State lines

Portal power. Georgia is using content management software to improve its Georgia.gov Web portal.

Using software from Vignette Corp. of Austin, Texas, the Georgia Technology Authority can let non-IT staff members update content on the site using common tools such as Microsoft Office.

This eliminates a bottleneck that often occurred while waiting for webmasters to post, and speeds delivery of new content to the site's visitors.

The new system 'is helping Georgia meet the needs of its constituents by providing the technology necessary to build an engaging portal in support of a more accessible and responsive government,' said Gina Tiedemann, director of the technology authority's GeorgiaNet division.

The software also provides templates that give the portals' different areas a consistent look, and it lets the state personalize the portal for visitors.

Online permits. Michigan's Bureau of Codes Construction has set up a Web portal where contractors can fill out electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits online.

Using the VelocityHall portal from Accela Inc. of Dublin, Calif., licensed contractors can fill out forms and pay their fees online via credit card, through www.michigan.gov/bccpermits.

Conducting the permitting online speeds the processing time from about two weeks to a matter of minutes, according to state officials.

This not only eliminates mailing time but also immediately finds errors such as incomplete fields, invalid addresses and other inaccuracies.

The bureau also offers the forms and several others, including construction and fire safety plan submissions, in Adobe Portable Document Format at the site.

Users can fill out the documents online but must print and sign them and mail them in to the bureau.

The site also lets visitors get information about pending permits, projects under construction and completed projects.

Moving on. Larry Singer, former CIO for the state of Georgia, last month was appointed vice president of Sun Microsystems Inc.'s global information systems strategy office.

Singer became CIO of Georgia and executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority in 2000.

He oversaw development of IT policy and strategic planning, and advised the executive and legislative branches on technology initiatives.

Under Singer's leadership, the state developed e-government initiatives for citizens such as the state's Web portal, electronic voting and online driver's license renewal.

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