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e-Government sites are pretty miserable

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I did a column on how the potential for e-government is falling short. While the column dealt with my state, Michigan, I interviewed a guy named Charles Kaylor from the Public Sphere Information Group, the organization based in Newton, Mass., that helped evaluate Michigan’s local governmental sites for the study. He told me that most governmental sites are what Internet critics call brochure-ware — public relations content seemingly aimed at boosting the images of the governmental units and the politicians who control them.
Still, there are some excellent examples of local government sites that do it right.

In Michigan, The Oakland County site is “one of the best examples of a local Web site anywhere in the nation,” according to Kaylor. From filing an assumed name to ordering birth, death and marriage certificates to getting permits for county parks, Oakland’s site exemplifies the way interactivity can help local government be more responsive and efficient, says Kaylor, an expert in the growing e-government movement. Then again, Oakland is something like the fourth richest county in the nation so it figures they’d do it better than most.
If you want to see a list of the top 110 e-government municipal Web sites Kaylor’s ghroup compiled, click here.
The Michigan study, commissioned by a group called cyber-state.org. should be online later this week.

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