Monthly Archives: January, 2011

More on evaluation . . .

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Although the Obama administration wants more scrutiny of program performance, some agencies need help just getting started. That, anyway, seems to be the between-the-lines message of a new Government Accountability Office report. It looks at how a handful of agencies decide which programs to evaluate, with the inference that they could serve as a model for others that aren’t sure how to begin. Most use performance measures to track progress toward goals, but few appear to conduct in-depth evaluations to see how programs are actually working, the GAO told Sen. Daniel Akaka, the Hawaii Democrat who requested the review. The…

Spending stalemate hobbles evaluation initiative

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Back in July, the Office of Management and Budget announced that roughly $100 million had been allocated to 35 program evaluations and “evaluation capacity-building proposals” across the government. But allocated isn’t the same thing as appropriated. It turns out that agencies have yet to see a dime because Congress has yet to pass a fiscal 2011 budget. Instead, agencies are operating off a continuing resolution out that generally keeps spending frozen at 2010 levels. “We are very committed to evaluating what works and what doesn’t to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent effectively, but these evaluations have not been funded yet…

St. Elizabeth's Hospital project, complete with pictures and video

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[HTML1] The 176-acre west campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast Washington is an unlikely place for the Department of Homeland Security to call home — as it will by 2016. Established by Congress in 1855 as a home for the mentally ill, St. Elizabeths is still in operation on its east campus. But the expansive campus on the west is a national historic landmark populated by late 19th century and early 20th century red brick buildings. The main administrative building, which DHS will renovate for its own use, was designed in part by Thomas Walter, who designed the Capitol…

Bypass OPM, postal groups urge Obama

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“Since OPM refuses to exercise this authority, we urge you to use your authority as President to do so,” postal labor and management groups said in a letter to President Obama.

OPM and CIO Council to launch IT workforce survey

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The Office of Personnel Management is conducting yet another workforce-related survey, this time with the CIO Council. Under the administration’s IT reform plan, OPM is taking the lead on creating a specialized career path for program managers. The survey, in part, will aid OPM in the process and provide strategies “to recruit, retain, develop, and manage a fully trained and qualified IT workforce,” according to information posted on CIO.gov. From Jan. 18 to Feb. 25, all federal civilian information technology workers will have access to the 2011 IT Workforce Capability Assessment via CIO.gov.   Results will help agencies: – Identify the…

Postal Service to raise some rates

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The cost of mailing packages, postcards and other items will rise this April, the U.S. Postal Service announced today. The price of a postcard stamp, for example, will rise by a penny to 29 cents. Although the base price for sending a first-class letter will remain at 44 cents, the charge for additional ounces will increase from 17 to 20 cents, USPS spokesman Greg Frey said. The rate hikes would be the first of any kind since May 2009, Frey said, and are set to take effect April 17. Other products and services affected by the planned increase include parcels,…

Justice offical leaving for Washington-state based firm

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The Justice Department announced Thursday that assistant attorney general for national security David Kris is leaving his post March 4. As head of the National Security Division, Kris helped lead responses for various threats, including the failed bombing attempts in Times Square in May 2010 and on board an airliner Dec. 25, 2009.  “David has greatly strengthened NSD, helping it develop into a mature organization,” a Justice official said.” NSD has developed some of the strongest relationships ever for a DOJ entity with the FBI, the Intelligence Community, and the Defense Department — relationships that have made the government more effective.” Justice has not annouced an acting…

Homeland Security IG retiring

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Richard Skinner, inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, is calling it quits after a 42-year government career. In a letter to President Obama released late this afternoon, Skinner said he will retire effective March 1. “I believe the time has come for me to give my full-time attention to my family and personal endeavors,” he wrote. Skinner became the department’s inspector general in July 2005 after two years as its deputy IG. Since 1969, he has worked in IG positions across the government, including the Agriculture, Commerce and Justice Departments, according to a news release. His service at…

Federal law enforcement may increase prevention efforts

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As a bit of an addendum to the earlier story “Congress, agencies focus on security in wake of Arizona shootings” I wanted to add the words of Margaret Moore, the president of the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation and a former officer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and firearms. She said that while many law enforcement agencies are focused on responding to an incident, there is a growing emphasis on prevention. She pointed to the Transportation Security Administration as one organization that is attempting to recognize behavioral patterns and stop crimes before they happen. Moore said that law…

House to vote on Tucson shooting resolution

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The House of Representatives is planning to vote on a resolution calling the shooting a “horrific attack” and “tragic” and detailing each of the victims. The Tucson shooting resolution (posted on Politico as a PDF) lists who was attacked, applauds the citizens who took action to stop the shooter and wishes for the quick recovery of all the wounded. Whereas Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old daughter of John and Roxanna Green, was born on September 11, 2001, and was a third grader with an avid interest in government who was recently elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary…