process engineering. Thomas feels that educating the state's top managers is critical. "They need to see technology as neither geeky nor boring. We need to spark their interests," said Thomas. The task force is guided by the principle that technology in itself isn't the answer, but is a tool to promote positive change and that program needs will drive technology deployment, not the reverse.

CONCRETE RESULTS

Task forces and committees -- with myriad players, grand plans and good intentions -- may often fail to yield concrete results. But New York's task force is producing. For example, an intergovernmental project in Schoharie County -- a small rural county in upstate New York -- involves two state agencies working together with a local government entity to share data and telecommunications, providing efficiencies and causing less headaches for the county.

The task force also pulled together the state's departments of Labor, Taxation and Finance, and Social Services to combat welfare fraud and gear up for welfare reform. According to George Mitchell, deputy commissioner at the Department of Taxation and Finance, "concrete results are happening because the task force has pulled together the right people, marshaling their talent and hammering out solutions. They've got the doers working together and keeping things moving."

Reflecting on her first year as task force director, Thomas is pleased with the approach and the results. However, she recognizes that there is still much to do, and said the task force will be concentrating on big issues that cross agency lines such as electronic procurement, online transactions, disaster preparedness and interstate cooperation. If the first year is any indication, New York is heading in the right direction.

Maureen Toncello is Eastern Regional Director for Government Technology Conference. E-mail: .

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SOLUTION SUMMARY

PROBLEM/SITUATION: New York state agencies were operating without an Information Technology Office to coordinate efforts among them.

SOLUTION: Appoint a task force to tackle the state's decentralized technology community.

JURISDICTION: New York.

VENDOR: Corel Corp.

CONTACT: Internet:

[ April Table of Contents]