City of Dallas Hires a New CIO—And He Has a Vast Background in Federal Technology

Last week, Bill Zielinski, a longtime employee in the federal IT space, officially replaced Hugh Miller as Dallas' chief information officer.

The City of Dallas has a new chief information officer who spent the last three decades working for the federal government.

Bill Zielinski has replaced Gloria Lopez Carter, as reported by GovTech. Carter was serving as interim CIO after Hugh Miller announced he was leaving the position back in January.

Zielinski was formerly the assistant commissioner of the Information Technology Category for the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service. He worked in federal service for 30 years. But Federal News Network reported in April that Zielinski sent an email to colleagues saying he had “taken a job as a CIO of a large city out west.”

At the time, it wasn’t made public where he was headed.

“Although leaving GSA was a difficult decision, I am most confident that you are in good hands and will continue to transform the federal IT market and make great things happen on behalf of GSA, the agencies we serve and the American people,” Zielinski wrote in the email, per Federal News. “I will be proud to call myself an alumnus of GSA. There are so many newsworthy accomplishments of which GSA and ITC are a part and I’ve loved being able to tell my family how we help to improve the lives of the people of this country every day.”

His last day at GSA was June 5, according to the email. He became the Dallas CIO on June 8.

According to the article, Zielinski was a “big loss” for the federal IT community. Most of his roles were related to information technology during his time in the sector.

He first joined GSA in 2016 as the deputy assistant commissioner for category management. Later, per Federal News, he became the first acting commissioner and then full-time commissioner.

He was formerly the branch chief for the agency oversight office at the Office of Management and Budget, CIO at the Social Security Administration, regional commissioner for the San Francisco Region, and associate director for retirement services at the Office of Personnel Management.

Per GovTech, Zielinski was also the executive lead when implementing “the government-wide Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act.”

Zielinski told GovTech his past IT experiences prepared him for his new role in Dallas. He said he’s most excited about “getting back into community-based service delivery,” a type of work he did early in his career. He will also focus on cybersecurity and risks related to the supply chain.

Looking ahead, Zielinski sees service delivery taking on a more important role than ever post-coronavirus. He says the key is “finding out how to work as a city in areas where the digital divide persists,” which he expects to be both his biggest opportunity and challenge.

“We have the obligation to ensure that all the residents of the community have available to them the types of digital services that they need to conduct their lives,” Zielinski told GovTech. “The experience we’re having with the pandemic is sharpening that focus.”

Zielinski also told Federal Computer Week it will be federal agencies’ response to the pandemic that truly demonstrates how valuable IT modernization is.

“What we’re seeing during the response has shown the pandemic is a mixed bag,” he said. “For some agencies, we’ve seen little to no impact in terms of their day-to-day operations. For some agencies, especially for those who had moved early on with EIS and awarded contracts and had things scheduled, we’re not seeing a lot of impact,” he told the publication. “There was also a portion of agencies who weren’t as prepared for things like telework or remote work, and from a normal operations perspective we may have been seeing some slowing of activity as they addressed the immediate operational impacts.”

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