States stake claim to digital government turf

States stake claim to digital government turf

Clear some space on your reference bookshelf: The National Association of State CIOs last month released a 400-plus-page compendium of digital government in the states.

Based on answers from the CIOs of 47 states and the District of Columbia (Alaska, Florida and Oregon did not participate), the condition of digital government in the states is fairly bright, said Chris Dixon, NASCIO's digital government coordinator. The book examines IT budgets, CIO responsibilities and digital government offices.

The survey turned up some surprising findings. In 2001, state CIO turnover was high, with 16 new CIOs appointed.

The turnover rate was unusual for a number of reasons, Dixon said: Demand in the private sector, which historically has plundered the ranks of state CIOs, quieted down quite a bit during 2001's recession. Also, gubernatorial turnover was low in 2000. CIOs, appointed by governors, are as secure as the political preferences of the electorate.

Despite the economic downturn and state budget cuts, overall state IT spending appears to be holding steady, Dixon said. 'We'll be watching to see if some e-government spending moves into homeland security technology in the 2003 budgets,' he said. 'We think CIOs will be able to communicate the continuing value of IT projects to legislators.'

Pay for performance

The survey showed that 18 states are using performance-based compensation programs to retain IT employees and reward their accomplishments.

Most states are also investing more in protecting their infrastructure and developing disaster recovery plans to defend against cyberattacks and other threats.

Visitors to the NASCIO Web site, at, can view the compendium's table of contents for free. Chapter topics include executive IT authority; enterprise management; access, use and visibility; privacy and security; and profiles of the states, ranging from about six to 10 pages each.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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