Federal E-Gov Forecast Is Gloomy

WASHINGTON (06/08/2000) - The federal government is probably still years away from delivering the kind of convenient, interactive services over the Internet that citizens are coming to expect from state and local governments and businesses, according to a senior federal e-government planner.

"Government is still a nine-to-five, Monday-through-Friday, paper-driven" enterprise, Alan Balutis told a gathering of government and business information technology specialists Wednesday.

It may take five or more years before e-government at the federal level is comparable to today's e-businesses, said Balutis, who is co-chairman of the federal CIO Council's E-Government Committee.

The federal government has more than 20,000 World Wide Web sites, but few provide interactive services. Although multiple agencies often are involved in providing services to individual citizens, agency Web sites are seldom linked electronically in a way that would simplify things for those who deal with multiple agencies.

Instead of exploiting the possibilities of the Internet, agencies are replicating "the same stovepiped, agency-centric" bureaucracies they created in the paper world, he said.

"People are clearly clamoring for e-government," Balutis said. In many areas, state and local governments are well ahead of the federal government because people interact more with government on the state and local level and have demanded better service, he said.

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