FinanceNet closing down

The government's financial management Web portal will cease operations Dec. 1 as part of a reorganization

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FinanceNet, the government's financial management Web portal, will cease operations Dec. 1 as part of a reorganization of how the government disseminates financial management information online.

Although FinanceNet officials have been instructed not to speak about the matter — FinanceNet's executive director Preston Rich refused to comment — the FinanceNet Web site itself announced the decision.

"Effective Dec. 1, 2001, FinanceNet's financial management Web portal will cease," the site says. "On and after that date, current users needing access to financial management information previously available and organized via the FinanceNet portal will need to visit" the FirstGov Web portal.

The Chief Financial Officers Council (CFOC) made the decision, which resulted from "examining various options for providing access to financial management" information, council officials said in a two-page response to FCW queries.

"The Chief Financial Officers Council conducted a review of the council's structure, activities and recurring costs," the council said. "As part of this review, the council sought to streamline, capture economies of scale, and leverage new capabilities in council operations and in making financial information available on the Internet."

The Treasury Department's acting assistant secretary for management and Chief Financial Officer, Steven App, a member of the FinanceNet steering committee, said the decision was a "straightforward business decision."

Council officials noted that when FinanceNet was created in 1994 most federal agencies did not have fully electronic messaging or Web site capabilities. The National Science Foundation, which has hosted the site and its staff, was one of a few agencies that had Web hosting capabilities at the time.

Today, however, virtually every agency hosts a Web site. "The CFOC decision was made in part to leverage this expanded capability," the council said.

The CFOC allocated $664,000 for FinanceNet in fiscal 2001, the council said.

The FinanceNet Web site notes that the change will not affect current and future subscribers and users of FedSales and GovSales public portals and e-mail lists that provide and organize news and information on government surplus and asset sales. That information will be taken over by the General Services Administration.

The decision about various e-mail groups that have been maintained by FinanceNet is left to the sponsors of those lists.

The new CFOC Web page, currently under development, will look similar to the other interagency council Web sites, the CFOC said.

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