FirstGov looks to e-gov fund

FirstGov

After receiving only $3 million in the White House's fiscal 2002 budget proposal, leaders of the FirstGov Web portal are already making plans to draw on President Bush's new cross-agency e-government fund.

The White House often uses FirstGov as an example of the kind of project the proposed $100 million e-government fund is intended to support. The fund will be held by the General Services Administration, the agency that runs FirstGov, but it will be administered by the Office of Management and Budget.

The $3 million budgeted for FirstGov will pay for 16 full-time employees and work to plan enhancements to the portal, said John Sindelar, deputy associate administrator of GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy. But to deploy the enhancements, the FirstGov team is going to apply for part of the $20 million that will be available in the e-government fund in 2002, Sindelar said.

"In the scheme of things, $3 million is a rounding error," he said.

OMB is still drawing up guidelines for what types of programs will be approved for e-gov funding, but officials have said that the process will work much the way applications for Year 2000 funding did: Agencies will have to provide justification to OMB, and Congress will approve disbursements.

FirstGov's plans include expanding integration with state and local government sites, providing authentication and other security and privacy measures, adding the ability to personalize the portal for users, and developing a more robust automated feedback capability for the agencies, Sindelar said.

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