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New Mass. tech chief Bill Oates has long list of problem contracts

Under Bill Oates’s direction, Boston won awards for its digital initiatives.
Under Bill Oates’s direction, Boston won awards for its digital initiatives.Wendy Maeda/ globe staff

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Just weeks into his new job as head of technology for the Commonwealth, Bill Oates was called to a State House hearing examining the problems bedeviling a number of high-profile systems projects over the past year.

Oates seemed to barely break a sweat.

The former chief information officer for the city of Boston knew what he was getting into when he took the new job. After seven years in the Menino administration, Oates assumed his new statewide role at a time of heightened scrutiny on projects worth tens of millions of dollars.

Three major information technology contracts at big agencies have run into serious trouble. The problems have cast a cloud over Governor Deval Patrick’s record of modernizing the state’s outdated systems.

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