10. Study Recommendations
To a great extent, these recommendations are due to the evolutionary nature of the existing positions, organization and infrastructure of "GOVnet".
Also, the interviews for the study revealed several issues and questions. The issues and questions are included for completeness, however, the recommendations that follow may not completely address or resolve the issues.
- Are things (from a technology perspective) being done efficiently and effectively?
- Who should have access to the StateGovNet in addition to State government?
- What role in principle does government have with telecommunications?
- There are no policies regarding the use of GOVnet.
- There are concerns about the visibility and equity of the funding mechanism.
While there may be partial answers to some of the questions, e.g. regarding policies, it is apparent that there is no clearly defined long-term plan for telecommunications, and there is no clear statement with regard to the governments role in that arena. As a general recommendation, the state should:
a) create a long-term operating telecommunication plan;* and
b) determine what role the State should play.
* [This is different and separate from the Department of Public Services "Vermont Telecommunications Plan Final Draft," August 1996. An operating plan should contain explicit policies and procedures for equipment, mode of acquisition, service, support, and operation.]
This recommendation is consistent with the Vermont Economic Progress Council recommendations in the 1996 Draft Report, "A Plan for a Decade of Progress."
- Establish the Technical Advisory Council described in Section 9. Its primary role is to review the cost effectiveness of the five-year plan. A secondary role of the Council is to provide guidance to the State on technology activities.
- The Network Administration Group, StateGovNet and Vermont Citizens Access Telecommunications System (VCATS) should be established as defined with separate sources of funding. This should reduce confusion related to the term "GOVnet," and make legislative funding decisions more tractable.
- The Legislature, with the assistance of the Technical Advisory Council, should establish policies and procedures for technology infrastructure, including, for example, who has access to the network. These policies are more "strategic" or financial in nature. The CIO maintains responsibility for operating policies and procedures and advising the Secretary of Administration "on all matters regarding the creation, processing and distribution of information."**
- Education technology initiatives should be moved from the Agency of Administration to the Department of Education. Other technology initiatives in Vermont are sponsored by the functional agency, e.g., Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Transportation, etc. The services are then provided by the CIO or CIT. Currently, the initiative to provide distance learning through Internet access to K-12 schools is sponsored by the Agency of Administration, not the Department of Education.
- The Legislature should establish a consistent format for funding technology. A significant issue involves the equity of the 11% telephone chargeback mechanisms.***
- The CIO position should be maintained as it currently exists. The CIO is an effective means for coordinating technology infrastructure and planning. There is also substantial support for retaining the current network administration group due to its extensive knowledge of state agencies and departments.
- The CIO position should be less dependent on any administration. It is proposed that the CIO be recommended by the Governor, and approved with the advice and consent of the Senate.
** [Sec. 285. ACT NO. 210 of the Acts of 1994]
*** [There is no consistency in the public and private sectors for sources of funding and chargeback schemes for supporting technology acquisitions. For example: Arizona uses a fee for service revolving fund; Delaware uses general fund appropriations with major projects funded with capital or bonds; Iowa uses fee for service and appropriations.]