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Obama's Technology Czar on the Outs?

POSTED: 04:48 PM ET, 03/13/2009 by Derek Kravitz

The arrest yesterday of a D.C. government official on bribery charges may lead to the quick resignation of President Obama's chief information officer.

Vivek Kundra, who recently headed D.C.'s Office of Technology, signed on to become the first-ever technology czar to help increase government efficiency. The 34-year-old was previously technology adviser on Obama's transition team. He has since taken a leave of absence.

While in his D.C. role, Kundra was known for "taking an unconventional approach to government, which is not typically first to adopt the latest computing trends":

Kundra has introduced popular consumer tools to bureaucratic processes, runs his office like a tech start-up and works by the mantra that citizens are "co-creators rather than subjects."

Yesterday, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said he was unaware of the technology office investigation until yesterday's raid and arrests. He said the city will "cooperate fully" with the probe, according to The Post's Del Quentin Wilber and Nikita Stewart.

And the arrest of the government official begs a few questions, Computerworld notes:

The management abilities of Yusuf Acar, the acting chief IT security officer who was arrested, are open to question, too. Was something missed in the background checks? Hello, auditors?

By Derek Kravitz |  March 13, 2009; 4:48 PM ET
Previous: Anger After Madoff Plea, FBI Raids D.C. Tech Office, Obama's 'Mr. No' | Next: AIG Pays Millions in Bonuses, Asbestos Allegations at Smithsonian, Red Cross: 'Torture' at CIA Jails


Please email us to report offensive comments.

When was the first time the term "Czar" was ever used in government in the U.S.A.?

The "government efficiency" and "bribes" potential sky rocketed with today's story
about Chinese Premier Wen Jinbao because
someone thinks that he now
"has given China more leverage in its
dealings with Washington".

In order to "guarantee the safety" of Chinese investments, just what exactly is Premier Wen Jinbao thinking of extracting from us?


Because we owe, we owe,
does that mean
that from now on
off to war we go
as a proxy army for the Chinese
to do their bidding,
to war where they want us to war,
when they want us to war,
and upon whom they want us to war?

Ms. Cris Ericson

Posted by: crisericson | March 15, 2009 12:00 AM

Kundra past work history is questionable. The two technology companies he stated that he worked
for were not really successful. Envincible only managed to get a couple of contracts. Creostar was
also as unsuccessful. The IT community in the Washington D.C. region full well knows that in the late 90's
it was not that impossible to get contracts. In addition, naming yourself as an "executive" with a
company that only has a handful of employees sends the wrong message. Most people think of executives
as persons who manage hundreds of people.

Kundra never had a successful career in start-ups. He may be able to talk technology and in the process
"hypnotize" the likes of Fenty, but real technology workers can cut through the bs.

How Kundra received his position with Governor Kaine of VA is cronyism at its best. VA's secretary of
technology is a guy named Aneesh Chopra. Both Kundra and Chopra met through family. Chopra recommended
Kundra for the assistant secretary job.

A good question is whether contracts in VA were handed out in the same manner. I wonder if members of
Kaine's administration are being or about to be investigated as well.

As for Kundra tenure at OCTO, his achievements are non-existent. I wonder if anyone ever talked
to people who worked for Kundra. He was despised by his staff and the lower-level employees. Google Apps
was never fully rolled out to all District agencies. Many of his projects were simply in the planning
stages. None ever were ever completed.

Kundra was never a good manager. I am surprised that publications like fail to question his
accomplishments. There are a multitude of State CIOs, federal agency CIOs and CIOs in the private
arena who are more qualified and ethical.

Posted by: washdc2009 | March 15, 2009 1:49 AM

@Washdc2009--spoken like a true bitter techie who has been talking to other bitter techies. There's a lot of jealousy amonngst techies. It's rather odd, I think. At any rate, it's pretty clear that much of your comment is based on the perception(s) of people who don't really know Kundra, his work and/or his accomplishments.

Posted by: eastoftheriver | March 15, 2009 10:48 AM

I agree with "eastoftheriver" completely - "washdc2009" is clearly bitter/jealous of Kundra's accomplishments. Here's some unbiased analysis on why Kundra needs to get back to his CIO job:

Posted by: integrity05 | March 15, 2009 10:30 PM

I love the paper and will get it daily.
Thanks so much.

Great Job

Posted by: althompson | March 20, 2009 8:06 PM

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