IAC, ACT honor six projects with Intergovernmental Solutions awards

HILTON HEAD, S.C.'As Michael Firko accepted his award for the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's ePermits portal, he issued a warning to the 400 or so vendor and federal officials at the Management of Change Conference: 'Before you put that piece of fruit or sausage in a bag coming back from overseas, make sure you have a permit.'

While Firko may have been exaggerating a little, in fact, ePermits has made applying for permits online and checking the status of an application much less arduous for researchers, horticulturists, farmers, commercial sellers and others who want to bring vegetable, animal and other plant products back to the United States from overseas.

APHIS launched ePermits nearly four years ago with the help of Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego under a five-year contract worth about $10 million. So far, citizens have applied for about 2,000 permits, and USDA had issued 1,000 as of May, Firko said.

And because of the ease with which citizens can now apply for permits online and check their status, ePermits was one of six federal, state and local Intergovernmental Solutions award winners for their ability to demonstrate innovative and effective use of technology. The Industry Advisory Council and the American Council for Technology chose 22 finalists from among 60 nominations and presented the winners last night at the 26th annual Management of Change Conference.

Firko said ePermits are used by three parts of APHIS:
  • Plant protection and quarantine
  • Veterinary services
  • Biotechnology regulatory services.

'Before, it was all a paper process and people had no access,' Firko said. 'They had to mail or fax requests for permits; now it is all electronic.'

EPermits also gives state agencies, partner federal agencies and Homeland Security Department port officials improved access to information.

In addition to ePermits, the other award winners are:

Cal/Gang and GangNet Network System, California Department of Justice: provides case management and tracking of gang member data including biographical information, vehicles, addresses, phone numbers, affiliations, gang symbols, gang areas and images.

Pennsylvania Animal Health Emergency Response and Diagnostic System, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture: an online data repository that monitors animal health, protects the food supply and will manage the outbreak of disease.

Federal Parent Locator Service, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Department of Health and Human Services: a public-private partnership that tracks delinquent parents who owe child support. The system has helped increase the amount of child support collections from $13 billion in 1996 to $21.9 billion by 2004.

Screening Information System, California Department of Health Services: supports state required registries of genetic abnormalities and provides data to meet the myriad of state and federal reporting requirements.

Property Book Unit Supply Enhanced Enterprise Accountability System, Army Program Management for Logistics Information Systems: an online property accountability application designed to deliver total asset visibility in real time for the Army and provide integrated logistics interoperability support for all services.

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