Goal is to make exchanges easy

Patricia Watkins Lattimore was confirmed as the Assistant Secretary
for Administration and Management at the Labor Department in November of last year. She is
also Labor’s chief information officer.

Lattimore has worked in the public sector since she was 18. She has held several
positions at both Labor and the Office of Personnel Management in Washington, Philadelphia
and Atlanta.

In 1986, Lattimore was named to the Senior Executive Service as director of
Labor’s National Capital Service Center. She is a graduate of Southeastern University
in Washington.

Lattimore spoke with GCN about what she hopes to accomplish as Labor CIO.

LATTIMORE: We want to see the
Department of Labor be as technically proficient as it can be. We want to move toward a
common enterprise architecture, toward where we are working as one department and not
replicating either data collections or hardware issues. We want a system that reaches
every one of our employees. It is almost there.

We also want to exchange information with our customers as easily as possible.
Everybody in the department deals with the business sector. We go to businesses in the
Employment and Training Administration and in the Employment Standards Administration for
wage information and to collect data for the Consumer Price Index. And we don’t do
that consistently at any of them. Why should eight of us go and tap John Doe Grocery Store
owner on the shoulder eight different times?

Of course, we can’t combine our information gathering with our enforcement
efforts. But even with those constraints, we can still find ways to be less burdensome to
businesses and still get as much information as possible out to the American worker
through the effective use of technology.

We have been doing this in a variety of ways. In enforcement areas, such as mining
regulations, we use the Internet as a way to help the mining industry comply voluntarily.
We have interactive expert systems to help businesses research regulations. We aren’t
Big Brother; we don’t grade you on your answers. It is an informational process.

We also use that same technology with our enforcement people in the field. People have
different levels of learning and knowledge, and it helps when they have that knowledge
right there on a laptop. When they run into a problem, they can figure out what the
governing rules are and what their resources are for what they can do with the business,
whether they need to cite the business or use other options and what technical assistance
to provide.

It is almost like a pocket supervisor and it makes the inspector’s work flow
faster. They give better service to the people they are there to inspect, as well as the
workers. Inspectors no longer walk away, go to a library and research problems, and then
get back to you. They can do the research and maybe interact with their home office right
on the spot while doing the inspection.

We are starting to build a lot of our technology around the Internet and then we have
an in-house subsystem, our intranet. We fully expect to be Web-based, which is why we are
making this effort to deal with our inventory and move to a common architecture.

The Internet is the wave of the future. We deal so much with the outside world. All of
our work is with fiduciary institutions, businesses, and state and other governments. The
Internet or its successors will be the way we do business and move information.

Security is a big issue. There are a thousand ways to enter a departmental system, even
before the Internet. We are focused on protecting our information and facilities from
unauthorized access, while providing full support and services to our employees and

Patricia W. Lattimore
Chief Information Officer, Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management

James E. McMullen
Deputy CIO, Deputy Assistant Secretary

Shirley Malia
Director, Information Technology Center and Management, Deputy CIO

Thomas Byrne
Director, Systems Development, IT Center

Bruce Eanet
Director, Internet Services and Information Management, IT Center

Tommie Nelson
Project Manager of Customer Support, IT Center

Thomas K. Delaney
Director, People Power 2000

Tali R. Stepp
Director, Human Resources Center

TOTAL  $51.39

Procurement System Initiative—Labor will soon
award a $500 million contract to replace its mainframe Automated Purchasing and Payment
System. The new, LAN-based system will use Labor’s communications network. Instead of
software developed and maintained by Labor, the department will use commercial products.

Online Advisors—Labor plans to post more of its
information online for easier public access. As part of the effort, the Bureau of Labor
Statistics recently migrated much of its mainframe data to a Web server. BLS is the
government’s principal gatherer of labor data. Instead of limiting access to BLS data
to internal users and a few external users with mainframe accounts, anyone with access to
the Internet can see data on wage, price and employment trends; surveys on productivity
and technology; and foreign labor statistics.

Nationwide Local Area Networks—The Bureau of Labor
Statistics is expanding its use of LANs. Management Systems Designers Inc. of Vienna, Va.,
as part of a $16.5 million contract, provides professional services, plus software and
equipment to maintain, enhance and expand the existing LANs.

Integrated Management Information System—This
Occupational Safety and Health Administration system provides data on reducing workplace
safety and health hazards at OSHA field offices. Labor will eventually let OSHA inspectors
access the database using notebook computers. OSHA inspectors will be able to answer
employer questions as they tour workplaces. It often takes days to answer questions from
employers, officials said.

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