N.Y. center tests e-gov gateway

The Center for Technology in Government at the State University of New York at Albany is helping different levels of government connect, a type of e-government it says has been overlooked as agencies focus on services to citizens.

The center worked with three New York state agencies, 12 counties and three companies to develop and test an information exchange gateway.

The State-Local Internet Gateway will make it easier to collect and find data, and conduct business transactions, while breaking down some barriers that exist across levels of government, said Meghan Cook, the gateway’s project manager.

“There are a lot of governments looking at the government-to-government area and expanding the focus beyond the citizen services,” Cook said.

Beyond the test

Even though the gateway is expected to stay only in a test environment, the goal of the project is to evaluate the management, policy and technical issues surrounding such an initiative, she said.

The center will issue a report detailing the findings of the project for states to use as a best-practices guide, Cook added.

“This is a great opportunity to see what can come from this portal,” said Wendy Scheening, manager of information systems for New York’s Agriculture and Markets Department.
She said the project emphasizes the similarities among levels of government that tend to get lost in a workday’s routine.

For a month

The gateway, funded partially through the university’s research division and from outside grants, including a $20,000 donation from AT&T Corp., will begin a one-month test next month, Cook said.

The Agriculture and Markets Department will use the interface to collect contact information about workers who approve dog license applications for participating counties.

The gateway will let the department collect this information fully through the Web, a process that currently involves paper forms as well, Cook said.

The State Comptroller’s Office will collect the contact data for each local government’s clerk office.

“Each state agency sends a letter to the local government asking to update all information by paper,” Cook said. “Through the gateway, the information will be collected once and available for use by anyone.”

The Office of Real Property Services is the final state agency taking part in the gateway test. It will accumulate land parcel transfer applications and integrate three separate databases into one central one without duplicating the information, Cook said.

All three applications use the GBiz platform from CGI Group Inc. of Montreal. Keane Inc. of Boston has donated time and resources to develop the gateway, and Microsoft Corp. has provided additional software, Cook said.

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