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State audit finds major cost overruns for IT projects

A new state audit finds state agencies spent more than double the projected cost for information technology projects that took more than a year longer to complete than original estimates.

The Office of the State Auditor released a report Monday that determined the state spent $356.3 million more than expected on 84 IT projects during the Gov. Bev Perdue administration. It also found inadequate controls to monitor how much state agency's spend on various technology needs.

DENR gets new head computer nerd

Keith Warner has been named chief information officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, handling the IT for the 4,000 employees and their customers.

Warner has been deputy director for the department's Information Technology Services since last year. Before that he worked for Gartner and for CIBER.

"Keith represents the changing role of future CIOs," said Chris Estes, the state's chief information officer. "Keith brings us a services experience that aligns to how the technology industry is evolving with more software facilitating services arrangements.''

State health agency hires IT director

Joseph Cooper Jr., an information technology specialist with extensive professional experience at major banks, has been hired to be the chief information officer at the state Department of Health and Human Services.

This is a newly created executive-level position, and Cooper will earn $175,000 a year. He starts in early February.

Cooper will be responsible for all of the department's information technology projects, including the troubled Medicaid billing system, which is behind schedule and over budget.

McCrory says Administration Building fire shows bad shape of state buildings

Gov. Pat McCrory Monday showed reporters the site of an electrical fire in the Administration Building, using it illustrate how bad the physical plant had run down.

“This building could have been destroyed and we could have a loss of life,” McCrory said. “That is how broken the system is right now. And this is one of the better buildings we have right now in state government.''

“Before we build any new buildings, we have to take care of some of existing buildings and make sure they are safe for employees and make sure they have sufficient security for information systems, and make sure these long-term maintenance problems are fixed or it is going to cost the taxpayers even more money,'' McCrory said.

Personnel file: Affordable housing advocate leaves for Washington job

Chris Estes, executive director of the N.C. Housing Coalition, has a new job as president and CEO of the National Housing Conference, a Washington-based non-profit that advocates for affordable housing.

Estes ran the N.C. Housing Coalition for nine years. He starts his new job July 23. "Chris brings the skills and vision to strengthen the coalitions around housing that can marshal our collective strength in the difficult times ahead," said NHC Chairman John Kelly.

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