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Archive for April 2010

DorobekINSIDER on the circuit: Jane Norris; NASA’s Diaz; NASA’s Kemp; former GSAer Bill Piatt; Paul Strasser; and baby tweets

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Catching up on changes throughout the community…

* Federal News Radio’s Jane Norris to join Deloitte

Jane Norris

How does one post about news within my own organization? Radio/TV blog DCRTV reported it first, but… Federal News Radio’s Jane Norris, who has been the morning drive anchor for several years — first with Mike Causey and now with Tom Temin — is leaving the station. Norris will be the federal PR guru for Deloitte as that company continues to grow and expand, particularly in the federal market.

The note to staff from Federal News Radio program director Lisa Wolfe:

Please join me in wishing Jane Norris great success as she departs Federal News Radio and joins the global consulting firm, Deloitte.

Jane’s new role as Public Relations Manager, Deloitte Federal Sector, is an impressive position and one that requires an insider’s knowledge of the federal space.

Jane started with Federal News Radio in August of 2006 and helped us launch the first iteration of our live morning drive show, along with Mike Causey. Since then, Jane has been instrumental in developing the type of news and information targeted to our federal executive audience.

Jane has been an excellent ambassador for the station on the air and behind the scenes and she leaves some very big shoes to fill.

So what next? How is Federal News Radio filling those shoes?

The Deciders have been working on that and, frankly, I don’t it has been all figured out yet. I know there have been a lot of discussions. (Collaboration kudos: Wolfe took a page from the collaboration playbook and asked the entire Federal News Radio team for their ideas. And it was interesting because the buzz around the WFED water cooler was almost complete shock that somebody asked. ‘What do you think she wants us to say?’ was the type of questions people asked. People aren’t always asked. Those kinds of things doesn’t always happen within organizations — particularly media organizations.)

As we say in radio… stay tuned.

* Diaz named NASA’s deputy CIO

NASA CIO Linda Cureton confirmed it on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief, but… it is now officially official — Deborah Diaz has been named the NASA deputy chief information officer.

From the release:

NASA Chief Information Officer Linda Cureton has announced the appointment of Deborah Diaz as the agency’s new deputy chief information officer. Diaz will be a key member of the office that provides information technology services to all staff.

Cureton said, “I’m delighted that we are filling this position with a seasoned, hands-on technical leader who can immediately and seamlessly assist with implementing strategic changes and rebuilding the Office of the CIO.”

Diaz joined the CIO’s office in December as associate chief information officer for architecture and infrastructure and director of the Information Technology Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P), a new initiative to consolidate the agency’s information technology and data services.

Previously, Diaz was the chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, where she developed and implemented $1 billion worth of scientific programs and IT infrastructure. She also served as the senior advisor on IT interoperability and wireless technologies. As deputy CIO at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, she helped transform electronic commerce and managed complex IT initiatives to modernize business processes and data exchange systems.

* Kemp named NASA chief technology officer

Cureton also confirmed word from Nick Hoover at InformationWeek that Chris Kemp, who had been the NASA Ames CIO, has been named the NASA chief technology officer.

Kemp has been spearheading much of NASA’s cloud initiative, including its Nebula initiative.

Selfishly, we hope Kemp will continue his blog in the new post.

* Former GSA CIO Bill Piatt leave the International Finance Center

Bill Piatt, who was the CIO at the International Finance Center, is leaving that post as of May 1.

There has been a major restructuring ongoing at the World Bank where IT is being consolidating into a central unit. So Piatt has decided to move on.

We’ll be watching for Piatt’s next adventure.

* Strasser exits Pragmatics, joins Dynamics Research

Paul Strasser, the former chief operating officer at Pragmatics, has joined Dynamics Research Corp. as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development.

From the release:

Dynamics Research Corporation, a leading provider of innovative management consulting, engineering, and technology solutions to federal and state governments, today announced that Paul Strasser has joined DRC as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development. In this newly formed position Strasser will be responsible for developing new business growth strategies that will further expand DRC’s presence with federal government customers, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, civilian and intelligence agencies. Strasser will report to Jim Regan, DRC’s president and chief executive officer.

