Acting Federal CIO Has Been in the Job for Months, OMB Confirms

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Even some federal IT officials who work closely with the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer weren’t aware that Michael Rigas has been serving as acting Federal CIO for months.

The Office of Management and Budget appointed an acting Federal Chief Information Officer months ago without so much as a press release or a memo to agencies.

The federal government had seemed to be without a permanent IT leader since former CIO Suzette Kent stepped down in July. According to an OMB memo released Friday, Michael Rigas, who already holds several top positions in the federal government, is also serving as the acting federal CIO.

The procedural memo dated Nov. 13, first reported by MeriTalk, extends governmentwide requirements for OMB’s Data Center Optimization Initiative that expired Oct.1.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Rigas stepped in as acting Federal CIO when Kent left office in July. An OMB official confirmed to Nextgov that this timeline is accurate.

Rigas wears many temporary hats, including acting Federal CIO, acting deputy director for management at OMB and acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, where he also serves as the—non-acting—deputy director. Trump has nominated Rigas to serve as the permanent OMB deputy director, though his appointment is awaiting Senate confirmation.

Nextgov spoke with several federal officials Monday, none of whom had received any word from OMB on the appointment, including IT officials who work directly with the Office of the Federal CIO on a regular basis. One person said they had heard rumors of the appointment this summer but never saw anything official.

Some attendees at the last meeting of the Federal CIO Council at the end of October said there were no announcements or indications at that time that an acting federal CIO had been named and the council website still lists the position as vacant. The meeting was run by Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat; Rigas was not at the meeting, according to attendees Nextgov spoke with.

Prior to his current extensive list of duties, Rigas served in management positions at a number of government agencies, including the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services and two stints at the General Services Administration, though none of those positions included an IT management component.

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