Sacramento, Calif.–Utah, Washington, DC, and Montgomery County, Md., have the best government Web sites in America, according to the Center for Digital Government, an international research and advisory institute on information technology (IT) in government and education.
The three jurisdictions captured first place in the 2003 Best of the Web state, city and county government portal categories, respectively. More than 260 public-sector Web sites entered the contest. A panel of IT experts judged each entry based on its innovation, Web-based delivery of public services, efficiency, economy and functionality for improved citizen access.
"Government portals have truly become the citizen gateway to services as sites become more robust and easier to navigate," said Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Center for Digital Government and a Best of the Web judge for all of its eight years. "Utah, Washington, DC, and Montgomery County have highly functional websites. All three winners take advantage of online government and are setting the bar for the rest of the nation. Capturing first place in the Best of the Web contest reflects their true commitment to the citizens and businesses of their respective jurisdictions."
Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt's ambitious efforts last year to expand and restructure his IT department and accelerate the state's online offerings paid off. After months of collaboration between his office, IT managers and department heads, hundreds of online services were integrated, resulting in a consolidation that saved money and improved the quality of service to citizens.
"Our goal is to use technology to make state government services more efficient and accessible," said Leavitt. "This award shows we're making real progress in our efforts to move more government services online instead of in line."
The popular Washington, DC, portal (DC.gov) has grown from 20 pages to more than 120,000 over the last five years. The site receives over 100 million visits each year. District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams credits his technology office and its chief technology officer for building this award-winning portal.
"Now this is a milestone. To be recognized as Best of the Web by the Center for Digital Government means something to those in the IT world," said Williams. "We set out to be the best - and now we are. The District's e-government initiative has given us a new way to serve the people of Washington. Residents, businesses and visitors now have easy access to hundreds of government services and enormous amounts of information. It is available to them anytime, anywhere. I am very proud of our Technology Office and its most capable leader, Chief Technology Officer Suzanne Peck."
It's been nearly a decade since Montgomery County first launched its presence on the World Wide Web. According to County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, the Internet has benefited just about everyone in the county.
"It has allowed us to make Montgomery County government increasingly more accessible and responsive to the people we serve," said Duncan. "Earning the Best of the Web award is a great honor. We are extremely pleased to be recognized for our efforts to improve this important communication tool."
Rounding out the top five winners in the state portal category are Maine, Indiana, Washington, and Arkansas.
Rounding out the top five winners in the city portal category are Virginia Beach, Va.; Boston, Mass.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Dallas
Rounding out the top five winners in the county portal category are Santa Clara County, Calif.; Fairfax County, Va.; Marion County/Indianapolis, Ind.; and King County, Wash.
Best Government Applications
A new category in this year's Best of the Web contest is Applications, which are defined as agencies, departments and individual government services, and transactions. The first-place winners in this category are:
State General Government: Commonwealth of PA Application for Social Security (https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/compass.web/CMHOM.aspx)
State Constitutional Officers: Georgia Secretary of State (www.sos.state.ga.us)
State Legislature: Minnesota (www.leg.state.mn.us)
State Judiciary: North Carolina (www.nccourts.org)
City Applications: Seattle, Wash., Democracy Portal (www.seattlechannel.org)
County Applications: Iowa State County Treasurers Association Portal for all Iowa counties (www.iowatreasurers.org)
Best of the Web, Education
Two additional categories in the contest are K-12 and Higher Education. Results from the education categories can be found on the Center for Digital Education's website.
For more information on the Best of the Web.