“I am very pleased and excited to have Paul join DRC’s senior management team in a critical leadership role focused on accelerating growth in our target federal markets. Paul’s impressive track record of success in developing new business fits well with DRC’s extensive portfolio of flexible contract vehicles and proven solutions. It’s a winning combination,” said Regan.

Strasser has more than 28 years of industry experience in senior management positions focused on developing technology services business with Federal Government customers. Most recently he served as Chief Operating Officer for Pragmatics, Inc. During his tenure of leadership, Pragmatics experienced five-fold organic growth from $31 million in FY 2004 to approximately $145 million, in FY 2010.

Finally, the baby boom…

Last Thursday, GovDelivery’s Scott Burns became a father — for the second and third time. Burns and his wife had twins last Thursday — and they are enjoying a life without sleep.

Meanwhile, GovLoop’s Andrew Krzmarzick and his wife had a baby a few weeks ago — and yes, Issac has a Twitter feed. (No word yet if he is on GovLoop.)

Not to be outdone, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Steve Radick’s yet-to-be-born baby has a Twitter feed@babyradick.

Written by cdorobek

April 28, 2010 at 4:16 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA’s Johnson’s memo to staff re Turco as the new head of governmentwide policy

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We told you earlier that GSA administrator Martha Johnson named Kathleen Turco, GSA’s current chief financial officer, to lead the agency’s Office of Governmentwide Policy.

Here is the memo Johnson sent to employees today:

MEMORANDUM FOR ALL EMPLOYEES

FROM: Martha Johnson
Administrator

GSA's Kathleen Turco

SUBJECT: New Associate Administrator for the Office of Governmentwide Policy

As we continue to make important leadership transitions to better leverage GSA’s position, I am happy to announce that I have asked Kathleen Turco to serve as the Associate Administrator for the Office of Governmentwide Policy effective May 3, 2010.

For eight years as GSA’s Chief Financial Officer, Kathleen has served the agency as principal advisor on federal financial management, ensuring compliance with financial policies governing the $17 billion in financial activity for federal buildings, acquisition management, citizen services, and governmentwide policy. As head of OGP, Kathleen will lead the development and evaluation of governmentwide policies for management and internal operations of the federal government.

I will be working closely with agency leadership to find a new CFO for GSA that will continue the legacy of fiscal integrity that Kathleen leaves behind. During this transition I have asked Micah Cheatham, Director of Budget in OCFO, to serve as Acting Chief Financial Officer.

Additionally, I will continue to work with leadership and the White House to appoint a new Chief Acquisition Officer and a new White House Liaison for the agency as Michael Robertson transitions into his new role as Chief of Staff. In the interim, I have asked Michael to continue serving in these capacities.

Please join me in welcoming Kathleen to her new position and in thanking Micah for stepping up to lead as we make the transition.

Sincerely,

Martha

Written by cdorobek

April 26, 2010 at 4:27 PM

Posted in GSA, Policy

DorobekINSIDER: Turco to lead GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy

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GSA Administrator Martha Johnson continues to get her leadership team in place — today, Johnson announced that Kathleen Turco, GSA’s current chief financial officer, will lead GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy.

GSA has issued a statement from Johnson:

Kathleen Turco has been a responsible, effective Chief Financial Officer for GSA for the past eight years,” said Martha Johnson, Administrator of General Services. “She knows the importance of providing exceptional services to the federal government at best value to the taxpayer and will use this experience well in leading the Office of Governmentwide Policy as we continue to develop and implement management and internal operations policies across government.

Turco will start on May 3, the same day that Michael Robertson will take over as GSA’s chief of staff.

Micah Cheatham, GSA Budget Director, will take over as GSA’s acting CFO, according to Sahar Wali, GSA’s deputy associate administrator for communications and marketing.

