Monthly Archives: March, 2009

GSA's $5.5 billion stimulus plan


Update: The General Services Administration has posted the stimulus plan on its Recovery Act website. The 13-page plan can be accessed here. Original post: The General Services Administration just announced that it’s decided how it will spend the $5.5 billion in stimulus funds it received. Congress directed that $4.5 billion go toward converting federal buidlings to high-performance green facilities. Another $750 million is available for building and renovating federal buildings and courthouses, and $300 million must be directed to renovating and constructing land ports of entry. GSA said it’s selected projects based on the speed at which jobs can be…

Is Treasury avoiding the TARP watchdogs?


Elizabeth Warren, the chair of the congressional TARP oversight panel, thinks so. She told the Senate Finance committee this morning that Treasury refuses to articulate even its most basic goals for the TARP program: We do not seem to be a priority for the Treasury Department… What we’re asking for is not rocket science here. We’re not asking for something extraordinary… we’re asking for the much broader articulation of what the plan is, transparency in the goals and the execution and strategy… we need Treasury’s commitment. I’m doing some reporting on financial regulation this week, and Warren’s complaint is becoming a…

Nuts about social media at HHS


The Health and Human Services Department is tapping some of the same social media tools used to spread the word about salmonella-tainted peanuts to handle the budding pistachio crisis. Already, the Food and Drug Administration’s recall twitter feed, which helped to quickly spread information about the nearly 4,000 products recalled during the peanut crisis, is tweeting about recalled pistachio products. Other tools HHS used during the salmonella outbreak in peanuts could come into play as the department shares information about pistachios, Andrew Wilson, a Web manager for HHS’s Web Communications and New Media division, told Federal Times today.

GSA awards Alliant contracts to all bidders


At a teleconference today with reporters to discuss Friday’s Alliant contract award, General Services Administration officials sounded quite confident there would be no protests of the contract awards from disgruntled losers. “We feel confident that we’re on solid ground,” said Mary Powers-King, GSA’s director of governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs). It turns out, GSA has a good reason to be confident there won’t be a protest: no one lost. But GSA officials didn’t disclose that fact at today’s teleconference. Nor did it disclose that the pool of eligible vendors shrank from 62 to 59 due to mergers and acquisitions.

Feds Fighting Flooding in Fargo


For those of you following the rise (and hopefully rapid fall) of the Red River on the North Dakota-Minnesota border, the Fargo Forum has this story about how the federal government is using technology to do its part. The Forum’s Brittany Lawonn reports that for the first time unmanned Predator drones are being used to monitor rising flood waters. The drones, which are on loan from Customs and Border Protection, provide real-time images to first responders and weather experts, helping them predict changes in the river. Here is an excerpt from the piece: Greg Gust, a warning coordination meteorologist for…



Well, not exactly. But the Government Accountability Office has set up a hotline to track stimulus fraud, and the agency is asking everyone — feds, contractors and private citizens — to report waste and abuse. GAO is one of the agencies tasked with overseeing billions of dollars in stimulus spending, which would be a difficult task even if the agency had no other responsibilities. “The public can help to identify improper activities or weaknesses in programs that warrant scrutiny,” said Gene Dodaro, the acting comptroller general. Here’s the contact information for FraudNet, GAO’s new hotline: By phone: 1-800-424-5454 By fax:…

GSA's John Johnson to retire


With the award of the General Services Administration’s Alliant contract behind him, the head of the agency’s Integrated Technology Services Office says now is the right time to bow out. ITS commissioner John Johnson will retire on May 2, completing a 33 year government career, the last nine of which were spent at GSA. As ITS commissioner, he oversaw GSA’s multibillion suite of IT contracts. In a teleconference with reporters today, Johnson said a future in the private sector is likely, but that he isn’t sure where. Johnson had announced his retirement to his staff via email earlier in the morning. Johnson…

GSA Chooses 59 firms for Alliant


The General Services Administration has chosen 59 of the 62 bidders for its $50 billion Alliant information technology contract, the agency announced today. This could be the start of another round of protests for the already protest-plagued procurement. This time last year, a federal court upheld the protest of eight bidders that claimed GSA didn’t properly evaluate their bids. All eight of those protesters were awarded contracts this time around, but it’s not clear if the losing bidders will seek to protest this latest decision. The awardees are: 1. Abacus Technology Corporation 2. Accenture National Security Services, LLC 3. Advanced…

Lawmakers say stop outsourcing


More lawmakers are calling on the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget to stop public-private competitions for federal work, which are conducted under OMB Circular A-76. House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo. and Readiness Subcommittee chairman Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas, sent a pair of letters to OMB Director Peter Orszag and Defense Secretary Robert Gates on March 26. The letters urge them to stop using the circular and to conduct a review of competitive sourcing to ensure it’s the right thing for the government.  The two House Democrats believe that competitive sourcing has become “a mandate…

1 2 3 5