Sebelius' chief tech officer leaving, first major departure since website troubles
November 6th, 2013
03:41 PM ET
1 year ago

Sebelius' chief tech officer leaving, first major departure since website troubles

Washington (CNN) - The official in charge of technology at the federal agency that developed the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov website is leaving the government for a private sector job, according to an internal email announcement.

The email, sent Tuesday to staff at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, announced that Chief Information Officer Tony Trenkle would be retiring effective November 15.

"As the CIO, Tony provided oversight and leadership to CMS' 2 billion dollar annual expenditures on Information Technology (IT) products and services," CMS Chief Operating Officer Michelle Snyder wrote.

Despite numerous calls for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign or be fired in the wake of the online insurance exchange's troubled launch, Trenkle's departure is the first since the program went live on October 1.

Asked if Trenkle was being pushed out due to his role in the site's development, CMS communications director Julie Bataille declined to elaborate.

"Tony made a decision that he was going to move to the private sector and that is what our COO announced yesterday," Bataille told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

The email informed staff that in the short term, Trenkle's position will be filled internally. Dave Nelson, the current director of the Office of Enterprise Management, will serve as acting CIO following Trenkle's departure.

"Given the importance of the IT portfolio here we've moved quickly to fill this position with another internal staff member who has vast experience and knowledge of the IT issue," Bataille said.

Director of the Office of Information Products and Data Analytics Niall Brennan will replace Nelson as acting head of OEM.


Filed under: Health care • Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    It's called accountability. In China, this would have cost him his head. And Rumsfeld would have been chopped up from foot to head.

    November 6, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Kevin

    Heck of a job Tony!

    November 6, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. Data Driven

    "And Rumsfeld would have been chopped up from foot to head."

    It took 6 years for Bush to summon the manhood to fire Rumsfeld for his fraudulent conduct of the war, but believe whatever you want.

    November 6, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "Tampa Tim

    Fair – The question still is, "How many uninsured Americans have to die to get your attention? Give me a number, 1 million, 100000, how many? You can't just post negative crap, surely you must have an idea."
    ===

    Well now Tim, you're asking the wrong question if you want an answer from the GOP/Teatrolls/conservatives. It's not about how many Americans are dying; it's about whether it's the right ones.

    November 6, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain: Hey, GOP, where's our $24 billion reimbursement check?

    A website can be fixed; invading another country based on lies, losing over 4,000 military personnel and incurring trillions of dollars of debt – not so much.

    November 6, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. just saying

    nothing new here... a low level nobody taking the fall for the total incompetence of those at the top, including sebelius and obama. sebelius was repeatedly warned that the site was not ready and blasted ahead for purely political reasons. and then she and her minions either lied to obama or kept them in the dark.

    isn't funny though that the company that is headed by an alumni friend of michelle obama has been totally spared in this disaster? how about coming clean on who these companies were and why they got these no bid contracts?

    November 6, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. just asking

    Data Driven
    It took 6 years for Bush to summon the manhood to fire Rumsfeld
    --

    and all of the obama disasters have resulted in zero firings. actuially people were promoted. obama, rewarding incompetence and then wondering why we get more and more of it.

    November 6, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Wilson

    Is man a sovereign individual who owns his person, his mind, his life, his work and its products—or is he the property of the the state, the society, the collective; that they may dispose of him in any way it pleases, that may dictate his convictions, dictate the course of his life, control his work and own everything he produces? Does man have the right to exist for his own sake, or is he born in bondage, as an indentured servant who must keep buying his life by service to the state but can never acquire it free and clear?
    $

    November 6, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Wilson

    "A website can be fixed; invading another country based on lies, losing over 4,000 military personnel and incurring trillions of dollars of debt – not so much."
    -–
    Continuing to defend the present with mistakes of the past. Not a real good defense.

    November 6, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. $$$$

    How sad it must be to be a person who is so needy that you feel like you need the government in every aspect of your life. Most of you people should change your name to "Julia", so you can truly be like Obama's fictional cartoon character.

    #Pathetic.

    November 6, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "Is man a sovereign individual who owns his person, his mind, his life, his work and its products—or is he the property of the the state, the society, the collective; that they may dispose of him in any way it pleases, that may dictate his convictions, dictate the course of his life, control his work and own everything he produces? Does man have the right to exist for his own sake, or is he born in bondage, as an indentured servant who must keep buying his life by service to the state but can never acquire it free and clear?"

    Blah blah blah [insert vapid, hyperbolic parroting of conservative ideological mouthfarts, verbal diarrhea and word salad that is 100% irrelevant to the article or the overarching issues at hand but carefully designed to stir the emotions of people susceptible to wild conspiracy theories, apocalypse porn and yammering about the end times and the need for revolution]?

    November 6, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "sovereign"

    And right there, most of us stop reading because it's a red flag that we're about to be treated to a heady mélange of ideological word salad. BTW, you forgot to throw in a "we the people."

