State job: Chief Information Officer
University of Maine System job: Chief Information Officer
Date of appointment: April 2011
Job advertised: No
Job search: No
Appointed by: Rebecca Wyke, System vice chancellor and treasurer
Education requirements: No minimum education requirements are listed, but an advanced degree in a relevant field is “preferred.” The previous head of technology had two degrees in computer science.
His degree: High school diploma.
His comment: Did not respond to request for comment.
System comment: The university system was “engaged in major facility and equipment upgrades” when the former chief information officer had to speed up his retirement due to an illness in the family. This justified waiving the usual search, according to Tracy Bigney, the System’s human resources chief. She said “relevant experience can be substituted for the educational” requirements for any job, explaining why Thompson was hired despite having no college degrees. “He was extremely well qualified,” she said, citing a national award he won from a technology group.
Background: The job description asks for “minimum” 10 years experience in information technology; Thompson’s resume shows eight years of such experience. Thompson was brought into the state government IT job by Gov. John Baldacci and Rebecca Wyke, the state chief financial officer, to fix the notorious Medicaid billing problems due to computer problems in the state Department of Health and Human Services. CIO magazine investigated the controversy, including Thompsons’s role while head of state procurement in putting out bid requests for a new system to fix the billing problem. A technology expert quoted in the article calls Thompson’s handling of the bids “a big misstep” that contributed to lost time and money in solving the problem. Thompson was subsequently promoted to be the state’s IT chief.