Robertson will continue to serve as the chief acquisition officer and White House liason until replacements are found, Wali said.

Insiders tell the DorobekINSIDER that Turco is very excited about the opportunities with GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy. OGP has been widely seen as directionless for awhile, and Turco has told friends that she is excited about working on important policy issues that can help government operate better.

Turco has received kudos for her work as GSA’s chief financial officer, including the recently issued “citizen report,” which explains GSA’s budget. Turco joined Federal News Radio’s Tom Temin from IRMCO earlier this month. Hear that conversation here.

The Office of Governmentwide Policy was created in December 1995 to consolidate its policy functions into a single organization. “OGP’s policymaking authority covers the areas of personal and real property, travel and transportation, information technology, regulatory information and use of federal advisory committees. OGP’s strategic direction is to ensure that governmentwide policies encourage agencies to develop and utilize the best, most cost effective management practices for the conduct of their specific programs,” the OGP web site says.

Meanwhile, here is Turco’s bio:

GSA's Kathleen Turco

Kathleen M. Turco – Chief Financial Officer

Kathleen M. Turco was appointed the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) on August 5, 2002.

In her capacity as the agency’s CFO, she provides enterprise-wide leadership for strategic planning, financial and budgetary analysis, performance budgeting, portfolio management, systems life cycle management, business case methodology and internal control processes and procedures. She provides the executive leadership and direction in administering the GSA’s Performance Management Process including the agencywide strategic planning, performance budgeting, financial management, and the core financial management system. She serves as principal advisor to the GSA Administrator on federal financial management, ensuring compliance with financial policies governing the $17 billion in financial activity for federal buildings, acquisition management, citizen services and governmentwide policy.

The GSA Office of the CFO (OCFO) is an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designated Financial Management Line of Business (FMLoB) Shared Services Provider (SSP). OCFO offers “corporate” shared financial management services to GSA and more than 50 external customers by providing: high quality financial management services including strategic planning; budget and performance management; labor forecasting and distribution; financial analysis; financial operations (accounts payable, accounts receivable, cost allocation, asset management); ePayroll; travel management (E-Gov Travel), charge card (travel and purchase), financial reporting; internal controls and audit follow-up.

Ms. Turco came to GSA from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). At IRS she served as the Director of Financial Policy, Planning and Programs in the Office of the Chief Information Officer from 2001 to 2002 and was the IRS’ Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Strategic Planning and Budgeting where she directed the IRS strategic planning and budgeting from 1998 to 2002.

Prior to IRS, Ms. Turco was an examiner at the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Management and Budget for 10 years. She began her career with the Department of Education.

Ms. Turco was the recipient of a 2006 Presidential Rank Award as a meritorious executive and the 2008 Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Award for Distinguished Leadership in Financial Management Improvement. She is a member of U.S. Chief Financial Officers Council and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s Cost Accounting Standards Board.

Ms. Turco has an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and a Master’s in business administration from the University of West Florida.

Here is GSA’s description of the Office of Governmentwide Policy:

In December 1995, GSA created the Office of Governmentwide Policy (OGP) to consolidate its policy functions into a single organization. OGP’s policymaking authority covers the areas of personal and real property, travel and transportation, information technology, regulatory information and use of federal advisory committees. OGP’s strategic direction is to ensure that governmentwide policies encourage agencies to develop and utilize the best, most cost effective management practices for the conduct of their specific programs.

To reach the goal of improving governmentwide management of property, technology, and administrative services, OGP builds and maintains a policy framework, by (1) incorporating the requirements of federal laws, Executive Orders, and other regulatory material into policies and guidelines, (2) facilitating governmentwide reform to provide federal managers with business-like incentives and tools and flexibility to prudently manage their assets, and (3) identifying, evaluating, and promoting best practices to improve efficiency of management processes.

