Clarification on the White House’s CIO appointment

This morning The White House announced that Vivek Kundra will become, as the press release’s opening line put it, “the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the White House.”

Kundra was until recently the District of Columbia’s Chief Technology Officer, and had once been widely rumored to be Obama’s pick to be the first Federal CTO. The transparency community has been eagerly awaiting Obama’s appointment of a CTO, and it appears they will have to wait sometime longer; the White House’s release makes clear that Kundra will “work closely with” CTO, meaning he himself won’t have that role.

In addition to the Federal CIO title, an OMB spokesperson confirmed to CJR that Kundra will serve as administrator of the OMB’s Office of E-Government and Information Technology.

Kundra has already told reporters that he intends to create, a new website that, as The New York Times explains it, “will put vast amounts of government data online.”

UPDATE 3:15pm: Tom Gavin, OMB’s Deputy Associate Director for Strategic Planning and Communications (phew!), called CJR to offer further clarification. The Federal CIO and the E-Gov Administrator are two separate positions that both report to the OMB’s Deputy Director of Management (who has yet to be appointed).

“The roles are very complementary and there’s significant overlap in responsibility, ” says Gavin, who confirmed that Kundra will be wearing both hats.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.