Utah Government : Issues in State of Utah Government
Updated: 3/2/2005; 8:16:16 AM.


Utah Government


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Assuming now that Governor Huntsman will sign HB109, Utah will join other states with a consolidated IT department reporting to the Chief Information Officer.  The bill passed yesterday.  The transition officially begins on May 2, 2005 and lasts for a period of 16 months.  We have already begun to plan, that will go into high gear once the selection of a CIO is completed.  Some things must begin immediately:

  • Assessment of IT personnel and skills throughout the state
  • Selection of an enterprise asset management systems to track all assets coming into the new department.
  • Selection of a portfolio management system to manage all projects initiated and supported by the new department.
  • Identification of all services that will be provided by the new department and a rate model and service delivery model.
  • Formalization of enterprise architectural model and standards.
  • Identification of all critical data stores and locations.

Some of these are already spelled out in the bill, others are not, but may be just as important.  A comprehensive consolidation plan will be developed.  In an earlier post, I shared a del.icio.us feed where we are sharing information from other states' consolidation efforts.  We are now in the process of comparing all existing ITS rates with other states and private sector entities.  Then, an entirely new rate model must be built for the new Department, no small undertaking. 

An article in Public CIO recognizes that IT has become an integral part of EVERYTHING that governments do:

"With this shift has come the realization that a government's IT strategy must be tightly woven into the fabric of its business objectives, budget formulation process, service delivery strategy, and political dialog."

We must be careful to ensure that as IT becomes its own separate department, there is an even tighter integration into the business of government. 

Upcoming agenda:

8:06:59 AM    comment []

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Jack Sunderlage, who was a member of Governor Huntsman's technology transition team, was just appointed to be the president and CEO of ContentWatch.

HB 109 was amended and passed out of the Utah Senate's Government Operations Committee this afternoon on a vote of 3-0.

Raylene Ireland, former director of the Dept. of Administrative Services for about 10 years, was just hired as the director of community and governmental relations for Provo City.

5:47:19 PM    comment []

Thursday, February 17, 2005

ITS is holding its annual open house today where we share information about the many technology products and services that we support for the State of Utah. If you're around, please stop by and visit. We will be in the State Office Building auditorium until 5:00 this afternoon.

Deputy CIO Al Sherwood reviews some of AGRC's GIS products
Sarah, Eva, and Tracy support statewide email services and provide desktop support
ITS runs a statewide microwave system and supports VHF radio services for State and local government
Jordan Yu is on the team that ensures monitoring is in place for all critical network and server infrastructure
Walt Rodriguez and Linda Schiele demonstrate VoIP services to ITS customers
When it comes to enterprise storage, just ask Kelley and Jane

Here's what happened at the last open house.

10:05:59 AM    comment []

Friday, February 11, 2005

The House Public Utilities and Technology Committee met this morning to review HB 109 - the statewide IT consolidation bill.  One of the things that the bill does which has many state workers upset is that it makes all new positions in the consolidated department exempt from career service (merit status).  I have never been too concerned since I gave up merit status over 14 years ago.  I figure that you just do your best and if that's not good enough then you move on.  At the same time, I am concerned about state employees, many of whom are extremely devoted to their work.  The bill passed out of committee on a vote of 5-4.  Now it moves on to the House floor.  Check the calendar.  It's down the list a ways on the third reading.


Fred Hunsaker
Sheryl Allen
Bradley Daw
Aaron Tilton
Richard Wheeler

Ralph Becker
Larry Wiley
Lorie Fowlke
Brent Goodfellow

That is a very close vote.  I don't expect it to be quite so close in a floor vote, but it will be interesting to watch.  Representatives Wheeler, Daw, and Tilton have all been involved with the IT industry and understand that this is trend that is occuring everywhere.  UITA made a strong statement in support of the bill, represented by Stan Lockhart and Richard Nelson.  Here is a complete list of UITA's priorities.  Looks like former CIO, Val Oveson is a member of the UITA task force on HB109. 

Mike Leavitt was sworn in as HHS Secretary today.

5:35:33 PM    comment []

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Representative Dave Clark's massive bill restructuring IT in the State of Utah is now publicly available.  House Bill 109 creates a Department of Technology Services and provides for mechanisms to transfer employees from other agencies into the department.  It also outlines the responsibilities of the new department and a structure which includes three divisions:

  • the Division of Enterprise Technology,
  • the Division of Integrated Technology, and
  • the Division of Agency Services.

