through the Web are payments for traffic fines, business licenses and taxes; utility bills; and applications for construction permits.

Residents can also request police reports or report problems, such as potholes, drug use and prostitution. Businesses can secure various permits and inspection services. Anyone can access dynamic GIS maps of the city, and maps with crime statistics overlaid on specific locations. They can also tune in to live City Council meeting broadcasts.

It's hard to think of interactions with city officials and agencies that citizens can't do through the portal. The Web site not only complies with W3C accessibility guidelines, it also meets the more stringent federal Section 508.

"I take a lot of pride in the delivery of services that we provide through the Internet," said Steve Cantler, Information Technologies Services project leader. "We genuinely take to heart the terms 'citizen-centric' and 'life event focus.'"

Part of the challenge, said Cantler, was realizing when citizens want to communicate, complain or access services, it is often simply "the city" as far as most residents are concerned.

"The way we are organized almost works against the citizen-centric view," added Cantler. "All the various departments and agencies have their own diversity of interests, and naturally want to compete for their slice the pie. It was difficult and challenging to convince everyone equally that we are all in this together."

At the end of the day, said Cantler, it has to be about delivering the best public service possible with existing resources. "We always have to keep things in the right perspective and remember we are serving the public's interests, not our own and not stovepipe interests. To accomplish what we've done and make genuine progress, all departments and agencies in the city needed to share in a common goal, vision and direction."

-- Blake Harris, contributing editor

Jack Corrie

CIO

California Public Employees' Retirement System

Editor's Note: Jack Corrie was named chief deputy director for strategic service delivery at the Department of Motor Vehicles on March 1, 2004.

As CIO for the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), Jack Corrie saved millions of dollars for one of the world's largest public pension funds. He transformed his organization into one of the most progressive governmental IT organizations in California.

CalPERS manages pension and health benefits for approximately 1.3 million California public employees, retirees and their families. To advance the financial and health security of system participants, CalPERS runs three complex lines of business, which rely heavily on technology.

CalPERS runs a full investment operation with all the technology needed to support trading. It is also one of the largest health providers in the country, and technology is vital to ensuring that health-care administration is cost-effective.

Finally, there is the retirement program itself, for which Corrie implemented a Web services strategy, including Web-enabled environments for connections between 2,600 employees, business-to-business and member self-service.

"Things that used to take months to do now are done instantaneously or within a day or two," Corrie noted.

Government's biggest challenge, Corrie said, continues to be reinventing service delivery.

"This involves truly undertaking re-engineering efforts by understanding the organization's lines of business and simplifying those lines to break the bureaucracy, fix its budget processes and continue to consolidate its footprint through the use of technology," he said. "The end goal is always to deliver better, faster and cheaper service to citizens."

This necessitates staying abreast of technology trends. "As a CIO, you have to ensure the organization you work for stays current enough on their technology to deliver on the vision of the organization," he added. "So mapping those two together is a huge challenge."