Upson: Feds lack e-gov vision

The federal government still does not have a good vision of what electronic

government should be, Virginia's secretary of technology told a conference

Tuesday in Austin, Texas.

Therefore, Don Upson said, e-government needs to bubble up from state

and local governments and not come down from the federal government.

"People don't access the federal government [Web sites]. But if [federal

sites are] an option on a state site, people will do that," Upson told a

session of Information Processing Interagency Conference.

He said Congress and the White House were "still tinkering around the

edges" with information technology, even though the federal government "woke

up" five years ago and began working on e-government issues.

"Then, we ended up with everyone selling everything to everyone," Upson

said.

What's missing in the equation is leadership, Upson said, adding that

the people who are making policies don't understand the language of technology.

"E-government is not about cutting costs. It's about better services,"

Upson added.

Nevertheless, "Real service to the citizen occurs at the local level,"

he said.

On Wednesday, Virginia will launch a campaign called "My Virginia,"

which will offer residents access to a Web site with information that impacts

their lives, such as education policies and property tax rates.

Upson also praised the Bush administration's "go-slow" policy of not

swiftly appointing a federal chief information officer or "technology czar."

"A czar without a statute is a cheerleader unless they put some meat

behind it," he said.

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