Dallas’ top IT official resigns after leading city through ransomware attack, massive data loss | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Dallas’ chief information officer is resigning after leading the city’s IT department through a ransomware attack and the loss of millions of police records during his tenure.

Bill Zielinski is leaving his position as head of Information and Technology Services effective April 30, the Dallas Morning News first reported. Current Chief Technology/Information Security Officer Brian Gardner will serve as the interim director for the department, according to a memo from City Manager T.C. Broadnax to the Dallas City Council Monday.

Broadnax wrote Zielinski told the city manager he was resigning two weeks ago.

“I want to sincerely thank William (Bill) Zielinski for his service to the City of Dallas and congratulate Dr. Brian Gardner on this new role,” Broadnax wrote.

Neither Zielinski nor other city officials responded to KERA News’ requests for comment. He told the News he’s leaving to pursue work in the private sector, and he said his resignation has nothing to do with Broadnax’s incoming departure in May.

Zielinski took the position in 2020 after spending at least a decade working in other government offices. The next year, he saw Dallas through its loss of millions of police records after a report concluded a former IT worker accidentally deleted those files.

That report found the data loss, which affected more than 17,000 cases, was a result of poor management and attempts to save money. Zielinski told the council then he was ready for his department to make significant changes to how it functions moving forward.

More recently, Zielinski oversaw the department during a ransomware attack against the city last year, which compromised the personal information of more than 30,000 people — mostly current or former city employees. The ransomware group Royal’s hack shut down the Dallas Police Department’s website and other city servers for weeks.

Afterward, council members approved a $3.9 million contract to upgrade the city’s cybersecurity software and later voted to dedicate another $8.6 million to vendors in connection with the hack.

Broadnax highlighted Zielinski’s other achievements, including his work to launch the Technology Accountability Report, pilot a program addressing equity and access to digital tools among Dallas residents and develop the city’s Real Time Crime Center.

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