Q and A - Glad You Asked

In addition to this column, members are welcome to post their questions in the general forum area of the APWA web site at www.apwa.net. There, other members have the opportunity to post their answers directly. We also retrieve those questions with broad appeal for the "Q&A" column.

A. (We'll do this one like the show Jeopardy, which starts with an answer and then asks the question.) It could well be said that APWA's infoNOW communities are where men and women of great vision meet. Recently John Barr, Special Programs Manager for the Little Rock, Arkansas, Public Works Department, posted a message on the Transportation Community outlining information being sought by Vision Little Rock, a community-wide goal-setting process. In no time at all, Mr. Barr received a response from Shelby LaSalle informing him that St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, also had a Vision Program and initiating contact between these two communities. For more information on Vision Little Rock, visit www.littlerock.org/government/calendars/vision/default.html.

Q. The questions in this case are: Have you joined APWA's infoNOW Communities yet and, if you haven't, what is keeping you from signing up today? Those who have already taken advantage of this membership benefit have expressed almost universal satisfaction with the quality of the information they have received from other APWA members and with the long-term benefits of networking with others within APWA.

Q. Willard "Bill" Bruce, Commissioner, City of Albany, New York, has asked APWA a cutting-edge question relating to e-government. Mr. Bruce stated his question as follows: "We are exploring ways to distribute bidding documents, RFPs, and other procurement documents electronically, and getting responses, either via the Internet, e-mail, or a specific web site. Also considering being able to pay fines, tickets, or get City permits (or at least the forms) online. Has anyone had any experience with setting up their system, or operating it, they would like to share?"

A. You have asked an excellent question, possibly the best that has been asked of APWA in a month or more. Larimer County, CO has a Virtual County Courthouse where permitting and other interactions are facilitated. http://www.co.larimer.co.us/depts/pubwor/engin/utility/row_permits.htm.

Philadelphia, PA is into electronic permitting and John Cunningham, Chair of the Management Subcommittee of APWA's Utility and Public Right-of-Way Committee, is our man in Philadelphia. john.cunningham@phila.gov

San Francisco is also into the electronic age as is San Antonio. The US Army Corps of Engineers has been putting IFB and RFP on the Internet for several years. http://www.usace.army.mil/business.html.

APWA has also entered into a partnership with IZOIC, Inc., and some of the first services that will result from this partnership is online facilitation of bidding, permitting, and other e-government functions. The folks to talk to are Steve Sotwick, ssotwick@izoic.com, and Kim Moody, kmoody@izoic.com.

Well, how about you? Is your agency entering into the area of e-government? Please let APWA know if you are so we can develop a database of the leaders in this burgeoning means of making government more accessible to the public and business.

Glad You Asked...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquires to:
John "Mac" MacMullen
c/o APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite #500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2641
Fax questions to (816) 472-0405
E-mail: jmacmullen@apwa.net