El Paso rolling toward e-gov

City of El Paso

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If everything goes as planned, El Paso, Texas, will have around-the-clock

e-government running by the end of July, a pretty big advance given that

many city employees didn't even have Internet access a year ago.

When Jim Pulliam arrived at that time as El Paso's director of information

technology, information technology was still pretty new to the city. The

city Web site was not a good one, three different word processors were used

throughout the government, files could not be sent from one incompatible

system to another and a help desk wasn't even available to sort out problems,

he said.

On the plus side, there was a fiber network with a huge amount of available

bandwidth, but it wasn't being utilized and none of the city's departments

were using the Internet.

"However, from my point of view, this turned out to be a good thing

because I could build [the IT infrastructure] almost as new and not have

to mess around with things that were already in place," Pulliam said.

The city has relied primarily on Computer Associates International Inc.

technology to centralize network management throughout the government and

build e-mail service for internal use among employees and for government-to-citizen

connections. The company's CleverPath Portal will be used to provide Web-based

services for citizens as well as global access for employees to internal

government functions.

The IT construction process has moved into its third and final phase

to install such things as network security and a PeopleSoft Inc. financial

backend system. One of the final elements will be installation of the network

operating center that will oversee daily management of the whole enterprise.

With about 65 percent of city employees now using the Web, Pulliam said

the next thing is to move online government into the community, with access

points in places such as libraries, senior centers and recreation centers,

and at kiosks in hardware stores.

"The idea is to build these cybercenters so that no matter where people

go in the city, they will be able to do city business online," he said.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached

at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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