BISMARCK - Mike Ressler, interim chief information officer of North Dakota's Information Technology Department since June 3, was appointed to the job permanently Thursday by Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

Ressler replaces Lisa Feldner, who accepted a similar position earlier this year with the North Dakota University System.

Ressler began working for the department in September 1984 and has been its deputy chief since 1997. Prior to joining the department, he worked for a regional accounting firm in Bismarck.

Dalrymple said Ressler's decades of experience "will be a great asset."

"I've worked closely with him over the past several years and seen firsthand his level of technical expertise and his leadership capabilities, and I feel very confident that Mike will do an outstanding job," Dalrymple said during a news conference at the Capitol.

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As chief information officer, Ressler will oversee 340 employees and a $174 million budget for the 2013-2015 biennium. The department manages a statewide network connecting all state agencies, universities, schools, libraries and county courthouses, and also provides software development services for most of those agencies.

Ressler said North Dakota's strong economy has meant funding for most state agencies to undergo major upgrades of old technology. Agencies also are moving toward making their services more available through mobile technology, he said.

"I think ITD needs to somewhat get out in front of that," he said.

The department, which is spread out in five buildings in Bismarck, plans to centralize in a single state-leased building that's expected to be completed in June 2014, Ressler said.

Ressler will receive an annual salary of $154,200.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528