Minnesota’s New CIO Outlines His Priorities

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Via StateTech

On April 29, former St. Paul Chief Innovation Officer Tarek Tomes stepped into his new role as commissioner of Minnesota IT Services and state CIO, replacing Johanna Clyborne, who left the position in January.

After spending the bulk of his career in the private sector, Tomes transitioned to government in 2008, initially as assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology, which has since been reconfigured as Minnesota IT Services.”

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MNLARS Soon To Be Replaced By VTRS

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Via MPR News

“It’s goodbye MNLARS and hello VTRS. Pronounced VIT-russ, it stands for Vehicle Title and Registration System. No matter what you call it, it’s been expensive. Taxpayers have spent more than $100 million over the past decade on MNLARS, which ran into problems as soon as it was launched two years ago. And the transportation budget bill that lawmakers passed in last month’s special session spends another $53 million and raises fees to make MNLARS go away and replace it with an off-the-shelf software package.”

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FCC Rejects Investigation Of Frontier’s Business Practices in Minnesota

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Via Ars

“Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has rejected a request to have the FCC investigate Frontier Communications’ business practices in Minnesota, despite evidence that the company has failed to properly maintain its telecom network.

An investigation by the Minnesota Commerce Department already found that Frontier’s network has “frequent and lengthy” phone and Internet outages, that Frontier has failed to provide refunds or bill credits to customers even when outages lasted for months, that Frontier is guilty of frequent billing errors that caused customers to pay for services they didn’t order, and that it has failed to promptly provide telephone service to all customers who request it. When we wrote about the investigation in January, Frontier said it “strongly disagrees” with the findings but did not dispute any of the specific allegations.”

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Minnesota Considers Scrapping $100M MNLARS System

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Via MPR News

“Gov. Tim Walz Wednesday embraced a new report that recommends pulling the plug on the troubled Minnesota Licensing and Registration System. A blue-ribbon panel formed by the governor said that the system known as MNLARS should be switched over to a private vendor and off-the-shelf software at a cost of at least $20 million.”

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What Exactly Did Minnesota Bid for Amazon’s HQ2? We May Soon Know

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Via Twin Cities Business

“Minnesota’s bid to lure Amazon’s HQ2 project died in January when the state failed to make the e-commerce giant’s short list of 20 cities. But the battle to find out what was in the state’s bid package drags on. The specifics about Minnesota’s proposal have never been revealed.”

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Granicus Buys Software Firm SouthTech Systems

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Via GovTech

“Backed with private equity money, Granicus has acquired the veteran government software firm SouthTech Systems. Based in California, SouthTech has been in business since 1994. The company has several products, but most of them deal in some way with managing records — birth and death records, campaign ethics filings, agendas — and automating processes involving those records.”

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[UPDATED] Why Is DEED Trying To Put Minnesota’s Tech Entrepreneurs Into Debt?

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[UPDATED 10/30/18 10:30 CST] Two tech companies that have received MILE loans to date include: UR Turn ($50k) & Thrivors ($46k).

Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development aka DEED recently launched a new debt financing program targeting local early stage tech entrepreneurs called Minnesota Innovation Loans for Entrepreneurs (MILE).

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