Browsing: GSA

White House on fed websites: Keep it simple, stupid

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I’m at the General Services Administration’s Government Web and New Media Conference today, listening to administration officials talk about open government, social media, and how to best use technology to reach the public. And one point keeps coming up: When it comes to websites and other programs, keep it simple, stupid. OK, so White House CIO Vivek Kundra and GSA Administrator Martha Johnson didn’t use those words exactly. But their message was clear: The public is increasingly using iPhones and other mobile devices that have trouble with overly-complex webpages. And if the federal government wants to reach citizens through those avenues,…

What's next for GSA?

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Martha Johnson, administrator for the General Services Administration, spoke with reporters this afternoon at FOSE. She’s only been in the job for about two months and is learning where the agency should go. GSA is at a “crossroads,” she said, and can either stay the same or fight to grow. She thinks it should grow and improve communications and responsiveness with the needs of both agencies and companies who contract with GSA. What’s in our hands and what I’ve got some real sense of is the whole notion of upping our performance, simply cleaning up and performing better for our…

At GSA, a special kind of telework

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The General Services Administration’s new chief was sworn in Sunday night by telephone, an agency spokeswoman told FedLine today. Now that’s what I call teleworking! Acting administrator Stephen Leeds administered the oath to Martha Johnson over the phone  because of the snow that pummeled the D.C. area Friday and Saturday, the spokeswoman said. The storm forced the closure of D.C. federal offices yesterday and today, and in doing so also forced GSA to cancel Johnson’s swearing in ceremony and a town-hall meeting with employees planned for today. GSA rescheduled the ceremony and town hall for next Tuesday.

Tomorrow is D-Day for GSA Nominee

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The Senate is expected to vote on Pres. Obama’s choice to lead the General Services Administration tomorrow. Or at least invoke cloture, a procedure to end debate about whether Martha Johnson is qualified to run the government’s procurement and real estate agency. The Senate convenes at noon, and according to the calendar, the cloture vote  on Johnson’s nomination will occur after the chamber votes on the nomination of Patricia Smith to be solicitor for the Labor Department. If cloture is invoked, a final vote on Johnson’s nomination will follow. Johnson’s nomination has been delayed by Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo. Bond…

Hill Staff Director Named GSA Deputy

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Starting Feb. 2, Susan Brita will be the new deputy administrator of the General Services Administration, FedLine has learned. Brita is the staff director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. The subcommittee has oversight of GSA’s Public Building Service and federal real property management. She replaces Barney Brasseux, a GSA career veteran, who recently retired. This announcement fills one gap in the agency’s leadership team which has seen an unusual amount of turnover in recent weeks. Just before Christmas, Stephen Leeds took over the role of acting administrator from Paul…

Kempf is new GSA FAS deputy

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Steven Kempf is the new deputy commissioner for the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, FedLine has learned. Kempf, who most recently served as the assistant commissioner for the FAS Office of Acquisition Management, replaces Tyree Varnado, who recently retired. Kempf will continue to serve as assistant commissioner of FAS’s office of acquisition management until a replacement is named. Kempf joined GSA in 1992.  FAS sells more than $53 billion worth of goods and services to federal agencies each year.

A smoke-free outdoors?

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Rep. Eliot Engel is trying again to ban smoking near federal buildings. The New York Democrat unsuccessfully introduced a bill during the last Congress to ban smoking within 25 feet of any federal building’s entrances, exits, windows that can be opened and ventilation intakes. Engel reintroduced the bill Nov. 18 to correspond with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out smoking-cessation campaign. The Surgeon General reported in 2006 that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. One step we can take in limiting such exposure is to free the entrances of buildings of the clouds of…

GSA merges Chief Acquisition and Governmentwide Policy Offices

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The General Services Administration is consolidating its Office of Governmentwide Policy and Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer, the agency will announce later today. The move comes one day after the agency appointed Michael Robertson to lead both offices. Since the two offices share a common mission of developing procurement policies, merging them will better coordinate these efforts, improving the agency’s ability to manage taxpayer dollars, GSA said in a statement to Federal Times.

Senate stimulus: Fewer funds for feds

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A group of Republican and Democratic senators trimmed nearly $100 billion from the economic stimulus package over the last few days. Most economists say the cuts are a bad idea, because the smaller the stimulus bill, the less stimulative its effect on the economy. (Think of driving up an icy hill: If you’re not going fast enough, you slide back down.) Federal managers might not like the cuts, either: The revised Senate stimulus plan eliminates billions of dollars that were allocated for federal agencies. One of the biggest cuts will hurt the General Services Administration. The House stimulus bill gives…

Transition Watch: More Noontime Changes

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Change.gov will become WhiteHouse.gov just after noon tomorrow, according to Agence France-Presse. Many believe Change.gov to be emblematic of how President-elect Barack Obama will use the Web to advance his priorities of a more participatory and transparent democracy. Over the next few days other federal Web sites will also start to look a bit different as dozens of familiar names, like Michael Chertoff and Condoleezza Rice, are erased from government Web sites and replaced with the new administration officials, like Janet Napolitano or Hillary Clinton. The process is likely to be quick, said Casey Coleman, chief information officer for the…