My answer is simple.  If Governor Huntsman supports this bill and it becomes law, I will do all I can to make it happen as efficiently as possible.

Public CIO published the article, The Coming of blog.gov, in their February issue.  They interviewed me for the article about a month ago along with a few other public sector bloggers.

3:42:53 PM    comment []

Monday, January 03, 2005

Today is yet another historic day in Utah as Jon Huntsman gets sworn in as governor.  Governor Huntsman is speaking of ethics and integrity, fulfilling the public confidence.  He promises his "very best" to the citizens of Utah.  "Taking no risk is sometimes the biggest risk of all."  Governor Huntsman mentions that the information highway will take us where we cannot imagine.  He encourages us to embrace change in the name of a better tomorrow.  This is what will be the hallmark of his administration.  It will deliver innovative solutions to create jobs and improve the economy.  His proposals will not be based on political ambition.  He will use whatever political capital he posesses to benefit the state.  He states he will be satisfied if our students have more money for books and our teachers are better paid.  Capital, monetary or political, is to be used to benefit others.

Utahns are linked to the past and to the future.  Our state must be a leader in biotech, communications, and hi-tech among other things. (that is good, something I really want to support)  His desire is to create an unprecedented era of community building and cooperation.  (also good, something that can be supported by technology)

Governor Huntsman's inaugural address can be viewed in its entirety on KSL.

Jon Huntsman Jr. with wife Mary Kaye listen to national anthem
Jon Huntsman Jr. receives oath of office from Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham
Incoming Governor Huntsman recognizes outgoing Governor Walker's contributions
Gary Herbert sworn in as Lt. Governor
Utah National Guard honors Jon Huntsman Jr. with a 19-gun salute
Mark Shurtleff takes oath of office as Utah's Attorney General
LDS Church Y2K Coordinator John Horton was among those in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing at the inauguration
The Choir concudes with a stirring rendition of America the Beautiful

12:19:03 PM    comment []

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Following up on last year's top 10 technology accomplishments in Utah state government, I'll attempt a top 10 for 2004, although it will be hard to match the 2003 accomplishments.

  1. Utah Wireless Integrated Network Phase I.  Voice integration of multiple state networks including the UCAN 800 MHz trunked system in the Wasatch Front, the Utah National Guard, the State Repeater System, Salt Lake City's 800 MHz network, Salt Lake County, and the State VHF law enforcement network was achieved on schedule in July and tested in a multi-level homeland security exercise coordinated by the Utah National Guard.
  2. Careers.utah.gov.  This new portal implementation was coordinated by Darrin Brush of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
  3. Controlled Substance Database.  This system which rolled out this Fall is the first online system of its type in the country and gives prescribers and law enforcement access to over 22 million records.  The purpose of the database is to provide a resource to aid in the prevention and treatment of prescription controlled substance drug misuse, including law enforcement efforts.
  4. Just for Youth website.  With Utah being about the youngest state in the country, the State rolled out the JustforYouth portal in September.  The portal focuses on issues of interest to this community including finances, education, employment, etc.
  5. Utah Business Portal Second Place Nationally.  The Utah Business Portal (business.utah.gov) was recognized as the second best government to business service in the country in October by the Center for Digital Government.  The state was recognized as eighth place in the overall Digital State competition.
  6. Online Transition.  Governor-elect Jon Huntsman posts news of his transition to governor on the state portal, even allowing interested citizens to apply for key positions online.
  7. Hunting and Fishing Agent.  The entire hunting and fishing license process goes online with service rolled out to license agents throughout the state in addition to the personal internet service directly to citizens.
  8. Portfolio Management.  The Division of Information Technology Services was among many agencies recognizing the value of portfolio management and implemented an open-source project management system along with a more comprehensive portfolio management process to better manage information technology projects, as well as products and services.
  9. Payment Express.  The Utah State Tax Commission developed this new service earlier in the year to allow payment of a variety of tax types through a single service.
  10. Mobile Data.  The State began testing the first 700 MHz mobile data network in the country in November.  Rollout through the state is expected to continue in 2005.

