Browsing: HUD

Shutdown Watch-Day 14: Headed down to the wire (again)

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Good Morning! Today is a federal holiday, but that doesn’t mean much to hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees as the partial government shutdown enters its third week. According to a message from one agency leader, the Office of Personnel Management has said this is an unpaid furlough day both for non-excepted and excepted employees unless they are required to report to “perform excepted functions.” And about ending that shutdown . . . Sunday produced lots of saber-rattling and zero tangible evidence that a deal is in sight, either on reopening the government or raising the $16.7 trillion debt…

Association of Government Accountants honors agency reporting

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Twenty agencies big and small were recently noted for top-notch financial and performance reporting by the Association of Government Accountants. The “Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting” (CEAR)  singles out “high-quality Performance and Accountability Reports (PARs) and Annual Financial Reports (AFRs) that effectively illustrate and assess financial and program performance, accomplishments and challenges, cost and accountability,” the accountants association said in a news release. The association also spotlights the teams of dedicated federal professionals who (often unsung) put the reports together. “Given the fiscal status of the United States government and the public’s perceptions about government fiscal accountability and transparency,…

HUD managers: PLEASE don't toss those questionnaires!

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Many are the ways in which the government loses money to contractors, but by failing to answer a survey? That’s essentially what happened at the Housing and Urban Development Department, which cost taxpayers more than $267,000 because some of its managers didn’t bother filling out customer satisfaction questionnaires from tech giant Hewlett-Packard. Here’s the story, according to the department’s inspector general: Under the terms of a 2005 information technology contract, HP has to ask managers in HUD’s Office of the Chief Information Officer every six months how happy they are with the company’s work. If the survey response rate falls below 50 percent, Hewlett-Packard…

New report shows challenges to White House IT reforms

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On Nov. 19, the Obama administration proclaimed a new path for government information technology procurement. But an overview of one agency’s travails suggests that a steep climb lies ahead. The agency is the Housing and Urban Development Department; the newly released Government Accountability Office review finds that HUD officials had a hard time just coming up with a congressionally mandated plan to lay out its IT buying strategy. That document is required by a spending bill approved last December. Under its terms, HUD can’t obligate more than 25 percent of available money for IT modernization until the House and Senate…

Government performance data on the Web

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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 USAperformance.gov 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 USAperformance.gov URL exists but is password protected.

Transition Watch: Donovan gets deputy at HUD

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The new sheriff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, now has a deputy. The White House announced yesterday it nominated Ron Sims for the post. Sims is the county executive of King County, Washington, which includes Seattle. As deputy, he will manage HUD’s day-to-day operations. HUD has a $39 billion operating budget and approximately 8,500 employees. Donovan called Sims “the perfect deputy secretary candidate” saying: His experience at the helm of a large urban government provides a critical perspective and his collaborative approach to problem-solving has prepared him to effectively lead HUD’s operations as the agency…

Senate approves five Obama officials

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Barack Obama’s Cabinet is filling up. Last night the Senate confirmed: Shaun Donovan to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Ray LaHood to be Secretary of Transportation. In other confirmation news: Susan Rice, Obama’s choice for U.N. ambassador, was approved. Nancy Sutley was confirmed as chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. And finally, Lisa Jackson was given the green light to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, after Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., lifted his objection to a vote by unanimous consent.