Guided by the principles of the President’s Management Agenda and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), some of OGP’s recent efforts have been devoted to providing leadership in the development of a policy environment and key enablers for electronic government, and supporting OMB in the implementation of various E-Gov initiatives to standardize and streamline government processes. The new model calls for involvement of other federal agencies, the private sector, interested parties, and other stakeholders from the very onset of policy review and/or formulation. Such collaborative efforts are seen to offer numerous advantages, not least of which is to ensure “buy-in” from the policy customers.

Written by cdorobek

April 26, 2010 at 1:57 PM

DorobekINSIDER: AFCEA Bethesda’s 12 annual benefit for The Children’s Inn at NIH

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The 12th annual AFCEA Bethesda annual charity ball to Benefit the Children’s Inn at NIH. It is often one of the best events of the year — and this year was no exception. (Congratulations to Microsoft’s Teresa Carlson and Mark Hollander, Associate Director for Management at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. They served as the co-chairpeople for the event.)

The NIH Children's Inn Gala

For those of you who don’t know about it, the Children’s Inn is similar to the Ronald MacDonald houses — they are a place where families can stay near the hospital and have as normal of a life as is possible. Over the years, AFCEA Bethesda has raised more than $2 million to benefit The Children’s Inn at NIH.

If you were not able to attend and you want to donate to the Children’s Inn at NIH, it is a wonderful cause… and $93 buys a day at the Inn for somebody. You can make your donation here.

You can see a slideshow of the event here.

AFCEA Bethesda does a great job with this event. There was a new location for the event this year — the JW Marriott, which allowed for more tables.

Each year, the gala features one of the Inn’s families who talks about life at the Inn. It is always one of the highlights of the evening, and this year was no exception. This year, we got to hear from Kaytelan Hoppes, an 8-year-old who has osteogenesis imperfecta – better known as brittle bone disease. It is a condition that causes extremely fragile bones. And Hoppes talked about the impact that the Inn has had on her family — the ability to have a home away from home. (And she even let it be known that it enables her mother to get an occasional massage. Given what these families go through, whatever it takes to survive. Good for Mom!)

The only snag of the evening — a fire alarm right at the start of the live auction. (You could tell the journalists in the room because none of the people at the Federal News Radio table moved.) The immediate concern was that it would scare people away — and, of course, that they wouldn’t return and it would impact the live auction prices. But… the false alarm sure didn’t seem to have an impact. Most of the items — including a Vespa that the DorobekINSIDER was bidding on — all went for more then their estimated values.

Congratulations to those involved. Nice job! Looking forward to 2011!

See a slideshow from the event here.

Meanwhile… more photos…

Best shoes of the night

The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

No word on where Jim Williams is going -- yet

1105's Anne Armstrong and Eric Pesachowitz

Team NASA

Team Federal News Radio 1500 AM

Written by cdorobek

April 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of April 18-24: GSA’s chief of staff, USPS, and the SES

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The most read stories the week of April 18-24, 2010… on the DorobekInsider.com, on the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, on Mike Causey’s Federal Report, and for FederalNewsRadio.com

…from the DorobekInsider.com

  1. DorobekINSIDER: BREAKING: GSA names Michael Robertson as chief of staff
  2. DorobekINSIDER: GSA clarifies the role of regional administrators
  3. DorobekINSIDER: Is that a ‘for sale’ sign at market research firm Input?
  4. DorobekINSIDER: The role of the CIO – and NASA gives the CIO authority
  5. DorobekINSIDER: A whole new World (Bank) of open data
  6. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of April 11-17: Better Buy Project, TSP, and SESers
  7. DorobekINSIDER: Johnson’s memo re: Robertson: His talent and passion is remarkable
  8. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of April 3-10: The iPad, TSP, and your thoughts about g
  9. DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO
  10. The DorobekINSIDER iPad review: Will you see them in government?
  11. DorobekINSIDER: GSA promotes Darren Blue to agency chief emergency response and recovery officer
  12. The DorobekINSIDER Reader: The open government policies and plans
  13. The DorobekINSIDER Reader: Earth Day
  14. GSA renames regional administrators as ‘regional commissioners’ — the first step t
  15. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  16. DorobekINSIDER: The Better Buy Project: Seeking to build a better procurement process
  17. DorobekInsider: GSA chief of staff Germain steps down, no replacement named
  18. DorobekInsider.com: Many changes at GSA – this week, it’s the regional senior executives
  19. DorobekINSIDER: Listen to the Federal News Radio Book Club discussing Daniel Pink’s DRIVE
  20. DorobekInsider: Robertson to be named to head GSA’s OGP and CAO

