To: Cabinet Secretaries
From: Leslie A. Kirwan, Secretary, Executive Office for Administration and Finance
Re: Executive Department Websites

Download memo rtf format of portal_memo.rtf

It has been brought to my attention that some agencies, programs and bureaus are in the midst of redesigning existing websites or planning new ones. Some of these websites are being hosted externally, and/or are making use of nongovernmental web addresses (i.e., .org, .com, etc.).

On April 26, members of your senior staffs attended a presentation given jointly by the Governor's Office and the Information Technology Division. The presentation was about Mass.Gov and this administration's vision for leveraging it to achieve a "single face of government," improve service to citizens and increase operational efficiency. In that presentation, we outlined our intention to complete the consolidation of all individual Executive Department agency websites into 8 secretariat "sub-portals" on Mass.Gov. We also stated that from that point onward, secretariats and their agencies should not redesign existing sites or develop new websites without seeking approval from ITD.

If your secretariat or agency is contemplating redesign of an existing website, or development of a new one, outside of the Mass.Gov framework, you must seek permission from the Commonwealth's Deputy CIO and be able to articulate a very strong business reason for going outside of that framework. I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that regardless of where your website resides, who developed it, or who maintains it, if it is developed and maintained primarily using state or federal funding or resources, your site must still comply with all applicable ITD standards, including the IT Acquisition Policy and the Commonwealth's Web Accessibility Standards.

In addition, although there are some state websites that have .com, .net or .org addresses, there are few, if any, legitimate business reasons for government-sponsored websites performing government functions, to use anything but an official domain name. Any new site must, without exception, use either a mass.gov domain or (for websites and applications not hosted on Mass.Gov) a subdomain of 'state.ma.us.' (If you have questions about this requirement, ITD can assist you.)

I ask that cabinet heads remind agency heads of this mandate and these requirements. Likewise, I ask that agency heads immediately inform their secretariats of any website redesign/development plans and put these plans on hold until the secretariat can determine if the project has a legitimate business reason for going forward as a standalone site. The secretariat should then seek an official waiver from Bethann Pepoli, Deputy CIO. Bethann can be reached at 617-626-4549. Waivers will not be granted directly to agencies; they must be sought through your Secretariat.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Information provided by the Information Technology Division, Mass.Gov Office. Last reviewed: June 10, 2009.