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San Diego County Ramps Up for Mega Outsourcing Deal

San Diego County, Calif., has taken the first steps toward privatizing all its information technology functions in a whopping outsourcing deal expected to generate more than $100 million per year in IT services. The effort, which was modeled after Connecticut's mega outsourcing system, would pare down and hand over all IT responsibility to the private sector. Interested vendors must submit statements of qualifications this month, and a request for proposals should hit the streets Feb. 3, 1999. The project is getting a flurry of industry attention-a big change from its initial reception. "In a way, we've really had to wake up the marketplace, and that has taken a lot of work," said Tim Walsh, program manager in the county's Competition and Re-Engineering Office.

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Football Rules Connecticut Outsourcing Scrimmage

Connecticut is inching toward the goal line of its billion-dollar outsourcing plan. Officials there expect to announce sometime this month a winning vendor in the state IT privatization, said state chief information officer Rock Regan. The award was slated for November, directly following the re-election of Republican Gov. John Rowland. However, state sources suggested it was temporarily stalled because lately Rowland's attention has been on football. In the excitement of possibly luring the New England Patriots to Hartford, Rowland and other state politicians last month were busy brokering the final details of a plan to build a state-financed stadium-the 2001 home of the New England Patriots.

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GAO Worries Over Y2K at State Welfare Programs

Only one-third of 421 automated systems that states use to manage federal welfare programs were Year 2000-compliant as of this summer, according to data gathered by the General Accounting Office. "States reported that failure to complete Year 2000 renovations could result in billions of dollars in benefit payments not being delivered," said Christie Motley, assistant director of GAO. The full GAO report is available at www.gao.gov.

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Virginia Internet Policy Act

Virginia is proclaiming itself the first state to churn out a comprehensive state policy that balances business concerns and Internet growth. This month, Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore will unveil the Virginia Internet Policy Act, which contains plans in eight areas: electronic commerce, World Wide Web-enabled government, unsolicited e-mail, privacy and the digital age, Internet content, encryption, Internet taxation, and Internet crime and law enforcement. "We want to establish a top-level model Internet policy that works for the commonwealth and will be a model for other states," said Fred Williamson, assistant secretary of technology and executive director of Gilmore's Commission on Information Technology.

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CIO Shuffle

Louis Gutierrez, Massachusetts' top technology official, last month resigned as director of the Information Division to take a job as deputy chief information officer for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. At press time, sources said the leading candidate is state comptroller William Kilmartin. California also is seeking a new CIO to replace John Thomas Flynn. On top of the short list is L.A. County CIO John Fullinwider. **

In D.C., CTO Door Revolves Again

Along with new mayor Anthony Williams, Washington, D.C., has a new chief technology officer: Suzanne Peck, a former vice president of Malvern, Pa.-based Systems and Computer Technology Corp. Peck was confirmed as CTO last month after being appointed interim CTO in June by former D.C. mayor Marion Barry. Peck replaced Michael Hernon, who was dismissed earlier this year by D.C. chief management officer Camille Cates Barnett. Hernon, the former CTO of Boston, has filed a letter of protest with the D.C. Control Board, stating he was wrongfully terminated. The district's Office of the Inspector General confirmed that Hernon's allegations are under investigation. Hernon could not be reached for comment.

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State E-Commerce Survey Deadline

State purchasing leaders, comptrollers and CIOs gather this month in Phoenix for the Conference on Electronic Commerce in the States, where they will take on digital procurement issues. The talks will include an overview of the new multistate E-Mall (see story, Page 12) and hands-on tutorials on Internet purchasing and privacy issues. Procurement policy issues at this point are the main impediments to state and local e-commerce initiatives, said David Gragan, president of the National Association of State Purchasing Officials. "Technology is not the greatest concern or issue for state government. In fact, the technology may be the easiest part of e-commerce for us." NASPO is hosting the conference along with the National Association of State Information Resource Executives and the National Association of State Comptrollers. It runs Dec. 10-11 at the Pointe Hilton at Squaw Peak.

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Unemployment Programs Leading Y2K Indicator

State-level employment insurance programs may be a bellwether for governments trying to project Year 2000 failures. Because unemployment insurance systems need to gauge unemployment benefits information a year in advance, the systems must be able to process Year 2000 date-related information by January 1999. The U.S. Labor Department so far has identified several locations of employment security agencies already in danger of missing the Year 2000 deadline: the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Louisiana and New Mexico are "at risk. We are not projecting that states will fail. We're saying they have a tight implementation time for their plan,'' said Grace Kilbane, Labor's director of unemployment insurance services.

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