• In absentia. Pennsylvania's Child Care Information Services maintained a faulty database of child care providers and as a result issued paychecks to persons who were in prison during the time they were thought to be watching children, according to the state's auditor. The Department of Public Welfare agreed with the auditor's finding that its database contained missing and invalid information, according to the report issued by auditor general Robert P. Casey.

    The department plans to improve its child care management information system, the report said. The auditor's review of child care agencies' payments between September 2000 and July 2001 revealed payments totaling $103,000 to 25 unregulated child care providers with criminal records. Of the 25, 11 had been convicted of serious crimes, the auditor said, including statutory rape, manslaughter, corruption of minors and felony drug violations.

    In addition, the auditor said, the state agencies issued checks totaling $9,667 to six persons who were in state prisons when they were thought to be providing child care services.

    'We found records indicating that two of the six providers were also arrested on days they were caring for children,' the report said.

    Among the auditor's many recommendations were that the agencies improve their computerized criminal background check methods and match databases.

  • Get online. The Montana Transportation Department is now gathering contract payment information from disadvantaged business enterprises through a program on the state's Web portal.

    Disadvantaged companies, known as DBEs, must report payments made to them by prime contractors for work on federally sponsored highway and road projects, officials in the department's Civil Rights Bureau said. DBE Tracker lets the businesses do so online at

    To use the online program, a company must set up an account, creating a user name and password. DBEs can view previous payment histories and enter new payment data. Montana will use the information to track contract payments and ensure that programs and services offered by the Transportation Department are not discriminatory, bureau officials said.

    Montana's contract portal operator, National Information Consortium Inc. of Overland Park, Kan., maintains the DBE Tracker service for the state.

  • Opportunity. The Technology Opportunities Program of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration gives matching grants to state and local jurisdictions to upgrade their IT and telecommunications services. Visit
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