'Fed CIO' urges state participation

Mark Forman, who essentially is the chief information officer of the federal government, urged his state counterparts on April 8 to participate in several federal initiatives to help foster citizen-centric government.

Forman, associate director of information technology and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget, outlined a number of government-to-government initiatives, such as electronic grants, the e-Vital project for accurate death reporting, disaster assistance and crisis response, the geospatial one-stop program, and GovBenefits, among others that will begin testing within the next six months.

"At the end of the day, this is about transforming government to give results to the citizen," Forman said at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers' midyear conference in Denver.

In his remarks, Forman extended his hand to state officials for their help and participation in many of these programs, which are among the 24 e-government initiatives the federal government has designated become customer-friendly.

"We have spent too long giving you burdens and not listening to you," he said.

For example, in the e-grants program, he said the federal government would pilot a simple, unified way for states to find federal grants via the Web beginning in July. He said the government would establish a unique identifier by September 2003 so federal grantees can see all the grants they have received from the government.

Another example is GovBenefits (www.govbenefits.gov/GovBenefits/servlet/govBenefits), which directs citizens to benefit programs across the federal government. The pilot began April 8 and an online screening tool for 100 benefits programs would be established by Sept. 30, Forman said.

Another initiative is a business compliance one-stop program that will offer information and tools to help citizens understand compliance with laws and regulations, he said. Illinois and Washington are involved in the licensing and permitting application, and Forman asked for more state participants.

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