E-mail OMB about e-gov

"Citizen-Centered E-Government: Developing the Action Plan"

The Office of Management and Budget is putting out a call for federal employees to e-mail ideas for high-impact interagency e-government initiatives so the administration can pick the top 10 to complete within the next two years.

The Bush administration held its first meeting of the e-government task force Aug. 9. The group is made up of e-government leaders designated by each agency and is headed by Mark Forman, OMB's associate director for information technology and e-government.

OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr. created the task force in July to find crossgovernment initiatives that could have the most impact on improving government service and to identify the barriers agencies might face in completing those initiatives.

Coordinating with the General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, the task force over the next two weeks will be interviewing key agency executives about their e-government activities and strategies.

But to move past the administrative level at the agencies, OMB and GSA have set up an e-mail address (egov.taskforce@gsa.gov) for anyone to send in ideas and suggestions for the task force to consider, said Jennifer Wood, an OMB spokeswoman.

"We want to make sure that we hit everyone or contact everyone who would have ideas," she said. Input is due by the end of August.

The information gathered in the interviews and from the e-mail messages will be passed on to the President's Management Council, which will select about 10 "presidential initiatives" in September "to be funded and completed within the next 18 to 24 months," Wood said.

The initiatives chosen by the task force and the PMC are the administration's way of getting agencies started on tackling the broad mandate of e-government, Forman said in an interview.

"It's a question of focus. Are we focusing on the right things, and how do we get our resources focused because we don't have enough resources to cover everything," he said.

In its fiscal 2002 budget proposal, the administration created a $100 million e-government fund for interagency initiatives and requested $20 million for the first year. But the House Appropriations Committee provided only $5 million for the fund in the version of the Treasury/Postal bill passed in July, and although the report is not yet available, sources close to the Senate Appropriations Committee said a similar cut occurred on that side.

But Daniels has said he expects OMB will receive the full $20 million after working with both committees, and the task force will be working under that assumption, Forman said.

"If we got the $20 million, then that money would go toward these initiatives," he said.

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