Government projects among award finalists

Twenty-five finalists were announced yesterday for the Innovations in American Government awards, including six state and local government projects that incorporate information technology.

The finalists each receive a $20,000 grant. Of those, 10 winners of $100,000 prizes will be announced Oct. 14 in Washington, D.C.

The awards are funded by the Ford Foundation and administered by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Council for Excellence in Government, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the performance of government.

The state and local finalists incorporating IT are:

The state of Maryland's Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation project (www.op.state.md.us/smartgrowth) Maryland's Smart Growth and Neighborhood Conservation initiative is the first statewide, incentive-based effort to discourage sprawl. It uses the state's $17 billion budget as an incentive to promote less costly, more environmentally sensitive and better planned growth.

SWIMpen Field Computing System, San Diego Data Processing Corp. (www.sddpc.org/products/pswater.html#b)

The Sewer/Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Field Computing System is a paperless program on pen-based computers used by crews responsible for water and sewer infrastructure maintenance and repair in the city of San Diego.

Program Development and Devaluation System, Philadelphia

The Program Development and Devaluation System is an outcome-based information system that tracks every Philadelphia delinquent in the juvenile justice system, wherever the program is located.

Electronic Bond Bidding Initiative, Pittsburgh (www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us)

Pittsburgh is the first city to conduct competitive sales of municipal bonds over the Internet to promote more competition and lower borrowing costs. Pittsburgh's initiative led to nearly $4 billion worth of similar sales by other municipal issuers in the following 12 months.

Environmental Performance Measurement System, Florida (www.dep.state.fl.us)

The Environmental Performance Measurement System provides environmental information that makes possible a performance-based framework for problem identification and solutions in an environmental regulatory agency.

Domestic Violence Internet Program, Largo, Fla. (www.largo.com)

The Largo Police Department's Domestic Violence Internet Program makes evidence available on the Internet so that the courts, state attorneys and domestic violence centers have instant access to information relating to any domestic violence case.

A complete list of the finalists and more information is available at www.innovations.harvard.edu.

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