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Preview: Maine Office of Information Technology News

Maine Office of Information Technology News

Maine Office of Information Technology News

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Narrowbanding of State of Maine Repeaters.

Tue, 12 May 2015 09:17:17 EDT

By Tom Driscoll

The State of Maine commenced switchover of its public safety radio repeaters from wideband operation to narrowband during the week of June 18, 2012.

Specific information about when and where repeaters will be switched to narrowband can be found online at">"> and will be updated as necessary.  The switchover is planned to move through sites from north to south, generally by State Police Zones (Department of Public Safety). 

The narrowband switchover is being conducted by Maine State Radio Services Operations technicians.   Technicians are also installing new mobile radios in State vehicles, and issuing new portable radios to State personnel as part of the MSCommNet modernization project, in synchronization with the switch to narrowband repeaters.  Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), as the lead coordinating agency for narrowbanding in Maine, is notifying other governmental agencies of the States narrowbanding moves.

Maine State Communications Network (MSCommNet) Radio Project Statewide Outreach Sessions Successful:

Tue, 12 May 2015 09:34:45 EDT

By Tom Driscoll

A series of outreach presentations were held around the State on March 26, 27, 28 and 30, to provide an update on the MSCommNet radio project.  The sessions, hosted by the Office of Information Technology (OIT), were held in Presque Isle, Orono, Augusta, and Portland, with over 100 attending in total.  See presentation slides from the March 2012 sessions at:">"> .  Throughout the sessions, the MSCommNet project office team noticed significantly positive interaction between the State team, local and county partners, as well as the State agency customers in attendance.  The recent outreach sessions come at time when the project is no longer conceptual, with the “audience” focused on details of the pending implementation phases of the project.  MSCommNet will be a modernized and unified land mobile radio network for State law enforcement, public safety, and public service agencies, with continued interoperability between the State and county, local, and other public safety partners.  The new system will utilize portions of the State's existing communications infrastructure with a modern foundation that addresses current and future technical needs, regulatory compliance, and business requirements.  Partial implementation begins in the summer of 2012, with final cut-over to the new MSCommNet system scheduled for the summer of 2013.

About the project.  MSCommNet is OIT's Maine State Communications Network project.  The State of Maine is developing and will commission a modernized and unified land mobile radio network for State law enforcement, public safety, and public service agencies. The new system will utilize portions of the State's existing communications infrastructure with a modern technical foundation that addresses current and future technical needs, regulatory compliance and business requirements.  The requirement for interoperability with county, local, and other public safety partners will be fulfilled by the new MSCommNet system.   Partial implementation commences in the summer of 2012;  and final cutover to the new MSCommNet system is scheduled for the summer of 2013.

Announcing DevCon XII

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 12:27:46 EST

By B. Victor Chakravarty, Enterprise Architect

The semi-annual Developers' Conference (DevCon) is the best collective brainstorming opportunity for application developers statewide. First launched in the spring-summer of 2006, it is now time for the twelfth conference of the series.

DevCon XII will be held on Thursday, January 26, 2012, from 8:15 AM to 12:15 PM, at the Central Maine Commerce Center Florian Room. The theme is Toolkit Renewal.  Please register">">register (accessible only from the Intranet) as soon as possible.

We have selected four topics that are most relevant at this time to our continued stewardship of State applications. We have recently acquired a tool to facilitate single sign-on of internal applications with the internal directory. (The tool is actually agnostic of whether the directory is internal or external. It is just that for now, we have chosen to roll it out only for the internal directory.) Then we will introduce how to roll out applications via the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. We have recently undertaken a review on how best to leverage our database investments, so that will be the third topic. And finally, we will talk about external file collaboration use cases and tools. All four topics were driven by actual stakeholder demands. We expect each of them to generate lots of discussion, and ultimately, useful outcomes that can start providing tangible benefits immediately.

As always, we have assembled the best presenters amongst us to lead the sessions. For I.T. developers and managers alike, this is a great opportunity to shape the evolution of their toolkit. And, of course, it also carries all the other usual benefits of a DevCon: four hours of training, no long-distance travel, peer-to-peer networking, brainstorming with OIT senior management, open microphone Q&A, etc.

