Wyoming CIO Bill Vajda quietly resigned

After nearly a year as Wyoming’s top technology official, the state’s chief information officer, Bill Vajda, resigned earlier this month, a spokesman for the CIO’s office wrote Wednesday in an email to StateScoop.

Kayla Woods, of the Wyoming Office of the Chief Information Officer, said Vajda resigned on January 13 and that Timothy Sheehan, deputy CIO and employee of the Department of Enterprise Technology Services for the past 12 years, is acting as interim CIO.

“I cannot speak to the reasons behind Bill’s resignation, but I can share that we are grateful for the leadership and service he provided to the state during his tenure,” Woods wrote.

Vajda could not be reached for comment.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon appointed Vajda last January, recruiting the former Alaska CIO for a position with the US Department of the Interior. In Wyoming, Vajda replaced Gordon Knopp, who had been fired along with the state health director Mike Ceballos following a records leak.

After his appointment to Wyoming, Vajda told StateScoop last February that he was drawn there, and to Alaska, by the “newness and freshness” of border states with small populations.

“I think for me the satisfying part about state government and local government is the proximity to your constituents,” he said at the time. “There’s a lot more immediacy just by being in that place.”

He listed cybersecurity, IT modernization and digital services as his top priorities, along with an interest in pursuing blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

Last May, his office signed an agreement with the University of Wyoming to develop an executive-level training program for students interested in becoming state IT professionals.

In an interview on StateScoop’s Priorities podcast last December, Vajda said the workforce was “probably the No. 1 priority for everyone.”

“There are a lot of jobs open, a lot of recruiting that needs to go on,” he said, adding that there is increased opportunity for organizations to recruit remote workers outside of their usual narrow candidate pools.

At the Department of the Interior, Vajda assisted with the pandemic response, which included the federal government’s shift to largely remote operations.

Prior to Interior and Alaska, Vajda served in a variety of other IT and management roles, including five years as a city manager in his hometown of Marquette, Michigan. He, too, worked in Washington in the early 2000s, serving as the CIO of the US Department of Education and as an adviser to other agencies, including the National Security Agency and the IRS.