    November 6, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Wilson

    When "the common good" of a society is regarded as something apart from and superior to the individual good of its members, it means that the good of some men takes precedence over the good of others, with those others consigned to the status of sacrificial animals. It is tacitly assumed, in such cases, that "the common good" means "the good of the majority" as against the minority or the individual. Observe the significant fact that that assumption is tacit: even the most collectivized mentalities seem to sense the impossibility of justifying it morally. But "the good of the majority," too, is only a pretense and a delusion: since, in fact, the violation of an individual's rights means the abrogation of all rights, it delivers the helpless majority into the power of any gang that proclaims itself to be "the voice of society" and proceeds to rule by means of physical force, until deposed by another gang employing the same means.
    $

    November 6, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. Wilson

    If one begins by defining the good of individual men, one will accept as proper only a society in which that good is achieved and achievable. But if one begins by accepting "the common good" as an axiom and regarding individual good as its possible but not necessary consequence (not necessary in any particular case), one ends up with such a gruesome absurdity as Soviet Russia, a country professedly dedicated to "the common good," where, with the exception of a minuscule clique of rulers, the entire population has existed in subhuman misery for over two generations.
    $

    November 6, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. just asking

    impeach the liar in chief. he is the one responsible for this debacle. and this is only just beginning. the worse is yet to come in terms of tens of millions more losing their healthcare and millions losing their full time jobs outright or being switched to part time. why do you think obama hasn't been implementing this fiasco as written. he knows all of his lies will be evident and the prove the republicans have been telling the truth for 5 years now.

    democrats, the party of lies and decit. you all earned it. wear the badge proudly.

    November 6, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. loving it

    "just saying

    nothing new here... a low level nobody taking the fall for the total incompetence of those at the top"

    "The email, sent Tuesday to staff at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, announced that Chief Information Officer Tony Trenkle would be retiring effective November 15."

    The Chief Information Officer of an organization IS the top of the IT function.

    November 6, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Woman In California

    All of this outrage over a website which will eventually be up and running? What then CNN?

    November 6, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. tom l

    ECHO ECHO ECHO

    Dems are great. Repubs are racists who want everyone that isn't white to die. ECHO ECHO ECHO. Repubs are the worst humans in the world. Dems never lie! Dems care about the little guy. ECHO ECHO ECHO. Repubs are evil. ECHO ECHO ECHO. Tea trolls are racists! Repubs hate women! ECHO ECHO ECHO. In super sarcastic tone- Benghazi! Repubs are awful human beings. The Canadian should go back to Cuba! ECHO ECHO ECHO

    The echo chamber is alive and well! How did I do? Can I be part of the club?

    November 6, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Wow, Wilson, you learned how to copy & paste from a site containing Ayn Rand quotes. Kudos. I think I saw a chimpanzee trained to do that on Nova once.

    November 6, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. tom l

    Oooops, I forgot: it's a website, it's not an indicator of anything! ECHO ECHO ECHO Hillary in 2016! Repubs are the worst vermin on the earth! Dems are awesome! Dems care about the little person! Dems don't want Americans to have crappy swiss cheese plans! ECHO ECHO ECHO He didn't lie at all! It only affects 3% of the population! It was a misstatement! Repubs only use talking points! You must be a paid troll if you spew conservative talking points! ECHO ECHO ECHO. Dems good, repubs horrible. ECHO ECHO ECHO

    November 6, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "All of this outrage over a website which will eventually be up and running? What then CNN?"

    That's why they've pivoted to harping on the one false statement they can harp on from Obama about the ACA...you know, while ignoring the myriad statements peppering the intertubes from the GOP/Teatrolls that all the fact check sites rated as false. Nothing gets the MSM/GOP/Teatroll symbiote at "full mast" like hypocritical faux outrage.

    November 6, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "impeach the liar in chief. "

    Sorry, but political seller's talk is not a "high crime and misdemeanor." You really should educate yourself. It's extremely helpful with that sounding stupid problem you have.

    November 6, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. just saying

    loving it
    "just saying
    nothing new here... a low level nobody taking the fall for the total incompetence of those at the top"
    --
    "The email, sent Tuesday to staff at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, announced that Chief Information Officer Tony Trenkle would be retiring effective November 15."
    -–
    The Chief Information Officer of an organization IS the top of the IT function.
    -–

    which is what, maybe 5,6,7 levels below sebelius. the person responsible for making sure the job was done right. and notice the guy retires and is not fired. sebelius is the one that needs to be fired out right. her and the woman in charge of cms. that sends the message that failure and incompetence will not be tolerated. obama is simply incapable of being a strong leader and holding people accountable.

    November 6, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. sonny chapman

    Hey Wilson-Don't you think comparing a botched Website to the Iraq Debacle is just not quite right?

    November 6, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |