Time to cooperate

Thomas R. Temin

Just as the war against terrorism has thrown together some unlikely countries as allies, so has it thrown together state and federal governments, two groups often at odds.

Especially on the homeland security front, cooperation among the vertical levels of government is more important than ever. Cooperation will require more than lip service from groups that have traditionally mistrusted one another, such as the FBI and state police departments.

As our special report in this issue notes, the feds offer plenty of grants to help state and municipal governments beef up their systems. But the relationships among levels of government must be more than merely that of grantor and grantee.

At the technical level, efforts such as sharing databases or harmonizing communications protocols mean people have to work together, opening their systems kimonos. For that to happen, there must be trust and a desire to cooperate at the managerial level. Whenever anyone gets into a turf protection mode, just remind them of a couple of other pieces of turf'the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

On a personal note, this is the last issue of Government Computer News/State & Local. In the current economic environment, there simply hasn't been sufficient advertising revenue to support continued monthly publication without incurring unacceptable financial losses.

Our owners, Post Newsweek Tech Media Group, remain committed to the state and local government market, however. Thus, our flagship publication, Government Computer News, will in January begin including at least a page dedicated to state and local government in each of its 30 annual issues. Our dedicated writers'Wilson P. Dizard III, Jason Miller and Trudy Walsh'will still be with the organization covering federal, state and local topics.

Many current readers of this paper will be eligible to receive GCN. Plus the editors will be providing ongoing state and local coverage online for those who no longer receive a print publication.

For that coverage, and to apply for a free subscription to GCN, visit our Web site at www.gcn.com.

Thomas R. Temin

Editorial director

E-mail: editor@postnewsweektech.com

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