… from Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

  1. Analysis: Change the role of the Postal Service to keep it viable
  2. TSP fund balance crosses $250 billion
  3. GSA names winner in USA.gov PSA contest
  4. Cloud computing a threat to civil liberties?
  5. TSP participants roll over record amount of investments
  6. Wednesday Afternoon Federal Newscast – April 21
  7. Open Government Plans only the beginning, says former CIO
  8. Friday Afternoon Federal Newscast – April 23
  9. Study: Password changes are a waste of time
  10. NASA CIO Linda Cureton: Changes at agency positive for IT missions
  11. Public opinion about government at all-time low
  12. Library of Congress to collect Twitter data
  13. Survey: More willing to sacrifice privacy for security
  14. Mike Causey: How to become a millionaire
  15. Google’s Buzz prompts cybersecurity concerns
  16. GSA to update infrastructure for better mobility
  17. Now a good time to review where your money is in the TSP
  18. Timeline for TSP’s Roth option discussed
  19. Agencies greener on this 40th Earth Day
  20. TSP funds continue to gain in March
  21. Zeus virus more powerful than ever
  22. EPA shares lessons learned about Web 2.0 policy
  23. USPS plan would make dramatic changes
  24. Bonasaro hints Senior Executive Service might be in trouble
  25. Bill introduced to allow annual leave contributions to TSP
  26. TSP participants could soon invest unused annual leave
  27. Bonosaro hints Senior Executive Service might be in trouble
  28. OPM continues to modernize federal retirement system
  29. OMB to study how agencies deal with computer systems
  30. Is cyber war a reality . . . or impossible?
  31. TSP measures up to private sector funds
  32. Mother of accused terrorist defends her son
  33. VA opens IT training centers to improve awareness
  34. OPM’s John Berry remembers Oklahoma City bombing
  35. Update: How health care reform will impact you
  36. Preview: Where the NSPS transition stands
  37. As Federal Protective Service turns 15, Congress might change its role
  38. Congressman Hank Johnson worried about Guam’s stability
  39. Devaney shares lessons learned about transparency, openness
  40. OPM uses new assessment tools for potential hires
  41. DHS headquarters at St. Elizabeth’s making progress
  42. HReinvented: A comprehensive plan is needed for real reform
  43. Bill could make sweeping changes to DoD procurement
  44. Use existing tools to comply with Open Government Directive
  45. GAO: DHS makes progress with National Infrastructure Protection Plan
  46. Proposal to revamp federal internship programs for grad students
  47. Senior Medicare Patrol works to prevent Medicare fraud
  48. Analysis: The importance of Open Government
  49. Where is the money? We track misallocated funds in the federal budget

…for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. Roadmap to a Million $$ TSP Account
  2. 3 Steps to a Million $$ TSP Account
  3. Dying To Work: Location is Everything
  4. Teleworking: Anecdotal to Actuality
  5. Is There Life After the NSPS?
  6. Federal Retiree – Social Security Benefits Flatline
  7. TSP Millionaires & Record Rollovers
  8. FEHBP & the Dependent in Your Basement
  9. Civil War in the FEHBP Risk Pool
  10. TSP Balances: Size Counts