We thank the entire State developer community, and that includes those from both the Executive and non-Executive branches, for their strong support to the previous eleven DevCons. In fact, more than once, participants have braved storms and blizzards to pack the venue to its full capacity. We look forward to the same kind of passionate support for the upcoming DevCon XII.

Maine Department of Corrections Launches a New Search Service

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 12:27:53 EST

By Christopher Oberg

The ‘Adult Prisoner & Probationer Search Service’ is a new online service that is now available from">"> and the Department of Corrections homepage">">homepage .

The Department of Corrections developed this online service as a free and convenient way for users to search for information about adult prisoners* and adult probationers** within the State Corrections system (approximately 9,300 clients). 

It is envisioned that this service will introduce many benefits  including, but not limited to, the following: a reduction in the number of general question calls to the department and to provide victims with a mechanism to keep tabs on the status of their abuser.

The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and search data is updated on a daily basis. 

This service was developed by the Department of Corrections and the Office of Information Technology (OIT), in collaboration with InforME (the State of Maine WEB portal vendor) and Abilis NE (a contracted vendor).

To access the Adult Prisoner & Probationer Search Service now, please use the following link:">"> .

Instructions on usage of the service can also be found under the sites ‘FAQ’ section or by navigating to the following link:">"> .

*Prisoner: An adult incarcerated at a Maine Department of Corrections facility. For the purposes of this website it also includes prisoners under the jurisdiction of the Maine Department of Corrections that are housed in other locations, to include: county jails, other states, and federal facilities. Locate Adult">">Adult Facilities in Maine.

**Probationer: An adult under probation supervision in the community. For the purposes of this website it also includes persons under other forms of community supervision such as parole and supervised community confinement. Learn about Adult">">Adult Community Corrections in Maine.

OIT - MRS New Building Underway

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 12:28:00 EST

By Eric Stout, IT Project Manager

Work has begun on the new administrative office building being constructed for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and Maine Revenue Services (MRS), with expected completion by December 1, 2012. It will be located in front of the Central Maine Commerce Center (CMCC) building, on Commerce Drive in Augusta. MRS will occupy the first and second floors, and OIT the third and fourth floors. While the majority of the Augusta-area OIT staff will move to the new building, a few groups will remain elsewhere; namely, the PC Build Center moving to Leighton Road, Radio Operations on Leighton Road, and Central Print at 290 State Street. Several of the Applications teams will move to the new building, but a few will stay embedded with the agencies they serve. Determination of which teams will stay embedded will occur over the coming months. 

The next phase of the project is to select a move coordination vendor. A contract award is expected by late January. The move coordination vendor will provide space design advice to help OIT and MRS get the best use out of the new office space, acquire and setup the furniture, and execute the move. 

This is a link to the architect's depiction of the new building:">"> .

OIT's 2011 All Hands Meeting

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 12:28:07 EST

An All Hands meeting was held on December 14, 2011 in the Florian Hall conference room at the Central Maine Commerce Center (CMCC) in Augusta.

The meeting provided an opportunity to share general information on topics such as our new data center and administrative office building; to review and reflect on our accomplishments and challenges; and, to hear comments from staff. Also discussed were the future plans and strategies to meet the technological challenges to come.

For more detailed information, to include materials presented and pictures, please visit:">"> (Accessible via State of Maine Intranet Only)

The 2011 OIT MERIT Awards

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 12:28:13 EST

Congratulations to the winners and all nominated for the annual State of Maine, Office of Information Technology's (OIT) Maine Excellence Recognition in Technology (MERIT) awards.
In between sessions of the December 14th All Hands meeting, the OIT Acting Chief Information Officer Greg McNeal announced the names of all staff nominated for a 2011 MERIT award. The well-attended event recognized the efforts and accomplishments of all OIT employees with the special honors going to the following:
Employee (Individual) of the Year: Scott McNeill
Manager of the Year: Craig Hitchings
Team of the Year: The OIT Billing Team
CIO McNeal recognized each winner with a public reading relating some of their accomplishments and presented each with a traditional plaque to commemorate their service.
Below is a listing of all employees nominated for a 2011 OIT MERIT award:
Manager of the Year Award: Craig Hitchings
Howard Clary
Martin Murphy

