HARTFORD, CT  —  In the last six months employees who work for the state of Connecticut have held 380,000 online meetings, according to Mark Raymond,  the state’s chief information officer. 

Raymond said it’s all part of Gov. Ned Lamont’s effort to build a new information technology organization within the state government. It’s part of coordinating the state’s information technology resources and establishing an organization capable of delivering solutions to support state agencies and the public. 

The pandemic may have helped Lamont speed up his vision for a more remote workforce that relies less on expensive office space to get its job done.

Most of the state workforce is still remote at the moment. 

“We still have COVID in the community. We still have a lot of people who have not been vaccinated,” Josh Geballe, commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services and the state’s chief operating officer, said. 

He said Lamont has urged all office employees to use caution and continue to telecommute when they can “and we’re following that advice within the state.” 

“We’ve been extremely productive with a lot of telecommuting over the last year to help mitigate contact and reduce risk for our employees and the general community,” Geballe said. 

Lamont’s desire to streamline state government and improve its interaction with the public has continued throughout the pandemic. 

“From day one, our administration promised to streamline government services and make interacting with the residents of Connecticut much easier,” Lamont said. “Our state employees have accomplished amazing things with technology throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and this optimization process provides the resources and support to continue our progress.”

Raymond said they need to “adjust in the moment so the technology is consistent and trusted.”

He said when they announced online drivers’ license renewal at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles the public thought it was a scam. 

He said it’s because it’s something state government hasn’t done well in the past. 

“The more that we put online and serve the people who want to work with us that way that’s a person we’re taking out of line in any one of our different locations,” Raymond said. 

He said by streamlining state services on the backend they will be better able to serve the public on the front end, by adding things like DMV license renewals online. 

“This optimization is all a part of our broader efforts to modernize state government to better serve our residents,” Geballe said. “To achieve our goal of providing services efficiently, the state needs to up out game in how we use technology. This change starts from the inside out, and we’re excited to continue this journey to improve the government experience for all of our residents.”