LANSING – Michigan Senate Oversight Committee members heard from the director of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget during a hearing to weigh reporting a recommendation on his confirmation to the full Senate.
Referring to himself as “an advocate of public service,” David DeVries told lawmakers Thursday he’d accepted the appointment from Governor Rick Snyder following several conversations about the position.
DeVries was appointed August 30 to fill the vacancy left when former DTMB Director David Behen resigned in June to take a position with La-Z-Boy, Incorporated.
Prior to his appointment DeVries was a former U.S. Office of Personnel Management chief information officer. He also had stints as deputy CIO for the U.S. Department of Defense and as the U.S. Army special assistant to the commanding general, in charge of enterprise-level IT services for the Army in the United States.
DeVries served more than 29 years in the U.S. Army after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Questions about effectively managing state information technology projects were among those he faced during a cordial hearing on his appointment.
DeVries said concerns about IT projects being completed in a timely fashion, on budget and successfully are critical across the tech industry, not just within state government.
“At the end of the day I’m responsible,” DeVries said.
Committee chair Sen. Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) said a problem lawmakers have faced in the past is clear communication from the agency as to where funds are going. He said assurances are given that progress will be made without seeing results for long periods of time.
“It gets quite frustrating,” Mr. MacGregor said.
Mr. DeVries said it’s important the agency continue to track the progress of projects in a way that’s transparent for lawmakers and others. It’s an ongoing effort that will continue, he said.
As to questions about staff retention, DeVries said that’s an ongoing challenge between state government and the private sector. He said a priority is to keep employees “in an ever-learning mode” due to rapid technology changes and keep them excited about the work they do.
This story was published by Gongwer News Service.