The embattled Department of Veterans Affairs recently hired a new assistant deputy chief information officer for IT project management and product development and a chief learning officer for the Office of Information and Technology, according to an internal email obtained by FedScoop.
The July 8 email from CIO Stephen Warren welcomes the addition of Steve Schliesman as the new assistant deputy CIO for project management and product development. The former director of the agency’s major transformation initiatives under ousted Secretary Eric Shinseki — the so-called Secretary’s 16 Major Initiatives — Schliesman will lead the management of various VA projects, including “developing and deploying applications and systems that provide world class health care services and benefits to our Nation’s Veterans,” Warren said in the email.
Meanwhile, new Chief Learning Officer Jim Trinka — a former director of training and development at the FAA and former chief learning officer for the FBI — joins VA’s CIO office from his previous position as executive director of the Leading EDGE program, an effort established by the President’s Management Council to provide professional development to senior government executives.
In his new role at VA, Trinka “will serve as the primary advocate for transforming OI&T’s workforce into a learning organization,” Warren said in the email. “To accomplish this goal, he will be in charge of managing a comprehensive employee and leadership development program geared to sustaining a high-performing OI&T, which will better enable us to meet the growing needs of those who have borne the battle.”
The new appointments come at a tumultuous time for VA, as it remains under fire for what has been described as a culture of corruption and mismanagement at almost every level throughout the agency.
The new hires also come just a few months after a major management shakeup in the agency’s Office of Acquisition Operations left four of the top positions at the organization vacant. As of publication, VA’s website still lists those positions as vacant.
OAO is responsible for management and oversight of VA’s most complex acquisition requirements, including strategic information technology and medical systems. The office is staffed by 500 acquisition professionals in Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; Eatontown, N.J.; Fredericksburg, Va.; and Frederick, Md. Follow @DanielVerton