I'm sure that I have missed some that are worth of mention here as well.  This list may be revised.

Dr. John Gotze of Denmark just completed his year in review.  John expected 2004 to be the year of digital identity.  Here in Utah, we continued to augment and expand on the Utah Master Directory.  More services now use the directory for authentication.  Speaking of that, Daniel Solove has published a new book entitled The Digital Person.  Should be of interest to those involved with digial ID and privacy issues.

eWeek has a range of prognostications for 2005, including the suggestion that authentication services will soon spell the end of anonymous access.

Evelyn Rodriguez' personal account of how she was struck by the recent tsunami is a must read.  The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog has amazing coverage of the tsunamis and ways to help with the response.  Jeff Ooi of Screenshots also has extensive information.  Also see the Tsunami Disaster HQ.

MCI completed a 40 Gbps connection between Salt Lake City and Sacramento today.

Bob Morgan, Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources has added his name to the list of retiring cabinet members.   Several important egov initiatives were completed during Bob's tenure at DNR, including online campground reservations at the state parks.  Another big change will be to fill Kermit Hall's shoes at USU. 

6:59:16 AM    comment []

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The transition to a new administration is continuing to evolve here in Utah.  Scott Williams, director of the Health Department, announced his resignation yesterday.  Robin Arnold-Williams, with Human Services, has already announced her intentions as well.  Those are two of the largest departments in the state who have been involved in many significant IT initiatives.  We have worked with both departments on a variety of enterprise projects.  I hope their new leaders will continue to see value in digital government and online services.  Transition teams have made their reports to the Governor-elect this week.  It looks like there may be a proposal to combine Corrections and Public Safety.  That would certainly be an interesting development.  I hope that the progress that has been made in wireless with the idea of increasing the operational effectiveness of field workers, first responders, and public safety personnel can continue to move forward.  We have made some significant progress in this area, but are still in mid-stream in a number of important projects.

The State has received another $16 million to implement HAVA requirements.  That could be one of the first big decisions of the incoming administration.  However, it looks like Amy Naccarato won't be around to help.  Amy brought a number of great initiatives to the Utah Electronic Commerce Council in previous years.  The UECC is no longer around, but did some good things in the past.

Kansas has added new licensing renewal services to their online offerings.  And Maine residents can now access their complete driving record.  The report is available at a cost, however, of seven dollars.  NIC, which built these state services has been pretty busy.  They also announced a new child support payment service for Idaho and new online services for the State of Montana.

NGA has released its annual Fiscal Survey of States.

8:02:03 AM    comment []

Friday, December 17, 2004

Making the DAS presentation to Governor Walker was an honor
Since Clark County (Nevada) has the same IBM rep that we do, I hear a little about what they are doing from time to time.  Today, they announce a contract award to SAP / IBM for a full-blown implementation of SAP's mySAP portal along with financial management, HR, and CRM systems.  The Utah Division of Finance is currently testing SAP's employee online self services.

Check out the drop in violent crime nationally since 1995.  This is really a significant social phenomenon.

ReGeo is the European Commission's project of the month.  Looks like a great application for tourists and travelers and maybe something I can add as part of a PDA users applications suite for the State of Utah.

Here's video of Governor Walker's final meeting with the Department of Administrative Services.  Governor Walker will conclude her service when Jon Huntsman, Jr. is sworn in on January 3rd.  The latest information on the transition can be found here.

Ray Matthews, owner of the RSS in Government weblog, bids farewell to Governor Olene Walker

8:13:13 AM    comment []

Friday, December 10, 2004

Governor Walker shared her 2006 budget recommendations today.  The budget includes some key recommendations including support for ongoing maintenance and connectivity of the Utah Wireless Integrated Network voice interoperability service which provides interoperability between UCAN's 800 MHz network, the National Guard, the State's VHF networks in rural Utah, and others, including a smartphone interface.  The UWIN technology subcommittee met this morning in Provo.  The team reviewed narrowband migration, mesh networking, and the implementation of the mobile data network.  Utah is the first state to begin implementation of a statewide 700 MHz data network.  Initial testing here in the Salt Lake Valley shows strong signal strength throughout our projected footprint.

