The Social Security Administration did not fully assess the impact of a major internal overhaul last June, which eliminated the chief information office and reassigned its functions, according to testimony from a Government Accountability Office official.
At the time, most of the responsibilities for managing information technology and the IT budget were reassigned to SSA’s Office of Systems. Two months later, then CIO Frank Baitman resigned. Kelly Croft, deputy commissioner for systems, assumed the CIO duties and oversight of those IT workers.
SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue said the effort would increase efficiency, but SSA did not develop a management plan that describes the challenges associated with the realignment or how to resolve them, time frames, resources, performance measures and accountability structures, according to written testimony from Valerie Melvin, GAO’s director of information management and technology resources issues. Melvin spoke on the issue at a House subcommittee hearing last week.
SSA also failed to analyze what roles and responsibilities were needed to support the new changes, Melvin said in her testimony.
She said the new structure should provide effective oversight and management of SSA’s systems and modernization if implemented properly, but it “cannot be determined whether the reassignment of staff that occurred as a result of the realignment represents an optimal allocation of resources.”