shared services platforms and enterprise architecture. He also led the council’s Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative working group that helped agencies begin to reduce the number of data centers they support.
Before coming to Interior, Mazer worked in the Defense Department in information management and telecommunications in the United States, Europe and Southwest Asia. He served as a Community Director of Information in Europe where he was responsible for automation, communications, IT security and privacy, records management and the Freedom of Information Act.