Board of Examiners raises issues of technology planning

Nevada needs to develop a comprehensive strategy for electronic commerce and regulatory transactions, the Board of Examiners said Wednesday in calling for a report on the issue to be delivered at its January meeting,

The issue was raised by Secretary of State Dean Heller as the board moved to approve funding for the Department of Motor Vehicles to start Internet license renewals and registration. He said the state has "no large policy" on the subject at present.

"I'm saying we ought to get the agencies together and put together a larger view so that what we're doing works together," said Heller.

He was quickly joined by Gov. Kenny Guinn, who said other states and the Western Governors Association are ahead of Nevada, and Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa, who called for a January report on where the state is.

"We need a strategy group for technology and implementation," Heller said, adding it should be outside the Department of Information Technology, which handles the state's day-to-day computer needs.

The secretary of state's Web site is getting 1.2 million customers per month and preparing to allow registration of corporate names, officers and do other business.

He said several other departments have shown interest and the contract before the board is for Department of Motor Vehicles to develop electronic transaction procedures. He said his staff is helping build new Web sites for some other departments.

But Heller said he doesn't know if there is any consistency in state Web sites being put on line or any attempt to link them so that the resident who needs services or information can get it.

He said Nevada should put all those agencies, including the counties, together so that the information businessmen and citizens need can be found and used and so there is consistency in how the state handles and allows electronic transactions.

In addition, Guinn raised questions about how state agencies pay expenses when recruiting new administrators and other high level or technical employees for the state.

Budget Director Perry Comeaux said they basically use salary savings money to pay recruitment costs, including flying someone in to interview for a job. If they don't have any savings in their salary account, they ask the Board of Examiners for cash.

Comeaux pointed out that, unlike local governments, fee based agencies and those like the university system that have discretionary cash, state agencies don't have funds for employee recruitment.

Guinn said it's not fair that state officials have to ask prospective hires to pay their own way to interviews while the universities have cash to bring in job prospects, along with their families.

"And if the university has all this discretionary money, they're going to have a hard time getting more money out of me," he said.

Comeaux suggested creating a fund to pay such expenses for state agencies.

Guinn said another issue state reimbursement for traveling employees for food and lodging. He said $6.50 won't buy breakfast in a major city like New York and that finding a room for under $43 a night is almost impossible in Las Vegas.

"We're going to stand up and say we're going to equalize these things," he said.


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