FirstGov testing local additions

FirstGov

Officials soon will start a pilot test to include local governments in the FirstGov portal.

The Bush administration's goal for FirstGov has always been to provide central access to all government services, with the belief that citizens do not have to know what agency or even what level of government provides the service or information they seek.

Citizens already can use FirstGov to search for federal and state government information. But while there are 24 major federal agencies and departments and 50 states, there are thousands of local governments, so their addition to the portal and its search engine must be done carefully, said M.J. Jameson, associate administrator of the Citizen Services and Communications Office at the General Services Administration, which oversees FirstGov.

Earlier this year, GSA sent a call out to all local governments, working through GSA's Intergovernmental Solutions Office, outlining the possibilities and benefits of becoming part of FirstGov. The pilot will include about 50 local governments that volunteered for the test, Jameson said.

"This is a very big undertaking...but we think it's important; we think it rounds out the citizen experience," she said.

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