Monthly Archives: June, 2011

Counternarcotics contracts lack oversight

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Poor oversight of federal counternarcotics contracts calls to question how billions of tax dollars were spent, a congressional report shows. Neither the State or Defense departments, which award most counternarcotics contracts, have adequate systems to track and evaluate contract data, the June 7 report states. The report was prepared for Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the Senate subcommittee on contracting oversight, after a May 2010 hearing revealed neither the State nor Defense departments could provide information about the contracts awarded for fighting drug production in eight countries south of the U.S. border. “Without adequate oversight and management we are wasting…

OPM establishes new IT career paths

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The Office of Personnel Management has established a formal career path for information technology program managers and IT project managers, according to a recent memo. In a memo last month, OPM encouragesd agencies to use the new title as soon as possible “to recruit, select and develop a cadre of high-performing IT program managers,” the memo said. Agencies have a year to align their standards with those provided by OPM. Under the administration’s IT reform plan, OPM was charged with designing a career path by this month. According to OPM’s definitions, a program manager is responsible for managing one or…

ONC to offer cash prizes for health IT ideas

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The federal office overseeing the nation’s transition to electronic health records plans to award $5 million in prizes to spur innovation in health IT. A new program launched by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will award $5 million in prizes to spur innovation in health IT through challenges. Investing in Innovations or (i2) The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will introduce up to 15 prize competitions  each year until March 2013, according to ONC. For example, software developers could be asked to build new tools allowing for health care providers and…

NOAA selects Google for email

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The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration is now the third government entity looking to Google for a new cloud email system, Google announced Thursday. By October, NOAA plans to move 25,000 employee and contractor email accounts to Google Apps for Government. Users will have access to video chat, real-time document collaboration and support for various mobile devices, Dave Standish, Google’s federal civilian account manager wrote in a blog post. The General Services Administration is completing its migration of 17,000 email users to Google Apps for Government, which GSA expects will garner $15 million in savings over 5 years. Lawrence Berkeley National Labs selected …

Agencies continue to roll out telework policies – are you eligible?

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Federal agencies have until the end of June 7 (close of business today) to notify you about whether you qualify for telework. This is one of the deadlines that Congress mandated when it passed the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 in December. So I am calling on all feds to answer – do you know if you can telework? Have you been told by your boss if you are able to work from home instead of at your assigned workstation? According to a report released June 7 by the Telework Exchange, 84 percent of telework managing offices say they have…

Postal Service app downloads cross the million mark

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Contrary to what you might sometimes think, a lot of Americans are still using the U.S. Postal Service, which today announced more than 1 million downloads of its free mobile application, or “app,” to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad customers. “We’re expanding access to our products and services,” Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a news release. “We know simpler is better—a million mobile customers can’t be wrong.” Among other services, the app allows users to look up ZIP codes, find nearby post offices and track packages. It debuted in December 2009 and consistently ranks among the top ten free…

Legislators support Prez disclosure plan

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A group of House Democrats sent the President their written support of a draft executive order that would require contractors to disclose what they spend on lobbying and political campaigns. “Absent public disclosure, there will certainly be some contractors who would seek to influence the awarding of contracts through unreported political contributions,” says the letter, dated June 2 and signed by 25 members. “By requiring contractors to disclose such contributions, you will help to prevent the temptation to engage in inappropriate and illegal behavior.” Another group of primarily Republican senators have sent letters and issued statements in opposition of the proposed order, leaked in April. They say…

Feds can be funny too

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Do you ever look around the office and ask yourself, “who is the funniest employee here?” You don’t? Well, if you did, you can now head over to the Arlington Cinema n’ Drafthouse in Virginia to scope out the semifinals and finals for the “Funniest Fed” competition, where federal employees (no contractors allowed) compete to see who will be crowned the funniest. The semifinals are June 8 and the finals are June 24th. And 20 percent of ticket sales will be going to support the Fisher House Foundation, which supports the family of f servicemen and servicewoman with housing at…