do," Armani said.

 

No confidential information is collected: no Social Security number, no driver's license.

 

Registrants can also input their preferred work schedule -- those returning to government service can work up to nine months in the course of a year, with that time being broken up in any number of ways, to be decided between worker and supervisor.

 

For departments, the lean registration information makes it easy to quickly sort potential candidates. "Then when they find someone with certain skills, it will be up to them to go through the data collection and to refine their skills," Armani said.

 

Backing it all up is the workhorse of database technology: The Franchise Tax Board developed the SQL database that is the core of Boomerang's technology. The database runs on the Microsoft platform, written primarily in .NET.

 

While this may seem bare bones compared to applications running in the private sector, it still is a good first step, said Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus, an industry analyst firm that evaluates technology implementations from a return on investment perspective.

 

Based on past observations, she predicted that once Boomerang is fully operational, managers will begin looking for ways to enhance its functionality.

 

"We are going to see a lot more sophistication, a lot more development," she said. "I would be surprised if they continued with such a limited sort of site."

 

Meanwhile, with the system still in its earliest days, counties and cities already have been calling to ask whether they might borrow the Boomerang code. Armani says he isn't surprised, considering the financial logic that underlies the whole affair.

 

"The state doesn't have to pay benefits to these folks, because they already receive benefits," he said. "At the same time, these retirees can come in and supplement their own income, on their own schedule."

 

Contributing writer Adam Stone writes on business and technology from Annapolis, Md.

Adam Stone  |  Contributing Writer