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AMS, Ariba Join on Auctions<@VM>NIC Unit to Aid Agencies<@VM>Navy to Use FreeMarkets Auctions<@VM>Virginia to Field MCI Network<@VM>DynCorp Snares Air Force Pact<@VM>NSF Debuts Digital Government<@VM>Election.com Snags U.K. Firm<@VM>PlanetGov Prepares for Takeoff

American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., has broadened its electronic commerce base in the federal government by landing a deal with Ariba Inc. to run online auctions for the General Services Administration.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but AMS and Mountain View, Calif.-based Ariba will use Ariba's software to help GSA sell surplus government property online.

Last year, GSA conducted more than $260 million in federal surplus property sales. The solution also would enable GSA to auction up to $10 billion annually in other government assets. GSA has named the new site GSAAuctions.gov.

"My vision for GSAAuctions is that it will be the government site for government asset auctions," said Frank Pugliese, Federal Supply Service commissioner. "In keeping with this administration's e-government initiatives, the public will find GSAAuctions easy to access and easy to use."A division of the National Information Consortium Inc. of Overland Park, Kan., has formed an alliance with Employee Relations Inc. of Sherman Oaks, Calif., to provide online personnel services to government agencies.
NIC builds electronic government systems and Employee Relations provides human resources services.

The alliance will concentrate on reducing the cost and increasing the effectiveness of background checks.

"Government agencies can't afford lawsuits resulting from negligent hiring claims or discrimination," said Don Smeltzer, president of NIC Technologies, the division of NIC that formed the alliance. "Additionally, government has a mandate to demonstrate a zero tolerance policy toward discrimination, harassment, drugs and violence in the workplace."

Background checks and other forms of pre-employment screening have become critical to the government HR process.Auction fever continues to spread in the federal government. FreeMarkets Inc. of Pittsburgh, which has conducted auctions for state and local governments and commercial customers for several years, landed its first Department of Defense customer.

The Naval Supply Systems Command signed a deal to gain access to FreeMarkets' eMarketplace to buy goods and services.

"The Navy is a leader among federal agencies in adopting best-of-breed, private-sector solutions for purchasing," said Dave McCormick, vice president for public-sector business at FreeMarkets.

The agreement with the Navy is the second that FreeMarkets has signed with the federal government. In April, FreeMarkets snagged a deal with the U.S. Postal Service. FreeMarkets also has an alliance with American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., to pursue government work.MCI WorldCom Inc. of Clinton, Miss., won a contract with the state of Virginia to build Covanet, an integrated telecommunications network that state officials said will save Virginia $40 million over the next five years. The contract is worth $47 million over two years to MCI WorldCom.

The network consolidates five separate networks into a single one. "Covanet will provide the Virginia state government with the most advanced state telecommunications network in the nation," said Don Upson, Virginia secretary of technology.

The new network will provide the infrastructure the state needs to put all government services online and conduct the majority of the state's internal business online as well, he added.

"This new network provides the infrastructure needed to bring these services to the citizens rapidly, cost-effectively and, most importantly, wherever they live in Virginia," Upson said.DynCorp of Reston, Va., snagged a $169 million, seven-year contract with the Air Force to manage the service's prepositioned war reserves in the Middle East.

DynCorp Technical Services will perform operations, maintenance and support of war reserve materiel in southwest Asia and operation of supply stock control at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

"We're extremely pleased to be selected for this important project," said Robert Alleger, president of DTS. "It reaffirms the fact that we have been providing innovative solutions and exceptional services on the contracts we currently hold with the Air Force."
The National Science Foundation is forming a partnership with computer science researchers at federal, state and local agencies to improve the quality of digital government.

NSF unveiled the partnership, known as dg.o, for DigitalGovernment.Org, May 16 at a Los Angeles workshop that highlighted NSF-funded initiatives and research to improve online government services.

"NSF began to explore IT research partnerships with federal mission agencies in 1994 when 12 agencies jointly contributed to development of the first popular Web browser, Mosaic," said Larry Brandt, NSF program manager for digital government. "Now, with dg.o, we are taking the next steps to build a multisector, research-based community of many universities and government agencies."

Although going digital has made government interactions easier, it has also brought a new set of problems, said Yigal Arens of the University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute. Arens is chairman of the conference and co-director of NSF's Digital Government Research Center, jointly operated by USC and Columbia University.

"It's no longer a question of whether each agency has a Web site or a database, but how to make all those different systems work together so that both agencies and the public can get the most out of the information in them," Arens said.Election.com Inc., a global Internet election company that serves public
and private elections, acquired Unity Security Balloting, an election services company in the United Kingdom, to
better serve the U.K. market, company officials said.

The price of the acquisition was not disclosed.

Election.com U.K. will continue serving Unity Security Balloting's existing clients, such as the British Labour Party, trade unions and co-operatives. It also will provide Internet voting, electronic conference voting and Web site information on elections and candidates to pension funds and companies with electorates across Europe.

The Garden City, N.Y.-based election.com was formed in February 1999 by Joe Mohen, chief executive officer. Election.com, a privately held company, currently has more than 60 employees.

Election.com designs, manages and provides information for elections over the Internet anywhere in the world for political jurisdictions and nonprofit and private organizations. In March, election.com partnered with the Arizona Democratic party to set up the voting system for the Arizona Democratic Presidential Primary.PlanetGov, the first Web portal designed especially for current and
former government employees, is set for a May 24 debut, according to company officials.

PlanetGov of Fairfax, Va., will provide government professionals with news, daily columns, online learning tools and government career and job postings.

PlanetGov (www.planetgov.com) was founded by management and owners of Intellisys Technology Corp., a privately held technology solutions provider in Fairfax that focuses on the federal government.

"With PlanetGov, we are providing government professionals everything they need to feel more connected, and to have easy access to the specialized information and knowledge they need," said Steven Baldwin, president and CEO of PlanetGov and ITC.

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