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FI$Cal’s Founding Director Sworn in for New State Role

The longtime state executive has been elevated to a key role in her former department’s parent agency, the California Government Operations Agency. She was sworn in Monday.

The longtime director of the state’s main financial management department was sworn in Monday as the undersecretary of that department’s parent agency.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office on Friday evening announced the appointment of Miriam Barcellona Ingenito, director of the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal), as the undersecretary of the California Government Operations Agency (GovOps).

Barcellona Ingenito was sworn in by GovOps Secretary Amy Tong, former state chief information officer and director of the California Department of Technology.

Barcellona Ingenito is a longtime executive in state government, having served in multiple roles with increasing responsibility across several departments. With FI$Cal, she began as an executive partner in 2015 and was named director in 2016, when the project officially became a department of state government.
Miriam Barcellona Ingenito being sworn in virtually.
Miriam Barcellona Ingenito was sworn in Monday as undersecretary of the Government Operations Agency, which tweeted this photo.

FI$Cal, which serves as the state’s business office, has relatively new leadership at the top: In December, Barcellona Ingenito named Jennifer Maguire as chief deputy director, Toquyen Collier as chief information officer, and Ken Ketsdever as chief information security officer.

Maguire will serve as acting director until the position is filled permanently, a FI$Cal spokesperson told Industry Insider California on Monday.

Before joining FI$Cal, Barcellona Ingenito had been chief deputy director for the California Department of Toxic Substances Control from 2013 to 2015; deputy secretary for Environmental Policy for the California Environmental Protection Agency from 2011 to 2013; deputy director of legislation for the California Department of Finance from 2009 to 2011; and principal consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Appropriations from 2001 to 2009. Before that, she served as assistant to the secretary for Policy and Program Analysis for the California Natural Resources Agency from 1999 to 2001, and had been a fiscal and policy analyst with the California Legislative Analyst’s Office from 1997 to 1999.

She is a graduate of the University of San Francisco, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in politics, and the University of Chicago, where she received her master’s degree in public policy. Barcellona Ingenito, an Elk Grove resident, is a member of California Women Lead and Latinas in Tech.

The GovOps position does not require Senate confirmation, and the annual compensation is $205,841.

The FI$Cal spokesperson provided the following chronology of events during Barcellona’s tenure:
  • The state Department of Finance (DoF) prepared the 2015-16 Governor’s Budget of $164.7 billion using the FI$Cal system.
  • STO began transacting in the FI$Cal system in August 2015, after which the department deployed departmental accounting and procurement. Also that month, FI$Cal transitioned 52 state entities to Wave 2 functionality.
  • Next came the release of a new vendor portal (Cal eProcure) to production in December 2015. By January 2016, this modernized procurement system, operated by the California Department of General Services, provided access to bids and solicitations for approximately 50,000 suppliers/vendors.
  • In 2016, FI$Cal transitioned from a project under DoF to a new state department, the Department of FI$Cal. The department was charged with the responsibility of operating and maintaining California’s statewide financial system and facilitating transparency. In July 2016, the department upgraded and redesigned the budget solution and deployed it statewide to all remaining budget users, plus six more state entities onboarded for accounting and procurement. That month, it also launched its first business intelligence platform, allowing for financial analytics and visual representations of data.
  • July 2017 saw the release of the STO’s initial control functionality and the onboarding of 30 departments into the FI$Cal system. In the same year, FI$Cal implemented a private cloud appliance (PCA), migrated the budget system to PCA, and upgraded network hardware. This provided the infrastructure that allowed enough processing capacity to support future releases.
  • In July 2018, FI$Cal brought 64 departments into the system, including the largest and most complex departments in the state. 2018 also marked the start of the State Controller’s Office (SCO) and STO Integrated Solution, which defined milestones toward project completion. Additionally, control and audit functional improvements were implemented as part of Milestone 1, and FI$Cal staff took over all operation of the Financial Services Cloud. In October, FI$Cal released Milestone 2, the STO operations and bank integration that synchronizes more than $2.5 trillion annually in cash management, and began deployment of the SCO integration. In September, the department launched the pilot of its financial transparency website, Open FI$Cal, which offers a window into how departments are spending public funds.
  • Between November 2018 and July 2020, the department deployed the Integrated Solution, which built interfaces between the FI$Cal system and legacy systems. It also deployed FI$Bot, an in-system virtual agent that answers questions while end users are logged into PeopleSoft. As part of Milestone 4, in July 2020, the SCO ledger conversion went live in the system and created temporary interfaces, allowing for replication of the ledger without duplicate work for department users.
  • FI$Cal staff assumed system operations and maintenance from Accenture in January 2019, marking another significant achievement for the department. Since then, FI$Cal has released or improved upon 344 enhancements and tools to improve user experience and customer service, continually adding innovation to the system.
  • On June 25, 2021, FI$Cal successfully deployed the final functionality of the FI$Cal project, the SCO/STO Integrated Solution. Implementation of this milestone allows the FI$Cal system to capture the information required to generate the state’s key financial reports, validate the balances and ensure that the data captured in FI$Cal aligns with SCO’s legacy systems. FI$Cal now has the necessary functionality to produce a parallel Budgetary/Legal Basis Annual Report (BLBAR) and a parallel Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR).

Barcellona Ingenito, who has spoken at industry conferences, has also written commentaries for Industry Insider and participated in numerous briefings and interviews.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies including USA Today in Washington, D.C.