Author Tom Spoth

Corporate giants with hearts of gold


Corporate Responsibility Magazine released today its list of the top 10 “best corporate citizens” in government contracting. The magazine took the top 100 contractors listed on and applied the same methodology it uses to produce its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. (The necessary information was available only for the 37 publicly traded companies on the list.) Firms are judged on their environmental impact, employee relations, corporate governance, financial responsibility, philanthropy, and human-rights policies. And, drum roll please … the best corporate citizen in government contracting for 2010 is … Hewlett-Packard!!! Well, good for them. Rounding out the top…

More on OMB's performance reviews


Shelley Metzenbaum, OMB’s associate director for performance and personnel management, issued a memo on performance management today that didn’t seem to say much beyond previously announced plans to meet with agencies on their high-priority goals and set up a website to track agencies’ performance. One interesting line, though, was this one: “Agencies should consider this year a transition year during which OMB and the [Performance Improvement Council] will move to a more dynamic performance planning, management, improvement, and reporting framework that is useful, streamlined and coherent.” This seems to indicate that OMB is going to establish some kind of performance-management…

OMB to halt 30 financial systems projects


The Office of Management and Budget is going to announce today that it’s halting all financial systems modernization projects across the government. That means 30 projects worth $20 billion are now effectively on hold until OMB can come up with a way to improve the procurement process in this area. The most well-known failure in this area is the Veterans Affairs Department’s CoreFLS project (since replaced by a new program called FLITE that hasn’t gone much better). The department has spent a total of about $300 million on this boondoggle over 10 years and has seen no tangible benefits. Jeff…

Federal agencies of yesteryear


NPR’s Planet Money blog has a cute little rundown of federal agencies that have changed their names in the past, prompted by the Minerals Management Service’s rebranding as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (try to say that acronym three times fast). This sort of thing intrigues me so I Googled around a bit and found a nice list on Wikipedia of defunct federal agencies. Anyone remember the Board of Tea Appeals (which apparently hung around until 1996, somehow?!)? How about the Board of Economic Warfare? The Federal Theatre Project? Oh, for the days when a fed…

It's official: Orszag's leaving


Office of Management and Budget chief Peter Orszag confirmed to the Associated Press that he’ll leave his post in July. While not unexpected, the timing could be problematic, as Orszag just this month issued two key memos ordering agencies to identify deep budget cuts. His successor, yet to be named, will have to hit the ground running as agencies file into OMB to justify their decisions.

New rule: contractors must give employees union info


Government contractors and subcontractors are now required to post signs that “inform their employees of their rights as employees under federal labor laws.” Acquisition workers will have to write the provision into every contract they write from now on. The rule went into effect yesterday, about a month after the Labor Department published it in the Federal Register. It’s based on a Jan. 30, 2009 executive order from President Obama. The president wrote at the time that his order was “designed to promote economy and efficiency in government procurement.  When the Federal Government contracts for goods or services, it has…

PSC still worried about defense insourcing


Stan Soloway and Alan Chvotkin over at the Professional Services Council expressed their displeasure with Defense Department insourcing efforts in a May letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Recent congressional attention to the issue hasn’t done much to assuage their concerns. In a conference call with reporters this morning to discuss the Senate and House versions of the 2011 defense authorization bill, Soloway and Chvotkin said PSC supports an amendment by Rep. Jim Langevin that would prohibit DoD from setting quotas for its insourcing efforts. However, two other amendments passed by the House seem to conflict with the Langevin amendment,…

Government performance data on the Web


I reported yesterday on the Office of Management and Budget’s plan to review agencies’ progress toward their high-priority performance goals and post that information on the Web. I spoke with Peter Grace at HUD this morning and he said the site will be called and he expects it to be live by July. Shelley Metzenbaum of OMB would only say yesterday that it would be up this summer or this fall, so perhaps July is the goal, but they’re hedging their bets on when it will actually go live. Right now, the URL exists but is password protected.

Robots! Cars! GSA!


What does GSA think it is, DARPA? I just came across a recent blog post from GSA CIO Casey Coleman, in which she muses on the possibility of driverless robocars populating our highways. “Where is my radio controlled driverless robocar?” Coleman wonders, stuck somewhere in the hellish snarl of the Beltway. If DoD can build a flying car, could robo-cars be far behind? And the more important question is, can we program our robot drivers to honk angrily and shout comical robotic obscenities when another robot driver cuts us off? I lived in Boston for several years and I know…