Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: email@example.com
Once upon a time, people were skeptical about governments wasting their time creating Web sites. Remember those days? Yeah, me neither. Now we have Web sites being created right and left. And they're welcomed.
In the past few days, Governor John Lynch announced that New Hampshire has created a Web site to help residents address potential home mortgage problems. Governor Martin O'Malley launched a Web site to address "keen taxpayer interest" in the stimulus package by showing where stimulus money will go in Maryland.
It's a long way from the days when state and local governments had to justify creating a Web presence. (And when they finally did develop a Web site, they mostly posted basic information that remained static for weeks on end.)
I was reminded of this evolution from skepticism to acceptance to routine while talking to tech officials in Decatur, Georgia. The city is looking into whether it should create a Virtual Georgia. The initial reaction by many taxpayers is...you guessed it. Leeriness. Doubt. There are more important things to spend money on, they say. Now's not a good time. Why do we need this?
These all may be legitimate concerns. But we're unlikely to know for awhile.
What's become predictable is the skepticism. It's a routine element in the government technology development process. And that's probably a good thing.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.