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Magazine Recognizes Alabama for Innovation and Leadership in Government Technology

April 2, 2008

MONTGOMERY - Governor Bob Riley and Alabama’s chief information officer are being recognized as two of the nation’s top 25 individuals who are using technology to improve government.

The magazine Government Technology named Governor Riley and CIO Jim Burns to the top 25 list, in part because of state initiatives that use technology to improve education, the budgeting process and homeland security.

“Our rules for choosing the Top 25 are pretty simple: We look for people who cut through the public sector’s infamous barriers to innovation - tight budgets, organizational inertia, politics as usual, etc. - to implement changes that reshaped government operations for the better,” the magazine states in its Top 25 issue. “Alabama Gov. Bob Riley is the force driving the state to the forefront of technology leadership. Widely regarded as a governor committed to government efficiency and openness, Riley has lent his clout to initiatives that showcase his state’s technology prowess."

The Governor received high marks for initiating a budget reform process called SMART Governing, which makes budgets Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent. The magazine also touted his efforts to use videoconferencing and Internet technology to expand distance learning (ACCESS - Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators and Students Statewide) and Virtual Alabama, which allows state and local officials to securely share statewide geographic data using Google Earth.

Government Technology touts Burns’ work on the state’s award-winning Internet portal -

“To take even a brief look at is to see a model of easy navigation and user friendliness,” the magazine states. “ offers dozens of online licensing applications, helping everyone from nurses to truck drivers save time and money. Burns also helped drive cross-agency interoperability by centralizing the state’s email and computer networks - the likes of which many states can only dream of.” In fact, other states are now using Alabama’s approach as a model for the right way to do interoperability.

The magazine concludes that the leadership of Governor Riley and Burns has helped transform Alabama, “often regarded as a technologically marginal state,” into one that is now “regarded as an innovator in government IT.”

The full article from Government Technology can be viewed online at

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