Monthly Archives: November, 2011

New OMB adviser in line to replace procurement chief

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Word around town is that Joseph Jordan, an associate administrator at the Small Business Administration, has been tapped to replace outgoing Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Dan Gordon. The Office of Management and Budget won’t confirm that Jordan is the nominee for Gordon’s job, which requires Senate confirmation. But Jordan has been named as a senior adviser to Jeff Zients, the federal Chief Performance Officer and OMB’s deputy director for management. Jordan will start advising Zients and his senior staff on policy and procurement matters this month. Jordan did not respond to requests for an interview. Being brought on as a senior…

89% of VA's IT projects delivered on time

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When the Veterans Affairs Department launched a program in 2009 to monitor the progress of its information technology projects, VA Chief Information Officer Roger Baker thought he had set the bar high. Baker challenged the IT staff to deliver 80 percent of all VA IT project milestones on schedule. At the time, less than 30 percent of IT projects were delivered on schedule, according to VA estimates. In less than two years, VA has exceeded Baker’s goal. Last fiscal year, 89 percent of IT project milestones were delivered on time, the agency said. The agency delivered 212 of 237 project…

GAO: Communication key for successful IT programs

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When it comes to successfully executing major information technology acquisitions, consistent and open dialogue between program officials and stakeholders is key, according to a review of several federal IT programs. The Government Accountability Office report identifies common factors shared by successful IT programs within government: – Program officials are actively engaged with stakeholders. – Program staff has the necessary knowledge and skills. – Senior department and agency executives support the programs. – End users and stakeholders are involved in the development of requirements. – End users participate in testing of system functionality prior to formal end user acceptance testing. – Government and contractor staff are stable…

U.S. Postal Service extends contract talks with two unions

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No surprise here, but the U.S. Postal Service and two of its unions failed to agree on new contracts by yesterday’s deadline and have agreed to keep talking at least through Dec. 7. Existing agreements with the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Postal Mail Handlers Union officially expired at midnight Sunday. “The parties continue  to discuss a host of important and complicated issues,” NPMHU officials said in a news release posted on the union’s web site. “The negotiations are at a very delicate stage, and of this writing, it still is impossible to tell whether an overall…

FCC launches cyber planning tool for small businesses

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A new online tool developed by the Federal Communications Commission allows small businesses to create a cybersecurity plan for free. The FCC Small Biz Cyber Planner is a three-step process and takes minutes to create. After providing your company’s name and location, you can compile guidance on several topics — including mobile devices, network security and email — to include in your custom plan. Once you select the topics to include, the site generates a custom report with a cybersecurity glossary and links to reference publications. For example, under guidance about network security, the plan advises companies to require security and…

Senate to debate cyber legislation in 2012

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., expects the Senate to vote on cybersecurity legislation during its first work period of 2012. In a Nov. 16 letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Reid said that bipartisan committees have been negotiating potential language in a cyber bill for the past six months, but those efforts haven’t produced results. Reid said if the working groups cannot agree on bipartisan legislation by early next year, he will welcome legislation produced “elsewhere” to be debated on the Senate floor. For now, the 2012 legislative session is scheduled to begin Jan. 23. Could that bill include…

New leaders for U.S. Postal Service board

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A little leadership shuffle is under way at the U.S. Postal Service’s Board of Governors, as Thurgood Marshall Jr., the current vice-chairman, was elected chairman at Tuesday’s meeting, according to a news release. Marshall is replacing Louis Giuliano, who has chaired the board since January 2010 and will remain a member. Taking Marshall’s slot as vice chairman is Mickey Barnett.  The two men assume their new roles at the next board meeting in December. Both were elected unanimously, a Postal Service spokesman said. Marshall is a Washington lawyer. Although he worked in the White House during the Clinton administration, he…

Bureau estimates iPad could save millions

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The Bureau of Land Management spends between $20.8 million and $33.3 million on computers for its employees. By replacing computers with Apple iPads, the bureau expects it would have to spend far less — between $8 million and $12 million, according to internal documents obtained by the website governmentattic.org. The documents were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. It isn’t clear if the bureau’s current hardware costs are annual or over its five year technology refresh period, when it periodically replaces technology. Transitioning to the iPad would require “very little maintenance” over its lifespan, the bureau said. Currently,…

Blowing the whistle–still not easy

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First, the good news; The percentage of federal employees claiming direct knowledge of waste or illegality in their agencies has dropped by more than one-third during the last two decades, according to a new report on whistleblowing. The bad news: Among those employees who reported alleged problems, there was an increase between 1992 and 2010 in the proportion who said they experienced at least a threat of reprisal for speaking out. The numbers come from a lengthy report released this week by the Merit Systems Protection Board. The report draws on a wealth of data from MSPB surveys of thousands of…

White House touting reduction in improper payments

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There’s some apparent good news coming from the White House this afternoon on the improper payment front, according to a news advisory. At 2:30 p.m., Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew and three other top administration figures are holding a conference call “to discuss the administration’s progress cutting wasteful improper payments by nearly $18 billion’’ the advisory says. FedLine had asked about this last week and was told the data was being finalized. Presumably these are figures for fiscal 2011 versus fiscal 2010. Not clear is whether the nearly $18 billion figure is a cut in absolute terms…

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