State's Amin leaving CIO role temporarily

Wednesday - 10/5/2011, 5:22am EDT

(This story has been updated).

Kirit Amin, the chief information officer of the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, said he will take a 120-day reassignment with the State Department CIO.

He cited frustration with senior management decisions and the refusal of employees to change the way they work as some of the reasons for the move.

"I think we've made a tremendous difference in spite of opposition from people entrenched in the government for years," Amin said in an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio. " ... I was saying State was doing some contracts which are bad contracts — that was costing us far more than it should. I said 'Wait a minute,' and they want to cover it up. There is a lot of cronyism and nepotism going on at State."

A request for comment from the Bureau of Consular Affairs was not immediately returned.

"The duplication and waste in government is phenomenal, and I was not going to put up with that crap nor will I put up with contractors who will rip off the government," he said.

Amin said he will work for State Department CIO Susan Swart in the short term. He has been CIO at the Bureau of Consular Affairs for four years.

He said Haar Sandhu, the bureau's deputy CIO, will take over for him on an interim basis.

"The State Department is ruled by the foreign service. These guys go overseas and have a good time and come here and have no idea what they are doing," he said. "The agency is ruled by them, and even Secretary Hillary Clinton is starting to admit to that. I think the civil service employees are treated like doormats. You fight with them for what's right and they can't take it."

The American Foreign Service Association has objected to Amin's comments, calling them "outrageous."

Amin said he tried to change the system, but found push back at each step.

Amin wouldn't offer specifics about contractors or contracts but said these actions are why the government gets a bad name.

"I did very well on the industry side for 30 years and the reason I came to the federal government is to make a difference," he said. "Over the last four-plus years, I think I've made a difference. But I'm not going to deal with people in government who are complacent and lazy and get away with it. There are people who work very hard in government, but there are some in the community that don't."

Update: Two days after making his initial comments to Federal News Radio, Amin issued an apology to foreign service officers at his agency.

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