Individual / Employee of the Year Award: Scott McNeill

Ann Hutchings
Denise Brigham
Joy Lazore
Marshall Grover
Michael Pollis
Rachel Garippa - Two (2) Nominations
Richard Moreau
Ryan Corum
Sandy Botka
Sharon Pruett

Team of the Year Award: OIT Billing Tam

OIT Applications Law Enforcement Team
Advantage Team
Client Technologies Regional Teams
File Services & Application Hosting Team

For more information, please visit:">"> (Accessible via State of Maine Intranet Only)

Why Is My Machine So Slow?

Wed, 07 Mar 2012 12:28:19 EST

By, Bob Witham At the recent OIT All Hands meeting, the question was asked, “Why does my computer run so slow on Monday morning?” The short answer is that it may be the McAfee antivirus on-demand scan of your hard drive. But why on earth would we pick Monday morning to run this, and why does it cause the machine to slow to a crawl? The answer to that gets a little more involved, but I’ll give it a go. I need to give you a little background first. You all have probably heard about something called ePO at one time or another. If you are unfamiliar with what this is or why, let me try to explain. The antivirus scanning settings and tasks related to your desktop antivirus are centrally managed under ePO or ePolicy Orchestrator. Every server, desktop, and laptop has an ePO agent running on it (FrameworkService.exe) that allows that machine to communicate with the ePO server to get policy changes and scheduled task changes. The policies control what files and executables are scanned for viruses or excluded from scanning and what activities are permitted or blocked on a machine. The scheduled tasks control when the full disk scan (on-demand scan or ODS) runs, when the virus signature files (DAT files) are updated, and when product patches and version upgrades are applied. Client machines are managed within ePO under a group/subgroup structure similar to your computer’s file directory structure. Policies and tasks are generally inherited by the machine based on the group or subgroup that it belongs to. These policies and tasks can also be managed on the individual machine level, but with almost 13,000 machines, that can get out of hand real quick.  When we first started with ePO years ago, individual agencies managed their own policy settings and scanning settings. As a result, we ended up with hundreds of policy and task variations. As we upgraded our software over the years, these policies and task changes were carried forward. With the consolidation of OIT, our needs changed, and people moved around. People who were in one group were moved to another group. Others stayed in their old group. As machines were aged out and replaced with new machines, these would go into one group or another. The automatic assignment of machines to a group is usually based on the IP address of the machine. However, not all agencies used the IP address assignment, and instead managed based on machine name. The end result is an extremely confusing and almost unpredictable combination of policies and tasks that your machine may get. The main “default” task for on-demand scanning is scheduled to run on Wednesday night. However, if your machine is not turned on at the scheduled time, it will begin running within 10 to 30 minutes of when the machine is next turned on. Keep in mind however, that tasks can be modified based on the group, and some scheduled tasks are set to run at different times of the day or day of the week. Some scanning tasks are set to run at noon, others to run over the weekend. We even have some machines scheduled to run the on-demand scan every night. This is why it is difficult to say with certainty that the scheduled on-demand scan is what is causing your machine to run slow in the morning, but it is a likely candidate. Although we generally try to set the scanning policies so that the ODS will not use more that a certain percentage of CPU, there are of course, some policies that were never changed by the agency administrators. The default for McAfee is to use as much CPU as is available, and to release it when another task on the machine requires CPU. This is why you often see a hitch or slowdown when you perform an action that requires CPU. For example, I have the ODS running on my machine as I am typing this. While I am in the editor, I am using ver[...]

Alcohol Seller and Server Certification Course Available Online

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 14:36:43 EST

The Department of Public Safety and the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations (BABLO), in partnership with InforME, recently made its popular alcoholic beverages seller and server training course available online through

Users of the online service will review the course material at their own pace, and then take a fifty-question online examination. After successful completion, the user is able to print out a course completion certificate certifying that they have passed the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages Seller and Server training program. 

