January 16, 2001
InforME Board Meeting

Members Present:
Secretary of State, Dan Gwadosky, Board Chair
Anne Schink
Jaynie Higgins
John Eldridge
Tamara Dukes
Deborah Carson
Cindy Butts
Dick Davies
Marilyn Lutz
Gary Nichols
Jeff Harmon
Dick Hinkley
Rudy Naples

Harry Lanphear, CIO
Kelly Hokkanen, InforME
Shaye Robbins, InforME
Joan Gammon, InforME
Rebecca Wyke, Chief Deputy Secretary of State

Meeting Opens:
Chair welcomed members and began the meeting.

Agenda reviewed

Review of General Managers Report:

Awards: Maine was ranked #5 in the nation in the Center for Digital Government's Digital State Survey. The award was presented to Governor King on January 10 by Cathilea Robinett, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Government.

Discussion: The Chair acknowledged everyone's efforts and that it has been a great couple of years for Maine. Some of the more generic cross-agency applications are very significant in terms of the overall ranking of the state, such as the payment engine and forms tool. Need to look for more of those and play an important role in helping to develop cross-agency applications. Those applications are not as high visibility but they facilitate agencies doing e-government.

Marketing: We launched 4 new Rapid Renewal towns. The total number of live towns now stands at 23. InforME will be promoting Rapid Renewal at the spring MMA Technology Conference. We've received recent calls from Interface Technology News and DownEast Magazine about InforME services and are enthused about the increase in interest and press coverage.

Discussion: It was suggested that some Rapid Renewal issues need to be discussed with a steering committee. The pilot municipality group can serve as a steering committee. A list of concerns will be compiled and then a meeting will be scheduled with the pilot municipality group.

Q: Does the Cape Elizabeth property tax application have statewide possibilities?

A: Yes, property tax viewed as the 3rd municipal level application. Cape Elizabeth will be the first town and they are in the Project Definition and Design stage right now. Once their application is complete, it will then be offered to other towns.

Q: Is there were a way to standardize property tax information across towns and offer the property data as a service to real estate professionals? That way it could be two services from the same data, and one might be able to subsidize the other.

A: Cindy will put together a list of the basic data fields in which real estate agencies are interested. The data varies greatly from one town to another so it might be a difficult task to accomplish.

2002 Project and Application Summary
A list of current and future projects was presented to the Board, in follow up to our last meeting. The list separates the projects into audience categories - citizens or businesses.

Web Design: The web design unit continues to be very busy and have launched several exciting sites:

  1. CampwithME.com is a redesign of the camping reservations website that integrates with Bureau of Parks and Lands site that we previously designed.
  2. Accessible Recreation Online is a guide for people with disabilities who want information about recreational opportunities in Maine. This underlines the state's commitment to accessibility.

Website Interactivity: We included two articles for the Board regarding where we see agency websites moving. There is increasing demand for functionality in agency websites. We hope to respond to the state's RFP for preferred vendors and hire a developer who would be devoted to the web design unit, doing the less-intricate programming items such as online forms and searchable databases. The definition of a basic website has changed to include more complex functionality. To be able to provide this programming to answer the demand on a timely basis has become a customer service issue.

Technical Report: InforME is now a multi-platform portal as we now have Unix and NT hosting environments. We have documented our hosting services and have that information available for our government partners.

CampwithME.com: The reservation form on the new site had high usage on launch day and continues to increase almost exponentially
Maine Lottery: We have been doing a lot of minor work for them such as creating an e-mail distribution list (listserv) for them and other technical assistance. They have indicated to us that they have been very pleased with the relationship thus far and would like to work more with InforME partnering on bigger, more complex projects.

Q: How is the IF&W project progressing with their vendor?

A: There have been some delays, but MOSES is a very robust and complex system. It will perform many intricate functions on the database level. We are currently reviewing options to streamline our fulfillment for IF&W licenses to lessen the burden on the InforME staff.

Q: We see that at the municipal level fulfillment is worse than it ever was [due to the new licenses]. What is the impact for InforME?

A: We have a contract through April to continue fulfillment, but we can not continue with manual fulfillment indefinitely. We are hoping to streamline our internal fulfillment through April.

