Drawing up an IT county plan

Miami-Dade county draws together public and private minds to come up with an e-government plan

With the help of government and industry professionals, Miami-Dade County, Fla., has prepared an e-government plan — a report general enough that it could be helpful to other localities.

Established by Randy Witt, the county's chief information officer, the working group included people from almost all of the county's 40-plus departments, as well as members of the private sector. The group tackled policy and planning, technology and e-government applications.

"One of the things we wanted to do was to present our services to the public together — not from 40 or so departments," said county Webmaster Judi Zito, a co-chairwoman of the work group.

The work group discussed privacy, sunshine laws, "Internet time" and the need to start applications quickly, pilot programs, "self-funding" models that use convenience fees and a variety of other topics.

"It covers issues that most other people are interested in — it's general enough that people can learn something from it," Zito said of the report.

The county is already working to implement key recommendations in the report.

In regards to policy, the report found that the county needed a countywide information technology policy body to work under the CIO. "If we're putting out information on the Web," Zito said, "we all have to be on the same page."

The work group also determined that the county should take a "research and development" approach to new technologies, sampling them through pilot programs.

And after accepting technology wish lists from government agencies, the work group whittled down about 170 possible e-government projects to 10. The county is now prioritizing those 10 projects — things such as parking ticket payments and vendor registration online — to decide which the county will tackle first.

The report is available at: http://www.co.miami-dade.fl.us/cio/egov/home.htm.

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