State lines

Crackdown. The Virginia Transportation Department last month disciplined 86 employees and contract workers for abuse and excessive use of the Internet.

VDOT last month fired 17 employees for accessing sexually explicit sites, according to the department. An internal audit identified 15 of the employees, and two others turned themselves in. The department also fired eight contract workers for Internet abuse but said they did not access pornographic sites.

In addition, VDOT suspended 61 workers for two weeks without pay for excessive Internet use. Fifty-nine of the suspended workers were identified by the internal auditors, and two others turned themselves in, VDOT said.

'The majority of the Internet abuse occurred in the Central Office' in Richmond, VDOT officials said. 'Internet abuse was statewide; all districts were affected except Culpeper.'

Post it, and they will come. Iowa lawmakers decreed in April that state agencies must advertise all requests for bids and proposals on a page that went up last month on the state's Web site, at The site uses a search engine developed by an employee of the Iowa IT Department, said Tom Shepherd, IT Department spokesman. Vendors can find specific RFPs by typing in keywords.

Although the IT Department developed and operates the site, 'we made sure the point of contact for each proposal was in the agencies,' Shepherd said. 'We didn't want to wrest any of the control or responsibility away from state agencies.'

Retirement integration. Michigan's Office of Retirement Services has accepted delivery of the first stage of a $25.2 million public retirement system for its Office of Retirement Services, the agency said. Under the Vision ORS project, the agency will integrate four public pension plans into one system.

Covansys Corp. of Farmington Hills, Mich., is carrying out the three-stage upgrade using its Clarety software. ORS and Covansys expect to complete the project next year, they said.

The system provides online pension account management and benefit payment functions and will be integrated with customer service management software and digital document imaging, as well as workflow and office automation systems. The goal of the project is to increase the speed and accuracy of benefits payments, officials said.

The ORS reported more than $45 billion in assets as of September 2001 and provides services to nearly 534,000 current and former state employees, Covansys said.

Opportunity. The federal Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs offers grants to state and local governments for a variety of programs, including several for technology to prevent and control crime. For more information, visit


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