The budget proposal is the next step to get any kind of initiative off the ground.  The Huntsman team has already said they are looking to cut another 1%.  That could go in many directions, and then the Legislature will put their imprint on it, but it's great to see the economy turning around here and the proposed budget reflects that.  Here's the press release.

4:29:43 PM    comment []

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

After undergoing extensive usability testing, the Utah Department of Workforce Services has unveiled their redesigned website at jobs.utah.gov, one of the most widely used sites in the state.  DWS serviced over 1 million job referals in the first 9 months that the service was online.

1:51:39 PM    comment []

Yesterday was the deadline for property tax payments in the state of Utah.  Like in previous years, a number of counties allow you to search for people who are delinquent in their payments.  Others, like Utah County,  let you see the entire tax history of any given parcel.  So, I can see what my neighbor is assessed and how much he has payed.  You can see just about all the info the county has regarding your parcel (or anyone else's for that matter). The most recent issue of Property Writes includes this item about some new technology being tested by Utah's Property Tax Division:

The Natural Resource Section is also in the process of testing an ArcPad GIS program to determine how this program application can be used to improve our fieldwork. With this program, aerial photos and locations of mining properties can be loaded on the note pad. A GPS instrument is connected to the note pad and indicates your location. This looks promising as it shows roads that are not on topographical maps. This program will also be used in locating oil & gas wells and mine sites.

Hopefully, they will share that information with the Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining, and with the State Geographic Information Database.

1:05:49 PM    comment []

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Governor Walker just unveiled the new Utah careers portal.  The site will have many great features that go beyond what is already offered at jobs.utah.gov and help citizens design and redesign their career.

The new Office of Parental Defense has also introduced its new website this week.

11:19:24 AM    comment []

Friday, September 03, 2004

Someday soon I'm going to get the new version of Capitol Connections, PHP-based complete with RSS feeds, but for now, here's the September 2004 issue.

7:54:28 AM    comment []

Friday, August 27, 2004

The Region 41 700MHz Regional Planning Committee meets today,August 27 at the Weber County Sheriff's Office, 10:00 am.  The address is 721 West 12th South in Ogden. 

We took the Utah's IT directors on a quick flight down to Richfield yesterday to tour the alternate state data center.  CIO Val Oveson stated his support for making proper use of the facility and ensuring that systems build adequate business continuity plans when developing new critical systems.  I shared this presentation (very large file - do not download on a slow connection) on GIS in Utah with them, the objective being to increase GIS use and data sharing between state agencies as well as the federal and local partners that we are heavily involved with.

Speaking of GIS, I met earlier this week with the Office of Education in an educational technology meeting.  I was impressed with State Superintendent Patti Harrington's desire to really focus the use of technology on supporting the teacher and the classroom.  They are using Cognos to analyze test data at the state and local level.  I suggested that GIS would be an extremely powerful tool to enhance this analysis and make it much more readable for the non-technical user.  They could easily spot and demonstrate trends at the zip code and neighborhood level.  I also invited them to share more of their news and success stories through the Utah.gov portal.

Gov. Schwarzenegger of California is making a big deal of a huge surplus "garage sale".  I used to be the director of the Utah Division of General Services and we would have this kind of sale periodically as well as regular auctions.  If you don't, the surplus property that comes from such a large organization will quickly build up and become unwieldy.  It looks like we're still selling some items through our online auction service, but the bidding looks a little slow right now.  Other property is sold through eBay and eSurplusAuctions.

6:39:30 AM    comment []

Friday, August 13, 2004

San Jose's former chief technology officer is currently under investigation for improprieties regarding procurement of Cisco networking products.  Government procurement is a sticky issue.  It is always a challenge to be fair and objective, yet efficient / productive, yet that is something that we always attempt to do.  Certainly, technical people, like anyone else, tend to prefer certain products, usually those with which they have some knowledge and expertise. 

Each month, the Governor holds a radio question and answer session with citizens called Let Me Speak to the Governor.  This week, she received a question regarding technology procurement from someone who felt that the State was biased towards Cisco in their procurement.  Obviously, Cisco is hard to ignore due to their size and presence in the networking sector, although I can think of several recent bids where Cisco was not the winning bidder.  I discussed the issue with all of our managers in ITS and re-emphasized the importance of being fair and objective in all bids.

7:43:04 AM    comment []

© Copyright 2005 David Fletcher.

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