Department of Technology Chief Deputy Director Paul Benedetto said today that after 30 years of state service, he’s ready to step aside and let the next generation of IT professionals take charge.
“I think a lot of us are getting to that age where we feel like we’ve done about all we can do, and now it’s time for younger people to step up and take on some of these challenges,” said Benedetto, who will try his hand in the private sector to see how it goes.
Benedetto says the timing of his retirement has nothing to do with the recent reorganization that changed the California Technology Agency into a department under the newly created Government Operations Agency. He says he enjoys his job, loves public service and has had strong support from the governor’s office.
So why now? At this point in his life, he wants to pursue other opportunities and spend more time with his family. His last day of state service is on September 30.
“Paul has been a dedicated public servant and has served in many key leadership positions,” said Department of Technology Director Carlos Ramos in a statement. “ He’s been an important part of my executive team and a good friend. As he retires, he leaves a legacy of leadership and accomplishment. I am happy for him but the State’s IT community and the California Department of Technology will feel the impact of his departure.”
Benedetto, 53, was appointed by Governor Brown to serve as undersecretary of the California Technology Agency in 2011. Prior to that appointment, he served as director and chief deputy director of the Office of Systems Integration (OSI), starting in 2007. He served in other high-profile IT roles including as chief of the Information Systems Division in the Infrastructure Support Section at the Department of Motor Vehicles from 2005 to 2007, and chief of the Administrative Services Bureau in the Information Systems Division of the State Controller’s Office from 1999 to 2004. His first state job was as an office assistant in the file section of the Department of Justice when George Deukmejian was attorney general, he said.
His proudest accomplishment, he jokes is “not screwing up OSI,” referring to the agency that manages large-scale IT projects that support programs under the Health and Services Agency (CHHS). Benedetto was chief deputy director under then director Carlos Ramos and took over as director after Ramos left the position.
“I am very grateful to Carlos for the opportunity to be a chief deputy at OSI and his continued support of my directorship at OSI and him asking me to be the undersecretary here… A lot of what I have been able to achieve, has truly been because of him,” said Benedetto who also thanked former CHHS Undersecretary Joe Munso and former DOJ CIO Nick Dedier as friends and mentors to him during his career.
“I’ve known Paul for more than 15 years, and he has always been the consummate ‘connector,’” said Shell Culp, chief deputy director of OSI in an email. ”Paul’s gift at building and maintaining relationships is an inspiration for us all!”
Other highlights of his career he says are what he helped accomplish at the Technology Agency, including streamlining some archaic processes and finding the right people for important positions, such as Ron Hughes as the director of the Office of Technology Services. He also made it a priority to promote “true partnerships” with private sector vendors and state staff.
“For me, it’s as much the journey as the successes that we’ve had on the way. The biggest success…has been the people I’ve had a chance to work with,” Benedetto said.