Govt. IT managers call for united systems front

IRVINE,
Calif.—Cooperation among government organizations is essential because technology is
leading citizens to demand a single government face, information technology managers said.


IT managers at the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils’
annual Management of Change conference this month pushed for more intergovernmental
cooperation.


But federal chief information officers ranked intergovernmental relations low on the
list of concerns in a recent survey.


Cross-government initiatives, such as systems infrastructure security and welfare
reform, force the states and the federal government to interact and exchange information,
a government official said.


And citizens, who have instant access to government information via the Internet and
other technologies, are demanding fast, one-stop shopping. People want self-service
options and a single point of service, said Winifred Lyday, IRM director for the National
Association of Counties.


"We need to work together," Lyday said. Governments at all levels will need
to experiment, develop new relationships and be flexible, she said.


"The whole subject is too complicated," said Francis A. McDonough, deputy
associate administrator of the General Services Administration’s Office of
Intergovernmental Solutions and Governmentwide Policy. "We don’t know how to do
it."


People want a single
point of service, Winifred Lyday said.


There are hopeful signs, he said. Last year’s welfare reform law put the onus for
tracking welfare recipients on states, which in turn began requesting help from county
governments, McDonough said.


For some parts of government, such as law enforcement agencies, working together is not
new. The FBI, for instance, must work with state and local law enforcement authorities to
carry out its duties, said Mark Tanner, the FBI’s information resources manager.


"None of these activities can be undertaken independently," he said.


Cooperation will continue to grow, conference speakers said. The Critical
Infrastructure Assurance Office, recently formed to coordinate systems security for the
national infrastructures, will require cooperation from both the public and private
sector, Tanner said.

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