Veterans Affairs in search of a new deputy CIO

Art Gonzalez, the deputy chief information officer for service, delivery and engineering at the Veterans Affairs Department, is leaving government.

An email to VA’s Office of Information and Technology from Assistant Secretary and CIO LaVerne Council to staff says Gonzalez resigned and his last day is March 5.

“Art joined VA in 2013 to lead SDE through several phases of change,” Council said in the email to staff, that Federal News Radio obtained. “Art has contributed greatly to our OI&T Enterprise Strategy and I want to extend my personal appreciation for his time acting as both principal deputy assistant secretary and DCIO.”

Council said Susan McHugh-Polley will serve as acting deputy CIO once Gonzalez leaves. McHugh-Polley is the executive director of enterprise field operations and program manager for the VA’s Enterprise Cybersecurity Strategy Team.

This was Gonzalez’s second tour in the government. He spent five years as the IRS CIO in the mid-2000s. He also held several private sector positions, including as CIO of Oxford Health Plans and senior management positions in the banking industry.

Gonzalez becomes at least the fourth IT executive to leave the agency over the last seven months. He joins former CIO Stephen Warren, former chief information security officer Stan Lowe and, most recently, Greg Ambrose in leaving the agency for other positions in and out of government.

In the meantime, Council has been replacing and reshuffling the staff as they’ve turned over. In January, she added a new principal deputy CIO, Ron Thompson, and Nicole Mayerhauser joined as the executive director for enterprise project management.

Council told Federal News Radio in a recent interview that she plans to add more positions, including a lead data manager, and someone to lead the strategic sourcing and quality compliance offices.

“It is coming together. We have some great opportunities and some great roles, our account managers, two of the three have been named, and we still have one more to put in place,” she said. “It is a bigger lift than I anticipated coming in. When I looked over the organization and the importance of the mission, it was more important that we put a platform for success in place and that also meant we had to understand we need new leadership and go after it.”

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