New Mexico e-gov marches on

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson apparently plans to move ahead with establishing a government e-portal to consolidate access to government services, even though the legislature earlier this year voted down a bill that would have authorized management and funding for the portal.

The legislature opposed plans put forward by Richardson to fund the portal through user fees for certain government-generated records. According to critics, this would essentially turn publicly-owned records into a commercial venture.

But according to an Associated Press report, Stephen Easley, New Mexico's deputy chief information officer, reportedly believes the governor can move forward with the e-portal without the legislature's backing. The administration plans to issue a request for proposals soon for private contractors to operate the portal.

Easley thinks the portal could be online by the end of 2004.

Calls to Easley's office were not returned by press time.

New Mexico government agencies are under pressure to cut costs. Richardson recently mandated a hiring freeze for some IT-related jobs and ordered a consolidation of other IT operations with the aim of eventually saving some $30 million a year.

The executive order also directed a reorganization in agency management to give the state's top IT officers a better idea of technology needs and how to more effectively spend money.

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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