U.S. State and Local Gateway
Hammer Award Ceremony and Unveiling
Indian Treaty Room, Old Executive Office Building
January 23, 1998
Senior Policy Advisor to the Vice President
and Director, National Partnership for Reinventing Government
Welcome to all of you. The Vice President is very sorry he was unable to be here but he had to be in Boston today. But, I am honored on his behalf to celebrate the official release of the US State and Local Gateway and to honor the team that created it.
I especially want to thank the Alliance for Redesigning Government of the National Academy of Public Administration for sponsoring this event and for the food and drinks, including the great sheet cake back there with the logo from the US State and Local Gateway. Be sure to get your share. I'd like to acknowledge Scott Fosler, President of the National Academy of Public Administration and Vesta Jones from the Alliance for Redesigning Government who are both with us here today.
Also, a special welcome to the folks here who came from state and local government, and to our intergovernmental partner organizations. Also, to the supervisors of the members of the Gateway team ... thanks for being here today and thanks for letting your staff work on this important inter-agency reinvention project over the last year.
The U.S. State and Local Gateway is a one-stop electronic link to federal information for state and local officials and employees, and for federal employees who work with states and localities. www.statelocal.gov -- now that's all you need to know to find all the federal information you've ever wanted.
You know, not too long ago, instead of a gateway, the federal government had a fenceline. Fencelines, actually. Not only did state and local government have a hard time getting information, federal agencies didn't even communicate with each other. They patrolled their fencelines, keeping intruders out.
With the Gateway, state and local employees can now quickly obtain information they need. Users no longer need to spend hours learning to decipher the federal bureaucracy and conduct separate searches within each individual agency.
Let me tell you a little secret. In creating the State and Local Gateway, we have also opened the federal government to itself. I bet this database is going to be at least as useful to the federal government as it is to the state and local folks. I wish I had a dollar for every time that a federal employee is going to go to the Gateway and say, "I didn't know that agency was involved in what we do!"
The Gateway arranges information by subject, making it eaiser to jump fences and find the information you are looking for and the agencies working on it quickly and efficently. The gateway sorts subjects into 11 categories of federal information that is most in demand. It also identifies several cross-cutting topics relevant to all subject areas -- funding, grants, laws and regulations, contacts, and best practices.
Focus groups with state and local employees confirmed that the federal team was on the right track in terms of content and design. Their feedback and suggestions were incorporated. Some of the folks who attended those early focus groups are here with us today. I'd like to acknowledge those who are here (give a wave so folks know who you are):
- Dr. Linda Thompson Special Secretary to the Governor of Maryland for Children, Youth & Families
- Jennifer Hughes, Montgomery County Council
- Sherrod Sturrock, Department of Administration and Finance, Calvert County, Maryland
- Joe Klausner, Office of Management Information Systems, Calvert County, Maryland
- Glen Rutherford, Arlington County Environmental Health Bureau
We hope you like what you see now. Please, all of you, take time to look at the lap top set up across the room so you can see how far this team has come in producing this one stop gateway to federal information. If you don't have time to thoroughly look at it today, just remember -- www.statelocal.gov.
As Mickey Ibarra said, the Gateway is a great example of the three levels of government working together to give America its best.
This project is also a remarkable example of teamwork at its best. This virtual team of 17 federal agencies and 7 intergovernmental organizations, which was led by Bev Godwin Yates of the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, did a phenomenal job of dividing up the work, minimizing long term maintenance, getting continuous input from customers, and also at creating an excellent product with almost no money. I will give some examples of this when I give out the team hammer awards.
There has been some seed money, just $10,000, provided by the Intergovernmental Enterprise Panel of the Government Information Technology Services Board. I want to specifically thank Nada Harris and Don Howell from the Intergovernmental Enterprise Panel for believing in the vision for this project and for their support all on the way. But, beyond this initial seed money, it is the agencies and organizations in this room that came through with in-kind and other support to get the job done.
Imagine that. This Gateway, a common sense use of information technology, is opening up all levels of government to each other. Literally billions of dollars may be saved or better utilized because of this Gateway. And all for almost no money, except for that initial investment. It almost makes me wonder if our slogan should be "Works better, costs nothing?"
We are beginning to create a seamless web of service to the public. The public, after all, only know that they deal with "the government." They don't distinguish between federal, state, and local. And, amazingly enough, neither does the Gateway. Which tells you we must be on the right track.
It is, therefore, a privilege to be here on behalf of the Vice President to celebrate the official unveiling of the Gateway and to reward your success with hammer awards.
The Vice President's Hammer Award as the symbol of a reinvented government. It is the Vice President's common sense reply to the notorious $600 hammer, and consists of a regular $6 hammer, a little ribbon, and a note card, all in an aluminum frame. A hammer is a great symbol for what goes on in reinvention. A hammer can be used to demolish, and a hammer can be used to build. These awards go to people who are breaking the old mold and making government work better and cost less. Clearly, you are all doing just that.
On behalf of Vice President Gore, I am proud to recognize the Gateway team with hammer awards.
I want to start with the Department of Housing and Urban Development because this department really stepped forward to do a tremendous amount of work and support for this project. HUD helped us find the interagency partners and is taking the lead on two of the subject pages: Communities and Commerce, and Housing. The main pages of the Gateway sit on the HUD server, and HUD has provided technical support for the Gateway through one of its best contractors. I'd like to invite the HUD team up to receive the first hammer:
- Candi Harrison,
- Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez
- Michell Mitchell
- Gail Warner
The hammer award reads "Thank you for helping make government work better and cost less" and is signed by the Vice President.
