E-gov initiatives look locally

Federal e-gov plans include efforts to improve relationships with state and local governments

E-Government Task Force

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E-government initiatives developed by a federal task force during the past

three months include a group aimed entirely at improving service, relationships

and performance with state and local governments. E-government is one of

the five key government reform items outlined in the President's Management

Agenda. The federal e-government task force is preparing its final report

on 23 cross-agency, high-impact initiatives, and the Bush administration

is beginning to release details about them. One of the four areas of improvement

targeted by the administration concerns programs jointly administered by

the states and federal agencies, including those related to the Internal

Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration.

To do this, the federal government will rely more on the Internet and

tools such as Extensible Markup Language to "lift the burden the federal

government has become on state and local governments," said Mark Forman,

the Office of Management and Budget's associate director for information

technology and e-government. He was speaking Oct. 23 at a breakfast hosted

by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Bethesda,

Md., chapter.

Forman and other officials have discussed using Web portals to enable

states to make their reports on federal requirements just once. Then the

information could be shared by other relevant agencies.

The e-government task force is also looking at the broad use of geospatial

information in state and local applications, and how the federal government

can help eliminate redundant efforts to collect and provide that information,

said Tony Trenkle, chairman of the Government to Government Team and associate

deputy commissioner for the SSA Office of Electronic Services. That would

save agencies at all levels millions of dollars, he said.

Federal officials must look beyond their own agencies and the federal

government in general to see what is going on in the 50 states and how the

different levels of government relate, Trenkle said. This is especially

important following the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when

all levels of government had to work together to respond and recover, he

said.

"The events of last month have really underscored the need for federal,

state and local to work together on areas of national interest," Trenkle

said.

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