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Friday, June 23, 2006

Pawlenty of Nothing

That's what Pawlenty's Office of Information Technology wants to pay for getting skilled help rebuilding the State's IT infrastructure.

Minnesota asks industry to lend it some free 'geeks'
Minnesota proposes to "borrow" professionals from private industry to reinvent the government's computer networks.
John Reinan, Star Tribune

Last update: June 21, 2006 – 11:28 PM

Minnesota wants the best minds in the computer business to come work in state government -- for free.

The state is circulating a proposal to high-tech firms and large corporations, asking them to lend computer experts to the Office of Enterprise Technology for up to a year. The private companies would continue to pay their employees' salaries and benefits.

The state plans to put the free geeks to work on an ambitious project to reinvent the government's computer network. The proposal lists 14 categories of work, ranging from cyber security to systems development to government website design.

It's part of the Pawlenty administration's Drive to Excellence, an efficiency and modernization program headed by Dan McElroy, the governor's former chief of staff and now senior adviser on innovation.

It also reflects the lack of funding for computer upgrades, which has left the state with some systems that are ancient by today's standards and often incompatible.

Is the State of Minnesota becoming a charity case under Governor Pawlenty of Tax Increases especially in Hennepin County?

Private companies have had to adapt quickly to changing technology, and the state can learn a lot from their experience, said Gopal Khanna, Minnesota's chief information officer. A former top official with the Peace Corps, Khanna speaks with an evangelist's fervor about public-private partnership.

He hopes to renew the spirit of the "Minnesota Miracle" of the 1970s, when private companies "were honored and delighted to participate" in government projects to improve the state.

"We are all stakeholders in government," Khanna said. "We need to partner to make it better."

Khanna seems to be in over his head. His main qualification for this important position was that he'd been a reliable contributor to the Republican party.