N.J. connects state, local agencies
- By Brian Robinson
- Oct 10, 2001
New Jersey has launched GovConnect, a Web-based system seven years in the
making that is expected to greatly improve communications between the state
and its local governments.
Accessed through the state's "my New Jersey" portal (my.state.nj.us), GovConnect acts as a secure intranet through which state
and local officials can share ideas about government services, download
government publications and, eventually, conduct transactions between agencies.
"The system will provide a single ID and log-on for government officials,"
said Odysseus Marcopolus, director of the office of e-government in New
Jersey's Office of Information Technology. "In that sense, GovConnect will
provide the first layer [of services] leading to integration of data behind
Legacy systems have proven difficult to integrate, he said, but GovConnect
for the first time enables people who "own" the data on the back end to
treat agency employees as a single customer.
GovConnect will be available at first to clerks of the Division of Local
Government Services (DLGS), the chief financial officers of New Jersey's
566 municipalities, the CFOs of the state's 21 counties, and the clerks
to each county's Board of Chosen Freeholders.
The system has been planned for seven years, said Mark Pfeiffer, deputy
director of the DLGS.
"It's actually been beneficial that it's taken us that long to get through
the bureaucratic and budget issues, because the technology has had time
to catch up with what we had planned GovConnect to be all along," he said.
"If it had gone online earlier, it would just have been made up of static
The clerks and finance officers can continue to send forms and documents
to each other through the regular mail until January, Pfeiffer said, then
they must use online means only. As soon as other agencies can provide assurance
they can use GovConnect effectively, they also will be required to do so
"It will probably be a couple of years before a majority of this government
activity goes online through GovConnect," he said.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.