Mercer man named Commissioner of Technology

June 20, 2004|ANN HARNEY

HARRODSBURG - The governor's commissioner of technology calls Mercer County home.

"I've always voted in Mercer County,'' says Mike Inman, who spent 25 years in the military, most of it spent away from here. "It was always our intention to come back to Kentucky."

Inman, the son of Marion and Nancy Inman of Mercer County, met the current governor not long before the Mercer County native retired from the Army.

He did a stint as the University of Kentucky commander of ROTC. It was there he met Ernie Fletcher, who then was the representative of Kentucky's sixth district in the U.S. House of Representatives.


"I've known Gov. Fletcher for several years," Inman said in a telephone interview last week. "He was supportive of ROTC." Inman was on a board Fletcher established to help him select nominees to the military academies.

"He was active in the process (of choosing candidates,)" he said. After retiring from the Army, Inman took a job in the federal division of Computer Associates in Virginia. He's new to the job in state government, having been there three weeks, although his official hiring date was May 19.

"He's one of these who has always pushed himself," his mother Nancy said Saturday. "He pushed himself to get an education and when he graduated, he felt like he ought to serve his country, so he joined the Army."

Of his current job, she said, "It looks like he wants to be in politics." Inman's wife, the former Linda Pierce, also is a Mercer County native.

Inman says the governor has a five-point approach to making technology an integral part of state government:

1. An enterprise approach to information technology, providing service from Inman's office, buying software for the whole state and implementing comprehensive solutions rather than handling small problems a little bit at a time.

2. Provide information technology as a service to and from state government.

3. Enterprise architecture. "It's important in a post-9-11 world that we can share data and make applications with flexibility built into them.''

4. Assist in the promotion of technology in our education system, recognize excellence and encourage young people to go into technology fields.

5. Promote Kentucky in the new economy by making people aware that we have people to fill high-tech jobs and keep those people here. That is to say, stop the brain drain, losing trained people to other states.

"It's about what we can do for the people of Kentucky," Inman said in summary.

State government was already using technology to assist people interacting with their government, and Inman made use of it. "I did my job application from Virginia," he said, and it is the goal of his office, soon to be called the Commonwealth's Office of Technology, to make state government workers' work easier and make state government more accessible to its citizens.

Working with state government, Inman says his office will assist the employees of various cabinets and departments accomplish their assigned functions more efficiently through the use of technology. While some of his staff may write applications and make hardware available, it will be the personnel of the various departments who will use the technology on a day-to-day basis.

The office's efforts are not aimed just at assisting state employees. "We want to bring government to the taxpayers," Inman said. Asked to define that, he said, "There are a lot of processes we do in state government, licenses, paying taxes, that's what we mean by it. You can renew your driver's license online," he said.

Inman said there are about 450 employees in the Office of Technology and the office also employs about 250 outside contractors. "We don't see that as any different than us doing the work," he said of the use the office makes of those contractors.

The office is part of the Cabinet of Finance and Administration headed by Secretary Robbie Rudolph. Inman says his office will not dominate technology offices in the many departments of state government, but rather are there to make the work easier and more flexible. Staff also will be available to assist state workers.

Technology personnel will staff a help desk. "People can call and describe the problem and we will walk them through it on the telephone. If we cannot solve it on the telephone, someone from this office will be dispatched to take care of it."

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