$8 million not enough for e-gov websites, says Kundra
Lower than expected congressional appropriations require the Office of Management and Budget to cancel two collaborative websites it had under development, says Vivek Kundra, the OMB administrator for e-government and information technology.
In a May 24 letter to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) printed on the senator’s website, Kundra–who also goes by the title of federal chief information officer–says the $8 million the e-government fund received in the current fiscal year isn’t enough to sustain development of two projects, FedSpace and a “citizen services dashboard.” The Obama administration requested $34 million for the fund and received that amount during the previous fiscal year; the fund resides in the General Services Administration but is subject to heavy control by OMB.
FedSpace, currently online in beta form, is a “space for collaboration among communities, allowing users to explore, discuss, meet others in the same field,” Kundra says in his letter. According to an e-gov progress report to Congress sent on March 30, the e-gov fund spent $4.9 million on it during fiscal 2010, which ended on Sept. 30, 2010.
The citizen services dashboard would have been a website with data on government services and “customer satisfaction” with them. Additional features contemplated for the websites would have been the ability of the public to provide direct feedback on government services, and “the ability to promote customer service success stories happening now,” according to a July 1, 2010 statement from David McClure, the General Services Administration associate administrator for the office of citizen services and innovative technologies.
The $8 million will permit OMB to continue hosting the IT Dashboard, Data.gov and Performance.gov, Kundra says, but it’s not enough to make further developments to those sites. According to the March progress report, the e-gov fund spent $3 million on data.gov during fiscal 2010.
“While we will continue to work with agencies to improve the quality of data on the IT Dashboard and USASpending, we will not be able to fund development efforts to improve data accuracy through automation and streamlining,” Kundra says. The $8 million is also not enough to get new datasets posted to Data.gov, and not enough to set up new communities of interest through that website, Kundra adds.
USASpending.gov will also see decreased support, Kundra asserts. “For example, there will be a marked reduction in technical support provided to the contractor and grantee communities who enter data on federal spending,” he says. According to the March progress report, the e-gov spent $9.5 million during fiscal 2010 on USASpending.gov, as well as on the IT Dashboard and on Performance.gov.