Browsing: OMB

Obama administration renewing focus on IT acquisition

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For anyone familiar with last fall’s disastrous rollout of the healthcare.gov website (and that presumably includes most of the adult population of the United States), it will come as no surprise to hear that the Obama administration is again working to get smarter delivery of information technology services. “We’ve learned a tremendous amount from the challenges the administration’s recently faced and have worked  diligently to address this past year,” Beth Cobert, a senior Office of Management and Budget official, said at a recent Association of Government Accountants gathering. “But we know that information technology is important to how the government…

Transparency board to hold open meeting

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It may say something about federal attitudes toward openness that the Government Accountability and Transparency Board typically meets in secret. But for the record, the board—launched by the Obama administration two years ago to tackle big-picture spending issues—will hold a public meeting next month. The purpose is to let members of the public weigh in with presentations “regarding accountability and transparency for federal expenditures made through contracts and grants,” according to a recent Federal Register notice. Among the questions on which the board wants input at the Jan. 22 meeting: “What questions are you trying to answer with federal spending…

TVA privatization proposal still a live wire

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President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget request may be moribund on Capitol Hill, but one hot-button proposal buried deep within it appears to be very much alive: Taking a close look at the option of selling off the Tennessee Valley Authority, the government-owned electric utility. The administration has launched a strategic review that’s delving into issues like “de-federalization,” the implications of a change in TVA ownership for economic development and how to deal with the agency’s assets, according to a rundown of “stakeholder outreach discussion items” provided to FedLine by the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, a union representing about one-fifth of TVA’s some…

Cobert's confirmation for OMB job applauded

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Beth Cobert’s arrival at the Office of Management and Budget is getting a particularly warm welcome from Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer. In a Twitter message this afternoon, VanRoekel hailed Cobert ‘s confirmation as OMB’s deputy director for management, noting that he can now go back to being “full-time US CIO!” Cobert, who comes from consulting firm McKinsey & Co., was sworn in today, five days after winning Senate confirmation. She replaces Jeff Zients, who stepped down at the end of April; on top of his day job, VanRoekel had been filling in as deputy management director since…

Shutdown over: Federal employees should report to work Thursday morning. Back pay coming soon.

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The 16-day partial government shutdown is officially over as President Obama has signed a stop-gap spending bill, Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell said in a message released early Thursday morning. “This evening, the President signed a continuing resolution that reopens the federal government and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance to all departments and agencies to resume operations in a prompt and orderly manner,” Burwell said.  “In the days ahead, we will work closely with departments and agencies to make the transition back to full operating status as smooth as possible. This has been a particularly challenging time…

Today's holiday just another furlough day for many feds

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Officially, today (i.e., Oct. 14, marking Columbus Day) remains on the books as a paid federal holiday. But because of the partial government shutdown, only a limited number of federal employees are scheduled to be paid for it. Even employees deemed “excepted” (or as many feds put it, “essential”) during the shutdown must take today as an unpaid furlough day unless required to report to work, according to Office of Personnel Management instructions (check out pp. 12 and 13). As OPM puts it in a helpful question-and-answer format: “Q: Will an ‘excepted’ employee who does not work on a holiday…

How would your agency handle a shutdown?

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The odds of a partial government shutdown starting Oct. 1 spiked with House Republicans’ decision today to push a 2014 continuing resolution that would also cut off funding for “Obamacare” implementation. What would your agency do? A starting point can be found at the Office of Management and Budget’s website. Back in 2011, (i.e., several crises ago), OMB collected links to the contingency plans for dozens of agencies on a single page and–perhaps presciently–never took them down. Here’s the link:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans. In a memo today, OMB Director Sylvia Burwell told agencies to update those plans, which determine–among many other issues–which…

Shelanski, Tangherlini nominations get the go-ahead from Senate committee

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The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee gave quick approval this afternoon to candidates for two long-vacant executive branch positions. On voice votes, the panel endorsed the nominations of Dan Tangherlini to head the General Services Administration and Howard Shelanski to lead the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget. Both nominations now go to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote, according to a news release. Tangherlini has been acting head of GSA since April of last year, but President Obama picked him to permanently fill the job only last month. The OIRA post…

Volcker pursuing new make-a-difference venture

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Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman and veteran of a couple of blue-ribbon commissions, is launching a nonpartisan initiative with the goals of rebuilding both government performance and public trust in government. “Trust rests on confidence and too often government, at all levels, in the eyes of its citizens, has been unable to respond effectively to the challenges of the day,” he said in a news release this week announcing creation of The Volcker Alliance. Heading the new organization is Shelley Metzenbaum, who recently departed the Office of Management and Budget, where she had worked since 2009 as associate director for…

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