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'Yelp,' but make it for contractors

The National Association of State Procurement Officials announced Thursday that NASPO ValuePoint, the association’s cooperative purchasing platform for state- and local-government contracts, is going to test a new partnership with Procurated, a company that bills itself as a “Yelp for government,” by letting procurement officers rate and review vendors. State procurement officials and CIOs — those “brokers” of services — use NASPO ValuePoint to establish single-solicitation contracts with vendors, with the goal of reducing costs and administrative burdens. But Procurated founder David Yarkin told StateScoop that it can be tough to learn about potential contractors' past performances when references can be "cherry-picked." Benjamin Freed reports.

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Take your driver's exam without leaving the house

The Oregon Department of Transportation is planning to take a page from higher education’s playbook and begin offering video-proctored knowledge exams for its driving tests. Benjamin Kahn, the department’s innovation and planning manager, told StateScoop that capability would provide residents additional convenience and unburden DMV field offices. “We have a lot of young adults who come in multiple times to take that knowledge test and so we want to provide a way for them to do that from home, and that way we can serve more customers in our field offices for other types of transactions," he said. Colin Wood has details.

How autonomous-vehicle companies and cities have learned to work together

Functional and safe autonomous vehicles have been in development for a long time, but only in recent years have a small number of cities cautiously welcomed these self-driving vehicles onto their streets. As more pilot projects take place, cities need a better understanding the challenges and opportunities that autonomous vehicles present. Companies in the autonomous vehicle space, too, are learning how to identify places that will be most receptive to their technology. “There’s a really extensive selection process,” Ellie Casson, head of city policy and government affairs at Waymo, said last week at the Smart City Expo USA in Miami. Lindsay McKenzie has the story.

Google Public Sector has a new boss

Google Cloud has appointed Karen Dahut, previously the head of Booz Allen Hamilton's global defense business, as CEO of its government services arm Google Public Sector. In the new role, Dahut will be tasked with expanding Google's presence in the the federal, state and local government markets and growing its education sector portfolio. She replaces Will Grannis, who's returning to his role as Google Cloud's CTO after launching the public-sector division. Nihal Krishan reports for FedScoop.

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