NEARLY 40 FEDERAL, state and local CIOs recently convened in Baltimore at NASIRE's annual meeting to establish common ground for intergovernmental cooperation and electronic government. Participating were 12 federal agencies, 20 states and representatives of three local governments and the National Association of Counties. Don Pearson, publisher of Government Technology magazine, moderated the roundtable and challenged participants to look at the goal of electronic government, the obstacles to meeting those goals and strategies that lead to action and accomplishment. A transcript of the procceding follows. Statements were edited for length.

THE PRIZE

Don Pearson: What do we need to aim for with electronic government initiatives? What are we trying to accomplish and how much can we get done in a two-hour roundtable?

Jim Flyzik: We're moving toward a customer-centric government. We are competing as a country with the rest of the world's governments. This will move into physical changes in government, [and] structure of government will change over time to be more productive. We need to work together on a functional basis rather than on an agency-by-agency basis. The key thing we need to talk about today is how do we make the transition seamless with all levels of government? We don't want our citizens walking around with dozens of smart cards in their pockets for federal programs, state programs and local programs. We need partnerships, collaboration, sharing of best practices, knowledge management across all levels of government.

Aldona Valicenti: We as CIOs can enable the government through IT. That's our business plan. We have done it by sharing best practices. We are in a different continuum from state to state. Some of us, like Steve [Kolodney] in Washington, are there already, and are maintaining their pace, having won the Digital State Award for the third year. There are other states that have followed very quickly, and others are learning. That is our common ground.

Steve Jennings: What are the service metrics to the citizen? That's our goal -- not internally how well we run our departments. What we're looking for is how much garbage did we collect, how well did you answer the questions, where are we going with potholes? And what functionality can we provide? We need to change how we evaluate what we do. Then we will have public officials driving that because that's how they will be evaluated.

THE MANDATE

Pearson: Is there a mandate to do this? Who or what are the drivers?

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"We are competing with the rest of the world. The rest of the world is moving quickly, and we are competing as a country with the rest of the world's governments." -- Jim Flyzik, CIO, Department of Treasury

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Steve Kolodney: For the first time in my memory, the pressure is coming from outside instead of inside, and that translates into political pressure, and political pressure translates into action and certainly at the state level, that's happened. There used to be a line that said: "If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we ...," and you would just fill in anything you wanted. I think we are getting to the point where the citizens are saying: "If I can buy a book from Amazon why can't I ...?"

Wendy Rayner: I believe we do have a mandate from the citizens. We all know what it is: to put a digital government before our citizens. I just had a survey done and 80 percent of the citizens of New Jersey want it and they want it right away. So that is my mandate right now, to put citizens before government, and that is what this forum is about -- how we do that.

Randy Murphy: I come to you as a representative of the National Association of Counties that represents 2,100

Wayne Hanson  |  Editor