Governor Grants More Money for Michigan's E-Efforts

Governor Grants More Money for Michigan's E-Efforts

By William Welsh, Staff Writer

JULY 21 ? Michigan Gov. John Engler has signed a $614 million supplemental spending bill that provides for an array of new projects, including more than $23 million for e-government initiatives.

The planned electronic initiatives include Web portal redesign, market research of citizen services and enterprisewide needs, such as middleware purchases, said e-Michigan Director Stephanie Comai on July 21.

The state portal will be reorganized around themes rather than organizations, she said.

The number of transactions that citizens can complete online at present is limited, according to Comai. As part of the initiative, the state seeks to expand existing online services, such as vehicle registration and drivers' license renewal, and add new services, including campground reservations, hunting and fishing licenses and boat registration, she said.

The middleware will fuse the front-end transactions that citizens make through the portal with legacy back-end systems. The state recently completed a baseline assessment of existing architecture as a step toward updating back-end systems.

"We want to make these services as seamless as possible for the citizen," said Comai.

The need to update back-end systems and to integrate agency services were identified as key steps in e-government implementation by the National Governors' Association Task Force on Information Technology that met July 10 at the NGA Annual Meeting in State College, Pa.

The supplemental spending bill, which was signed July 13, resulted from a surplus in state tax revenue.

In April, Engler signed an executive order establishing the e-Michigan Office within the Executive Office of the Governor. The e-Michigan Office is responsible for coordinating development of electronic government service, re-engineering practices and designing better ways of conducting the business of government. Resources to implement the e-gov initiatives continue to reside in the Department of Management and Budget, said Comai.

"Because every executive branch [agency] is going to have something to do with this, it is easier to coordinate from the governor's office than the peer departments," she said.

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