Monday, September 23, 2002
Davis Names Law Professor Kelso to Technology Post
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Law professor J. Clark Kelso has been named special advisor on information technology for the state by Gov. Gray Davis, the governor’s office reported Friday.
Kelso, who teaches at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, was also named chief information officer for the State of California by the governor. His duties will include leading the governor’s Information Technology Management Initiative, working with other leaders in information technology and making recommendations to the governor for managing the state’s information technology systems.
Kelso comes to the position fresh from three months of managing the now-dissolved state Department of Information Technology, an agency set up to address IT issues related to the year 2000. In November of 2000, Davis appointed Kelso chair of the California Earthquake Authority. In that same month, Davis also confirmed Kelso’s appointment as acting insurance commissioner.
Despite being a professor of law, Kelso said, his IT experience is “both varied and long.” He has “substantial” experience in programming and designing systems in the late 1970s and early ’80s, he said, then worked on various systems for California and national courts.
However, he said, he was hired more for his experience as a lawyer who has worked with state government on legislation and legal issues for the last ten years.
“The main reason I think I’m here is because we remain in something of a period of uncertainty about the state’s IT program,” Kelso said. “One of the things I’ve done fairly well over the last decade is help resolve problems in state government.”
In his new position, he hopes to address several of the main IT problems facing California, he said, including computer security and privacy as they relate to homeland security, making more state services available online and streamlining the state’s purchasing system.
Kelso is noted for his work with the California state government to improve the judicial system. He has worked with all three branches of the state government on constitutional amendments, legislation and rules of court intended to improve California’s courts. He has served on several task forces for the California Judicial Council, reforming court rules for jury selection, appellate courts and business courts, among others. In 1998, he was given the Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae award for outstanding contribution to California’s courts.
At the McGeorge School of Law, Kelso directs both the Capital Center for Government, Law and Policy and the Governmental Affairs Program. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and a law degree from Columbia University and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy when Kennedy was a justice on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company