Letters to the editor

Portal Development Can Help

An article in your online March Government E-Business issue, "E-gov misses local connection," makes the very point that portal development — the heart of e-government — was intended to solve. It is true that many local governments cannot afford to create a robust set of services themselves. However, look at the basic services that many provide. You will find that they represent regional, state and federal programs that are common to a wider universe. The portal concept should be able to take those kinds of services and have them developed at once for use by a wider group. Years ago, we developed Alex, the employment computing kiosk, using that very principle. The New York Department of Labor did an excellent job of creating the applications, and the rest of the states linked to it, supported it with small pockets of funding and made it successful. Why not do that with myriad other programs?

A number of regional or.gani.zations out there take the government's money to provide services, so why not include this type of development among those services? Develop regional portals for common services and let the data be routed to the states, counties and local administrations where it is used.

Perhaps then everyone could afford to enhance their offerings instead of wringing their hands that the task is impossible in times of reduced revenue.

John Tieso

Tieso & Associates Inc.

Stand Behind NMCI Statements

Lt. Col. Mark Dalla Betta certainly doesn't need my help making a point, but it would appear that the writer of the March 15 letter in response to the colonel's March 4 letter has missed the bus.

Whether the Navy Marine Corps Intranet is a good idea and a great deal for the Marine Corps or the Navy is not the point. The point is this: If you've got something to say, stand up, identify yourself and say it.

If NMCI is or will be as bad for the naval serv.ice as all of these anonymous letter-writers seem to believe, then they should demonstrate a little fortitude and step forward with identified problems, data to support their claims and perhaps a few proposed solutions.

If I read these writers correctly, a great evil is being inflicted on our beloved Marine Corps and Navy — and the best they can muster is a little anonymous whining and moaning from some dark corner of the room. How about a little moral courage?

I don't know if the writers were military or civilian because they didn't identify themselves. Regardless, be a leader, have the courage of your convictions, and step up with your concerns and make them known.

If their dire predictions are true and NMCI turns out to be an unmitigated disaster, it will be no credit to the masked whiners of cyberspace. Being right means nothing if you won't risk being wrong.

Capt. Ed Taylor
Marine Corps Combat Development Command

Travel Card Complaints

This letter was written to Bureaucratus columnist Milt Zall.

Dear Mr. Zall,

I am a federal employee and would like to know to whom I can complain about my treatment as a customer using the Bank of America Government Travel Card.

I need to communicate with those at the highest level who contract these services out. I traveled on temporary duty during February. A statement was received at my address during the month of February, but I was on temporary duty and naturally did not receive the statement.

I am being told by Bank of America Corp. that it does not matter that I was on temporary duty during February — they expect me to pay a bill that I was not home to receive. I asked them to check their records, informed them that I was an honest customer and reminded them that they have never had any problem with my account in the past. Their answer? They put me on a 30-day delinquent list.

I called the Defense Finance and Accounting Service's Indianapolis office to check on my travel voucher and was told that they could not electronically pay my credit card bill. Apparently, they do not share information with the DFAS office that normally handles my travel vouchers.

Bank of America should waive fees from automated teller machine usage on federal installations. They should not charge 2 percent on cash advances for travel. In the good old days, when I got travel advances at the installation finance office, I was not charged a fee. Oh, the price of progress.

I am told at this installation that there is nothing they or I can do to voice my displeasure as a customer. Yet, the government requires me to use this card when I travel. I feel that I could get better service elsewhere. Any advice?

Tammra Nelson
Senior telecommunications specialist
Fort Gordon, Ga.

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