… and from FederalNewsRadio.com

  1. Survey: More incentives needed for Senior Executive Service
  2. Berry is innovating in the OPM basement
  3. OMB shifts to real time cybersecurity monitoring
  4. ATF wants more from mobile devices
  5. Bill calls for pilot program with federalized guards
  6. Pentagon contracting reform bill heads for full House
  7. EADS North America will bid for Air Force tanker contract
  8. White House establishes management advisory board
  9. Senators suggest scrapping virtual fence
  10. Bill to pay furloughed DoT workers is law
  11. Justice moves closer to secure sharing
  12. Feds learning sustainability begins with them
  13. House takes aim on Pentagon contracting reform
  14. Postal Service prepares to move to five day delivery
  15. DoD Cyber Command will take a defensive posture
  16. Lawmakers seek a better presidential transition
  17. Agencies classifying less information
  18. Federal News Radio Reports
  19. More agencies using resumes to bring on SESers
  20. HReinvented: Feds mixed on OPM’s HR reform plans, survey finds
  21. GAO: Postal Service business model not working
  22. Take Your Child to Work Day
  23. Agency cybersecurity reporting to get makeover
  24. OPM takes smaller steps to modernize retirement processes
  25. Agencies engage citizens with social collaboration
  26. NIAC chair details information sharing study mandate
  27. OPM to submit hiring reform advice to White House next week
  28. OFPP defines ‘inherently governmental’
  29. OMB outlines shift on FISMA
  30. White House works to change online transactions
  31. OPM relaunches jobs website
  32. GSA to rethink what success means
  33. DISA’s Stempfley heading to DHS’s cybersecurity division
  34. GSA releases FY 2010 per diem rates
  35. HReinvented: OPM’s new database cuts hiring by 3 weeks
  36. White House ready to reveal identity management plans
  37. OMB to set new real property policy
  38. NIAC gets additional White House study requests
  39. OPM’s strategic plan sets roadmap to HR reform
  40. Agencies to justify not using cloud computing to OMB
  41. FDA Commissioner Hamburg says it’s a time for change
  42. HReinvented: Employee unions call for tweaks to the system
  43. NMCI to NGEN = 43 months Navy says
  44. White House pushing agencies toward better customer service
  45. OPM’s Berry considers turning telework on its ear
  46. Federal agencies release Open Government Plans
  47. Agency pilots help cultivate ‘inherently governmental’ changes
  48. Contractor integrity, performance to face higher level of scrutiny
  49. Google, SalesForce help government transition to the cloud
  50. Mobile apps, TechStat lead OMB’s IT evolution

You can also catch the DorobekINSIDER on this week’s Federal News Countdown, where Francis Rose and his guests count down the top stories of the week for the government.

Find links to our selections of the top stories and hear the conversation here.

Written by cdorobek

April 24, 2010 at 2:06 PM

The DorobekINSIDER Reader: Earth Day

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Today, of course, is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which is widely considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. But the Obama administration has also made green government a cornerstone initiative.

So… the DorobekINSIDER Reader: Earth Day

NASA photo

* White House Earth Day page

* EPA’s Earth Day page

* NASA’s Earth Day page

* WhiteHouse.gov blog: President Obama signs an Executive Order Focused on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance

* Executive Order 13514: Federal leadership in environmental, energy and economic performance (PDF)

* White House GreenGov competition

* Earlier this week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke with Michelle Moore, the Federal Environmental Executive in the White House. Read more and hear the interview here.

* Federal News Radio’s Amy Morris series: Beneath the Green Dome, which examined the green initiatives on Capitol Hill. Be sure to hear about the compostable cutlery.

* In fact, the Chief Architect of the Capitol has a page dedicated to Green the Capitol.

* Windmills over Treasury: The Treasury Department announced today that beginning July 31, the main Treasury building and the Treasury Department annex will use wind power to supply 100 percent of its energy demand.

This comes on the heels of Treasury’s announcement earlier this week of an initiative to make a dramatic shift from paper to electronic transactions, a move that is expected to save more than $400 million and 12 million pounds of paper in the first five years alone. Together these two new initiatives will greatly reduce Treasury’s carbon footprint and overall environmental impact.

