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Kundra's leaving evokes some congrats, some good riddances

The government IT and social media communities must have positive attitudes or the never-extinguished entrepreneurial spirit, even as one of their leaders heads off to Harvard University. Or it's something else.

Vivek Kundra, the first-ever federal CIO who on June 16 announced his departure from the position in August, received numerous congratulations and a “way to go” on Facebook. Most of the tweets on his announcement were simple links to the available news stories. But those Twitterers who added their thoughts had upbeat comments. There was really no wailing or gnashing of teeth. They weren’t fearful of a sinking ship once Kundra’s gone.

“Sad to hear, but best of luck!” tweeted @Agent11.

Tweeters also acknowledged Kundra’s work.

“CIO Vivek Kundra leaving WH...bummer. He has been a huge advocate for cloud computing in the federal space,” tweeted @BeckyMaeW.

On the other hand, the flavor of comments on FCW was quite different.

Readers are glad he's gone. Many said good riddance -- don't let the door hit you on the way out.

"No pay freeze at Harvard and not sticking around to see if any of the 25 mandates really take...no surprise here. The Fed CIO was just a good step for climbing the personal success ladder," one reader wrote.

Another reader described Kundra.

"He was just like a seagull," wrote M from Reston. "He came in squawked a lot, messed all over the place and now he is flying away."

In Washington, D.C., the communities may have some deeper issues they never talk about. They live in a world where they know someone of such high position in an administration is destined to leave. It's a matter of when. The communities have learned to not get attached for fear of that broken heart. Some people however, may not have dealt with those feelings of heartache.

"First rat off the ship," one FCW reader wrote.

Other Twitterers looked past even the congratulations, or the good riddances, to bring up the next important part of the story.

“The choice of his replacement is a critical one,” @MAlexJohnson tweeted.

“Happy trails Vivek, who will take his place??” @peterk12 tweeted too.

@jakebrewer had a different thought though. Convince Kundra to forget Harvard and stay in Washington.

“Chant anyone? ‘Don’t. go. C.I.O.,” he tweeted.

I’m not sure I’ve heard any chanting, especially among some FCW readers.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jun 16, 2011 at 12:56 PM


Reader Comments

Mon, Jun 20, 2011

While Kundra's qualities as a visionary are clear, his track record on long-term execution is questionable at best. The IT Dashboard and Data.gov sites were great ideas, but neither has provided the kind of value Kundra promised. Criticisms including the IT Dashboard has inaccurate and outdated records throughout the site while Data.gov is heavily focused on geospatial datasets without providing any data that’s not available elsewhere. Understandably, such endeavors take time and consistent leadership to mature. Why then is Kundra bolting before ensuring his visionary ideas amount to long-term solutions offering the American people the kind of value he always boasts about? The answer is simple (and perhaps harsh) but certainly not unique to Kundra. Kundra at heart is not a visionary but an opportunist who has always sought opportunities for his own advancement. He was one of four IT Director’s for Arlington County government for a period of 16 months. He then jumped to the role of Virginia’s Assistant Secretary for Commerce for 15 months. He then jumped to the role of DC’s CTO and served for 22 months. And now he has served 21 months as the US CIO - case in point. Why are we so surprised that he’s moving on? Has he left a record of substance or sustainability at any of his previous jobs? Hope Harvard get’s more out of him than the President along with his four previous bosses did.

Mon, Jun 20, 2011

Kundra is [in]famous for blaming Integrators that IT projects are failing and not actually taking a holistic view of the situation. The federal government's acquisition system, monitoring, and oversight are just as much (if not more) to blame. However it's much easier to point fingers and look internally. Hopefully his successor has the ability to look inside as well as externally.

Sun, Jun 19, 2011

Exactly what did Vivek Kundra do? Started a cloud first policy but doesn't give any thought into how you make the "cloud" FISMA compliant among other things. His ideas sound great to academia and lawmakers. In his defense, the Fed CIO is a figurehead position with zero power to do anything.

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 slim

...and mostly, yawns.

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