Browsing: Regulation

When late isn't really late


On Nov. 27, 2012, at 3:38 p.m., an employee at Insight Systems Corp., which was bidding on a health services contract, submitted a revised quote to two employees inside the U.S. Agency for International Development. The deadline for doing so was 5 p.m. The message reached the first of three agency-controlled servers at 3:41 p.m., but then it got stuck. And it wasn’t until 5:18 p.m. that the email reached the first USAID employee, while the second employee didn’t receive the message until 5:57 p.m. Around the same time, an employee at another company, CenterScope, which was submitting its own…

White House launches dashboard on infrastructure projects


Another day, another dashboard. One of the Obama administration’s hallmarks has been its fondness for such online tracking tools and a new one debuted this week to follow the status of major highway, housing and other “high priority infrastructure projects.” The site allows visitors to see where such projects stand in regard to federal permitting and environmental reviews. It follows a call from Obama this summer for agencies to handle those reviews more efficiently in the interest of putting people back to work. The site currently list 14 projects, ranging from a New York bridge replacement to the removal of…

Feds, industry talk cyber, healthcare and procurement


I’ve heard several remedies in the past few days for curing government’s acquisition woes. The latest: turn the tables and create an industry scorecard for government’s past performance on acquisitions. At least that’s what one fed proposed during the Executive Leadership Council CXO Roundtable event on Tuesday. The candid discussion among nearly 500 feds and industry covered healthcare, cybersecurity and consolidation issues facing government. Here are some of the results from a poll conducted at the event: – 53 percent think the implementation of meaningful use requirements (financial incentives and rewards for meaningful use of certified electronic health records) will…

Overhauled MMS slaps $5.2 million fine on BP


The revamped Minerals Management Service is wasting no time showing the oil and natural gas industry that a new day has dawned. The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — created last month in the wake of April’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — assessed a $5.2 million civil penalty on BP America for submitting “false, inaccurate and misleading reports” about energy production on Southern Ute Indian Tribal lands in southwestern Colorado, bureau director Michael Bromwich said today. BP reported incorrect royalty rates and prices to the department and also attributed oil and gas…

Did porn addiction cause the financial crisis?


Nero fiddled as Rome burned; SEC staffers watched porn as the economy crashed. A new report from the agency’s inspector general revealed a startling proclivity for sexually graphic materials among certain SEC staffers. The SEC’s inspector general conducted 33 “probes” — yes, that’s the word the Associated Press chose to use, and yes, I am twelve years old — of SEC officials, including 17 “at a senior level.” One senior attorney spent up to eight hours a day viewing and downloading pornography on the job, burning files to CDs and DVDs that he kept around his office. An accountant was…

Cass Sunstein on the limits of open government


Cass Sunstein, the Obama administration’s “regulatory czar,” gave a speech at the Brookings Institution this afternoon. Regular readers are probably familiar with most of its content — the open government directive, OMB’s dashboards for transparency and  IT projects. But Sunstein made a couple of interesting points on the limits of open government initiatives.

Defense finalizes interagency contracting rules


Earlier, I mentioned that the Government Printing Office continued to churn out key publications that enable the business of government, such as the Federal Register, despite the snow closures in the D.C. area. Thanks to the dedicated GPO workers who braved poor roads and spotty public transportation service, Defense procurement officials — and the civilian agencies they buy from — have clear and final guidance on how to carry out interagency contracting deals. Today’s Federal Register includes the final version of an interim rule published in July. The rule, which was mandated by the 2008 Defense authorization bill, allows DoD…

At GPO, the presses go, even in snow


With D.C. offices in their fourth day of closures (check back later to see if it will be a five-day sweep), the business of government marches on. And that includes publications from the Government Printing Office, many of which are needed to implement new policies and regulations. Although most D.C. federal offices were closed this week, GPO reports more than 200 of its workers “braved the elements to print important materials for the White House and Congress.” Among the key publications they ensured went out on time, the Economic Report of the President, the Congressional Record and the Federal Register,…

Past Performance Proposal


The folks who draw up the Federal Acquisition Regulation have issued their proposal to enact a section of the 2009 Defense authorization meant to ensure a contractor’s poor past performance is not overlooked during the contract award process. The proposed rule published in today’s Federal Register creates a new database called the “Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System,” or FAPIIS for short. Contracting officers will be required to use this centralized database when making contract and task order awards. The timing of the proposal couldn’t be better. Last month, acquisition officials answered some tough questions from Congress about how…

OMB to release procurement policies today!


The Office of Management and Budget will release three policy memos today that promise to reform how government uses contractors. One memo directs agencies on how to manage the multi-sector workforce. This memo states that agencies don’t have a handle on how contractor employees are used in their offices. It orders agencies to: Coordinate their program, human capital, acquisition and finance offices to strategically plan for outsourcing. Conduct a pilot program to test multi-sector workforce management plans Develop guidelines to insource inherently governmental functions, work that closely supports those functions and work that could be more cheaply performed by federal…

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