State law does not require training for sellers and servers of alcoholic beverages, but the State encourages businesses to ensure their employees are trained for public safety reasons. There is a fee of $18 for the online training and certification. After beginning the training course, users have fifteen days to complete the training and exam.

Topics covered in the course include identifying minors and visibly intoxicated individuals and explanations of Maine's laws related to serving and selling alcohol. The online service was developed by the Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations in cooperation with the Department of Public Safety, and InforME, the state's Web portal provider.

For more information on the Alcoholic Beverages Seller and Server Training program, visit">"> .

Announcing the Annual OIT MERIT Awards

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 14:37:14 EST

At the OIT staff meeting on December 14th, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) will announce and present the annual MERIT (Maine Excellence Recognition in Information Technology) awards to an individual, a manager and a team for 2011.  This is an opportunity for you to recognize a colleague or group of colleagues for excellence in their profession.

For more information, go to this link" title="">"> and follow the simple nomination instructions. Nominations will be reviewed and winners will be selected by a majority vote of the MERIT Awards Board that is comprised of 2010 recipients. Please contact Pam Isham, board chair, with any questions or for additional information.

All nominations must be submitted via email to by 5:00PM on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011.

Please take the time to participate in this valuable recognition process.

Eight Appointed to Maine Broadband Task Force

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 14:37:22 EST

The Maine State Planning Office announced the appointment of eight new business, education, health, and government leaders to its Broadband Capacity Building Task Force. The Task Force’s job is to recommend regulatory, investment, and best practice strategies for expanding the availability and use of high-speed internet in rural Maine.

The eight new members whose appointments were announced today are:

  • Edwina Ducker, Rural Health Manager for the Maine Office of Rural Health and Primary Care, an expert on health information technology;
  • Kenneth Fletcher, Director, Maine Office of Energy Independence and Security, whose background includes expertise in the paper and pulp industry;
  • Allyson Handley, President, University of Maine at Augusta, who leads distance learning activities for the University of Maine System;
  • George Hogan, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Wright Express, a person with an understanding of the broadband capacity needs for a global business headquartered in Maine;
  • Christopher Jerome, Senior Vice President of Risk Operations, Unum, who oversees claims management activities for all of Unum’s domestic operations;
  • Peter Mills, Executive Director, Maine Turnpike Authority, who has expertise in Maine’s finances and government;
  • Bob Montgomery-Rice, Executive Vice President, Bangor Savings Bank, a person with knowledge of the way broadband is changing the finance business; and
  • Ryan Pelletier, Director of Workforce Development, Northern Maine Development Commission, who works in the nexus between technical education and economic development in rural Maine.

The Broadband Capacity Building Task Force will examine current practices in the fields of health care, education, and economic development; identify obstacles to greater use; and recommend policies for change.

Governor Paul LePage endorsed the appointments and the Task Force effort, saying "The expansion of broadband capacity in the state will help accomplish one of our major initiatives; workforce attraction and economic development for Maine." The Commissioners of the departments of Economic and Community Development and Education, as well as the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate, have all endorsed the effort.

The Task Force is staffed by the Maine State Planning Office. It operates with funding support from the ConnectME Authority, recipient of a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Authority (NTIA) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The ConnectME Authority is a Maine government component unit established by the State of Maine legislature in 2006 to facilitate universal availability of broadband service and increase the adoption and use of that service among Maine individuals, businesses, and public organizations.

Amanda Rector State Economist Maine State Planning Office 38 State House Station Augusta, Maine 04330 (207) 624-6206


Free Online Real Estate Transfer Tax Declarations Filing Service Announced

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 14:37:50 EST

Titling companies and law offices preparing a property transfer tax declaration form in Maine can now do so more efficiently using the free Real Estate Transfer Tax Declarations online service. The new service, offered by Maine Revenue Services in partnership with InforME, is available through the state's official web site,"> href="">"> or at">"> .

The Real Estate Transfer Tax Declarations online service provides an easy-to-use web site that replaces the traditional paper form for filing the required paperwork for a real estate sale. In addition, the online service allows preparers to include additional information such as multiple buyers and sellers, which the paper form did not accommodate.