There is a separate hammer award for each of the agencies and organizations involved. However, the others will be mailed to you at the other agencies and organizations. But, the entire team will be recognized today with an award certificate and a hammer pin.
Before going to the other federal agencies, I want to call up our intergovernmental partners:
From the Council of State Governments where they have done press for the Gateway and allowed the team to display the Gateway at their annual meeting in Hawaii, we have:
From the International City/County Management Association, where they have given us continuous and ongoing support in terms of feedback on design and content, helped us locate local employees for focus groups, and arranged for gateway demonstrations at their annual conference in Vancouver, we have:
From the National Association of Counties, which has also provided continuous support in time and commitment as we've designed and improved the Gateway, and presented it to county officials at various meetings around the country, we have:
- Win Lyday
- Holly Moskerintz
From the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which even fed the team lunch when it hosted one of the team meetings, and also provided press coverage and demonstration space, we have:
Team members from the other intergovernmental partners, the National Governors Association, the National League of Cities, and the National Conference of State Legislatures were unable to be with us today.
Returning to the Federal agencies ....
From the Department of Agriculture where the team list serve and the team's working home page reside, we have:
- Gypsy Banks
- Michael Spencer
From the Army Corps of Engineers where information was linked for all 11 subject pages, we have:
From the Department of Commerce where they've decentralized the process and asked their bureaus to feed links directly to the Gateway team, we have:
From the Education Department, where we've coordinated efforts with a similar project for one stop shop of education material for schools, teachers, and students, we have:
- Kirk Winters
- Marian Banfield
From the Energy Department where they are partnering with EPA on the Environment and Energy pages, we have:
From the Environmental Protection Agency, where they paid for focus groups with state and local employees and where they are taking the lead on the Environment and Energy pages, we have:
- John Dombrowski
- Joseph Simmons
- Maggie Thielen
From the Federal Emergency Management Agency where they have taken the lead and really did a phenomenal job of crossing agency lines on Disasters and Emergencies. As an example of what a user can do in all areas of the Gateway, if you click on Disasters and Emergencies, you not only get information from FEMA -- which you would expect -- but you also get information on disaster home loans and business loans from HUD and the Small Business Administration, on Unemployment Insurance from the Department of Labor, on tax relief following disasters and on how to redeem mutilated money from the Treasury Department, on food assistance and help with animals in emergencies from the Department of Agriculture, on public works and structural support from the Army Corps of Engineers, on national guard and additional law assistance in disasters from the Departments of Defense and Justice -- just to name a few.. And the man who led the efforts to link all this information, we have:
From the Federal Register, where he helped us cross agency lines on laws and regulations, find the best links for state legal resources, keeps adding brand new links as they come up , such as those for Line Item Vetoes and for Electronic Rulemaking, we have:
From the General Services Administration where they are taking the lead on Administrative Management and providing the Gateway a Search engine, we have:
From the Department of Health and Human Services where they are taking the lead on the Health pages and on the Children and Family Pages, where they have held focus groups specifically around these issues, and where they are linking to their superb Healthfinder database, we have:
- David Baker
- Dana Colarulli
- Vesta Jones
- Richard Silva
From the Interior department where they have been helping all subject leaders with links, especially to the Environment and Energy Pages, we have:
From the Department of Justice where they have the lead on Public Safety pages and where they had the good sense to bring in not only their webmaster but also their librarian who has given us great insight on how to organize large quantities of information:
From the Department Labor where they have taken the lead on the Workforce Development pages, we have:
- David Dickerson
- Tim Jennings
- George Koch
- Diane Mayronne
From the State Department, where we have a webmaster who helped with the initial design and graphics of the Gateway:
From the Department of Transportation, where they are taking the lead on Transportation and Infrastructure issues, we have:
- Alice Alexander
- Bob Hayes
- Barbara Leach
From the Treasury Department, where they are taking the lead on Money Matters, which includes information on budget, finance, and taxation, we have;
- Aurora Kassalow
- Vallerie Krain
- Catherine McHugh
From Veterans Affairs, where we get support from the Intergovernmental Enterprise panel, we have:
And last, but not least, from my staff at the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, we have the person who has led this interagency, intergovernmental team,
and the others who have provided so much vision, direction, support, and hard work from NPR:
- Brad Leonard
- Jeannie Newman
- Nancy Singer
- Pat Wood
Thank you to all of you. Let's all give this incredible team a big round of applause.
I'd like to now ask some of our state and local friends to come up to give brief remarks on what the US State and Local Gateway will mean to state and local employees. We will hear from Linda Thompson, Special Secretary to the Governor of Maryland, for Children Youth and Families; and from Robert O'Neill, County Executive of Fairfax County, Virginia. Following their remarks the three of us will have a ribbon connecting -- that's right a ribbon connecting, not a ribbon cutting -- to officially unveil the U.S. State and Local Gateway.
[Linda Thompson gives 5 minute remarks]
Robert O'Neill, who became Executive of Fairfax County, Virginia this past August, will give us a local perspective.
[Robert O'Neill gives 5 minute remarks]
Now, Linda and Robert will you please help me unveil the Gateway by connecting the federal, state and local ribbons. Once we've connected the ribbons, we invite all of you to celebrate, to have some food and drink, to check out the Gateway on the lap top, and to visit with each other.
For more information about the US State&Local Gateway, contact Tom Flavin at (202) 632-0150 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.