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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VIII, Issue 1||January/February 2005|
M. Cover, Staff Writer, Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
The state's Web site -- http://www.maine.gov -- has won first place in a competition judged by a California group.
Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government, presented Gov. John Baldacci with the award Thursday (2/27/05), saying Maine is the envy of state governments across the country. "Over half of the (state's) citizens use Maine.gov," she said. "That's unheard of anyplace else." Most states see 15% to 20% usage of their Web sites, she said.
For example, the state site is easy to use, features state and local government information, allows users to tailor the site to their needs, and encourages citizen participation through an "e-Democracy" portal. Also, there are more than 300 on-line services, including the chance to renew or replace a driver's license.
In addition to the first-place award, Robinett gave former Secretary of State Dan Gwadosky a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on the Web site. "It was a bit of a risk when we first started," he said.
Gwadosky, who served as chairman of the board that oversees the Web site, said many people deserve credit for its success, including former Department of Administration and Finance Commissioner Janet Waldron and current Commissioner Rebecca Wyke. He urged the state to continue to make the site better for residents who may want to use it. "No matter what we do, there's more demand," he said. "It's a challenge for us all."
In remarks in the lobby of the Maine State Library, Robinett praised the state for asking for citizen input on the state budget and urged Maine to keep in mind the younger generation when making changes to the site. "You have the best Web site in the country," she said. "So many states want to know how you did it."
Statehouse reporter Susan M. Cover can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 623-1056. This article is excerpted from one that was originally published February 28, 2005, and is reprinted courtesy of the Kennebec Journal.