The online service is state-of-the-art in that it handles the filing and workflow for the entire property transfer tax declaration process electronically across multiple jurisdictions, including titling companies, county registries of deeds, Maine Revenue Services, and municipalities.

When a real estate transfer declaration is filed online, the online service notifies the corresponding county registry of deeds and the filing information is immediately available to them. Upon the final recording of the deed by the county, the filing is made available to Maine Revenue Services for final review and approval. Once approved, the appropriate municipality is notified and the property transfer filing is available to the municipality, which, in turn, provides local land and building assessment data.

“Over time, this service will streamline our workflow here at Maine Revenue Services, and will also create efficiencies for everyone involved in the process,” stated David Ledew, Director of the Property Tax Division.

This online service was developed by InforME, the State’s eGovernment portal, and enhances the growing suite of electronic services available through Maine Revenue Services and the State of Maine. More than 1,400 online government services are now available through www">www href=".">. href="



Health Information Technology Update

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 14:37:59 EST

By, Hazel Stevenson & Rodney Redstone

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Payment for Health Information Technology (HIT) went live on October 3rd, 2011, on schedule and with no issues. By 8:30AM, records for 10 hospitals were received from the NLR (National Level Repository); this begins the process of registration and attestation. A series of XML transactions go back and forth with the NLR, and the State's HIT specialists use the new online application at each stage of the process to update the Provider information. At the end of the process, qualified and approved Providers will receive their incentive payments for participating in the program to implement certified systems based on Adopting, Implementing, or Upgrading (AIU) HIT and achieving Meaningful Use (MU) compliance as established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is a component of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act which seeks to improve the delivery of health care in the United States through the use of Health Information Technology (HIT).

To date, over 300 Eligible Providers (EP) and Eligible Hospitals (EH) have registered for incentive payments. The state began issuing checks for these EP's and EH's, on November 9th. Providers and Hospitals can participate in this program for six years.

The user interface has been written using Oracle's Application Express (APEX). There is an Oracle backend database with 40+ tables. The XML is transmitted and received using CMS's File Exchange program and Momentum. The batch scripts are a combination Unix, PERL and Oracle stored procedures. PERL is used for parsing the XML content. APEX runs on Apache web services. The Office of Information Technology's (OIT) Application Development and Core Technology groups worked collaboratively to create this application in the new shared environment structure designed by Core Technology.

For more information on CMS' EHR Incentive Programs, please visit the CMS website at" title="">"> .

Maine Revised Statutes Available Online

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 14:38:10 EST

By, Suzanne Gresser, Revisor of Statutes

The Maine Legislature's Office of Information Systems and Office of the Revisor of Statutes are pleased to announce that the on-line version of the Maine Revised Statutes, reflecting changes made by the First Regular and First Special Sessions of the 125th Legislature is now available at">"> .

The on-line statutes are fully searchable, either by word, phrase, title or section. Each section, chapter and title of the Maine Revised Statutes may be downloaded in both RTF (Word) and PDF (Adobe) formats. Please note that this version of the Maine Revised Statutes is an unofficial version; we encourage you to check the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated for the official version.

Please notify the Office of the Revisor of Statutes ( if you find any errors or discrepancies in this on-line version of the Maine Revised Statutes.

Hurricane Irene Coverage

Fri, 02 Dec 2011 15:30:13 EST

Michael Smith, State GIS Manager

Personnel from the Maine Geographic Information Systems (MEGIS) staffed the GIS station in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to support mapping needs related to Hurricane Irene. MEGIS staff was present from 7AM through midnight on Sunday and provided assistance configuring the Google Earth Enterprise-based Common Operating Picture (COP) for utility data, the first use of this product in an actual emergency. MEGIS staff also monitored live-linked mapping data indicating river gauge levels, expected rainfall amounts, and power outages. The experience was also good for MEGIS staff developing further work for the COP with MEMA. Thankfully the storm passed far west of its originally predicted path and Maine was spared the brunt of the storm.