California funding creative e-gov

California is launching a technology innovation council to foster new approaches

to e-government.

The council begins meeting in June and will have a $5 million budget

to fund creative government technology projects.

Arun Baheti, director of eGovernment for the California Governor's Office,

says smaller projects — ranging from $300,000 to $400,000 — will be preferred.

"We're not concerned if some of these projects fail, because inevitably,

some of them will," Baheti said. "But what we want to focus on are the lessons

we can learn."

Baheti also said state agencies will be encouraged to file applications

for joint projects, one of the goals of e-government — interagency communication.

Eli Cortez, the state's chief information officer, says applications

from the private sector will also be encouraged. Debbie Leibrock, chief

of technology investment review for the California Governor's Office of

Finance, says paying for technology projects is always an issue. "There

are a lot of good ideas out there in IT, but as funds become more scarce

due to the softening economy, we're really trying to look for projects that

get the most bang for the buck," Leibrock said. "You don't need all the

bells and whistles. You need what gets the job done."

Ideas California is working on for its next generation of e-government

services include wireless delivery, video on demand and artificial intelligence

capabilities. Baheti is working on a system that will enable governments

across California to communicate on a single platform.

"What we're going to have here is a system where a constituent can log

on, localize, personalize, authorize and have access to all the content

of the localities as well as the state. That will be amazing," Baheti said.

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