Peek at Democratic e-gov

Hints of presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) management agenda might be found in a new paper critiquing the Bush administration's e-government record.

"The administration has failed to develop an overall e-government plan detailing where they want to go and how they want to get there," reads a brief by Robert Atkinson, vice president with the Progressive Policy Institute, which functions as the think tank for the Democratic Leadership Council, often seen as a forum for moderates within the Democratic Party.

Atkinson, a member of Kerry's government reform advisory committee, argues that e-government will require seven steps:

Designate a true chief information officer for the entire federal government. The position of Office of Management and Budget administrator for e-government and information technology is a midlevel position, the report states.

Increase e-government congressional appropriations. Atkinson calls for Congress to approve spending of $100 million per year on e-government from an interagency fund.

Improve FirstGov.gov. The Web site "still largely consists of Web links," Atkinson's paper states. "Web links do not constitute integration."

Integrate federal and state Web sites. "Citizens do not much care what level of government they are dealing with; they just want answers," Atkinson wrote. This recommendation echoes previous statements from Paul Weinstein, chief operating officer at the Progressive Policy Institute and co-chairman of Kerry's government reform advisory committee.

Develop new e-government applications. "The next administration should make a serious effort to identify and develop" new applications, such as an eBay-like online auction site for government surplus items, an online literacy training tool and a site "allowing citizens to report white-collar economic crimes online," Atkinson wrote.

Webcast all federal public meetings and improve the Library of Congress' Thomas online bill tracking system.

Ask citizens what they want.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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