Discussion: A letter was sent by the Chair on behalf of the Board expressing concerns about the manual fulfillment process. IF&W is sensitive to the issue. We will need to continue to monitor the situation since it is not in InforME's best interest to continue manual fulfillment as it is currently performed by the InforME staff. The self-funded portal model is designed to "level the playing field" among agencies. Anchored by BMV, self-funding portals can use the funds obtained from BMV records to assist in funding the e-government applications that are unable on their own to recoup the cost of their development, maintenance, and in this case, fulfillment. It is designed so that funds from certain revenue-generating applications will help to pay for other free and less-profitable applications. However, since the birth of InforME, IF&W fulfillment is the only instance where expenses have escalated to the point of tipping the revenue-generating/free services balance. We need to be careful regarding applications that cost much more than anticipated fee on an ongoing basis. We should watch expenses that could grow on account of an agency or the agency's vendor. We should review the standard Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure that the scope sections address situations such as this. The InforME staff will bring the SLA template with suggested revisions to the next meeting.

Financials: Notice that CEC services have had an increase and continue to do well. Overall, we are pleased with 2001 revenue figures. In 2001 and in the project queue for 1st Quarter, 2002, free services are far outnumbering fee services. The first year requirement was to keep a 1-to-1 free-to-fee ratio which has been the goal since then. Recently, that ratio has changed and the free services have taken up a significant portion of our project queue.

Q: Does the user rate continue to be very high for CEC?

A: Yes, it is very good. Users are saving money doing it this way as well and are pleased with the ease of use on their end.

End of year financial statements from the NIC corporate office were only received today. Therefore, the financial numbers for December in this month's General Manager's Report are preliminary. We will have the final December financials available and present them at the next meeting.

Q: Could you extend the percentages for the whole year on the report?

A: Yes. We will present them at the next meeting.

Branding Subcommittee:

InforME staff has been working with the CIO and his team about marketing the portal to citizens. There is more of an initiative for ".gov" domain names for state portals across the country. We are discussing whether we should brand a ".gov" name like Maine.gov. We would like to begin regular meetings of a subcommittee for branding and marketing issues. Branding is important in many areas such as the design of the portal, any marketing/advertising materials, and the URL. There is not a large budget for this initiative but there are many free press/media opportunities.

Discussion: The Board expressed positive reactions to Maine.gov. Volunteers for the subcommittee will contact the Chair.

Request for Free Subscription Accounts & Access by Other States:

The Attorney General's office in Massachusetts has requested access to BMV records for free. The Secretary of State's SLA allows free access to SOS and other state agencies. Other exempt groups may include federal, county, and municipal agencies at the discretion of SOS and approval of the Board.

Q: InforME has asked non-profits to pay if they are doing more than 50 searches per year - does that apply for other states?

A: We suggest as a courtesy to other states that we allow completely free access.

Discussion: This is not a blanket decision that can be made. It will be at the agency's discretion to decide who they will allow to have access to their data and then the Board can vote on whether a free subscription will be offered to the requesting entity. This request is for SOS information, therefore, it should be determined by the SOS office if they will allow Massachusetts free access to BMV records. The Secretary of State's office will allow access to these records. The InforME Board is asked to vote upon whether the subscription to have online access to these records should be for free.

The Board unanimously approved this request by the Massachusetts Attorney General's office for free access to Maine's online BMV records. Other requests will be examined on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Should InforME change subscriber passwords on a regular basis?

Discussion: A suggestion was made to send a letter twice a year to each subscriber with a list of all their users and passwords and require them to certify that it is correct and remove non-valid users. InforME will investigate what other states are doing and report back to the Board.

Annual Report Presentation:

Copies of the 2001 Annual Report were distributed to the Board. The report is specifically for the Legislature and is required by the InforME statute. It includes a list of new services, votes by the Board, and general 2001 highlights. The Secretary of State's office will distribute copies to the Legislature.

Discussion: The Legislature was asked if they would like InforME to make another presentation to them. It has been a while since our last and we want them to have knowledge of InforME and feel pride about their creation of it. If there is a presentation to be made to the Legislature, the Secretary of State's office will let the Board know.

Next Meeting is set for February 13, 2002 at 1:00 PM.

No other Business is brought before the Board.

Meeting Adjourned