BATON ROUGE – Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols announced today that Richard “Dickie” Howze will serve as the state’s interim Chief Information Officer.
In his role as interim CIO, Howze will be tasked by Commissioner Nichols with a main focus of assisting the Department of Health and Hospitals to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of all of DHH’s IT products and services.
Commissioner Nichols said, “Based on his experience and record of getting results, Dickie will serve as point person is assessing our IT assets and investments and making sure we are making the best allocation of taxpayer resources.”
Howze comes to the interim CIO job from his current position of Director of Information Technology for the Department of Children and Family Services. In this role, he oversees the modernization and reorganization efforts designed to streamline the agency, decrease DCFS' overall footprint and implement new technology and systems to provide DCFS’ clients with more efficient and effective services.
Howze brings more than 34 years of public service in the Information Technology Division.
Last week Commissioner Nichols announced that Ruth Johnson, who was previously tapped to serve at the state’s next CIO, is instead serving as special advisor for the Division of Administration, overseeing the Medicaid Management Information Systems (MMIS) procurement process. Johnson’s new role is providing additional oversight and control to the RFP process. Johnson will also oversee the interim CIO and the Division’s IT operations.
The state’s CIO plays a major role on matters related to IT and IT resources, including policies, standards, hardware and software deployment, strategic and tactical planning, acquisition, management, and operations in keeping with industry trends. In addition, the CIO monitors e-government operations throughout state government and serves a key role in implementing the Commissioner’s initiatives to increase government efficiency and effectiveness.
Biography of Richard “Dickie” Howze
Prior to his current position of Director of Information Technology for the Department of Children and Family Services, Howze served as the Undersecretary for the Office of Management and Finance at DCFS. In this role, Howze was responsible for DCFS' $1 billion budget and the management fiscal services, human resources, information technology and planning, budget and support services.
As DCFS Undersecretary, Howze worked to develop and implement a statewide customer service call center, web-based enrollment, electronic case records and document imaging systems with the goal of improving customer service and client outcomes while reducing duplication, providing quality assurance and streamlining business processes.
Howze also has served as the director of DCFS' Division of Information Technology. As such, he was responsible for making final recommendations for DCFS' IT budget which includes all major expenditures including mainframe, desktop and network equipment and other technology. He managed DCFS' business and intelligence reporting, quality assurance and disaster recovery and continuity of operations planning for the agency, as well as the user support center, IT security, database administration, and applications, server and technical support.
Previously, Howze served as IT Deputy Director with responsibilities over IT security, agency-wide help desk, infrastructure and software management and database, IT operations, server and network areas. Prior to that, he served as the IT Technical Support Manager, supervising a team of information technologists responsible for the installation of all mainframe operating systems and software.