* VA’s solar hospitals: Meanwhile the Department of Veterans Affairs announced it has conducted studies evaluating the potential use of renewable fuels in energy plants supplying 38 VA medical centers around the country… and awarded $20.2 million to install solar energy systems at 18 VA medical centers.

* GSA follows the sun: Previous, Federal News Radio told you that GSA’s Denver Federal Center has one of the largest solar facilities in the country.

What are you doing for Earth Day? There are things you can doEPA’s “Pick 5″ campaign urges us to pick five things we can do.

Happy Earth Day!

Written by cdorobek

April 22, 2010 at 6:02 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA clarifies the role of regional administrators

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Many GSA watchers believe that one of the longstanding systemic issues within GSA were regional administrators. The issue: Did the regional administrators report to the GSA administrator. Because the regional administrators are political appointees, it was a cloudy issue.

Earlier this year, GSA renamed the regional administrations as ‘regional commissioners’… and named regional senior executives

But last week, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson issued a memo titled “Regional Leadership Structure” — posted below — which seeks to define the role of the regional administrators.

The regional administrator is the GSA official in the region who represents the administrator, and is the face of GSA and the White House in the region. There is new significance to this role because GSA, for the first time, is in a limelight position with an administration. We are being asked to do much more and do it in a much more visible and governmentwide arena.

While previously, the regional administrators were expected to “run” the operational divisions of the region, that ends up being “somewhat foolish” as the expertise, situational knowledge, and functional clustering was in the Federal Acquisition Service and the Public Building Service, she said. “Asking a regional administrator to assume a knowledgeable oversight role did not regularly match their qualifications.”

Read the full memo here:

View this document on Scribd

Previous posts:

DorobekINSIDER: GSA renames regional administrators as ‘regional commissioners’ — the first step to a broader reorg? [March 18, 2009]

DorobekInsider.com: Many changes at GSA – this week, it’s the regional senior executives [April 25, 2009]

Written by cdorobek

April 21, 2010 at 6:19 PM

DorobekINSIDER: A whole new World (Bank) of open data

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Regular listeners to Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris got a preview of the announcement by the World Bank that they are opening up its treasure trove of data.

The World Bank has posted its data at http://data.worldbank.org.

From the World Bank’s release:

Recognizing that transparency and accountability are essential to development, the World Bank Group is now providing free, open, and easy access to its comprehensive set of data on living standards around the globe — some 2,000 indicators, including hundreds that go back 50 years. The data will be available in Arabic, French and Spanish in addition to English.

“I believe it’s important to make the data and knowledge of the World Bank available to everyone,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. “Statistics tell the story of people in developing and emerging countries and can play an important part in helping to overcome poverty. They are now easily accessible on the Web for all users, and can be used to create new apps for development. ”

Drawing from numerous data sources and working with statistical partners, the Bank Group has worked intensively to modernize its storehouse of statistics to create data.worldbank.org, a new, user-friendly data access site.

In the coming months, the World Bank will also launch an “Apps for Development” competition, challenging the developer community to create tools, applications, and ”mash-ups” using World Bank data with the goal of producing better tools for understanding development.

See a video with World Bank President Robert Zoellick here.

I actually heard about this initiative at the recent Transparency Camp 2010 and there was some discussion around the initiative. In fact, there was a lot of discussion about the complexities of this: One World Bank official credited the United States with its level of transparency and said this is a big stretch for many other countries around the world. The U.S. is trying to move from 80 percent to 90 percent, this person said, while much of the rest of the world is trying to get to 50 percent.

A number of people have also said that this is a significant cultural change… for the countries… for the bank…

But this could also be a powerful tool in terms of accountability of the development money spent around the world.

This will be a transparency and open government initiative worth watching.

And, in fact, the United States is watching. Andrew McLaughlin, the U.S. deputy chief technology officer, also has a blog post about the initiative headlined, The World Bank Frees Its Data.

In an exciting advance for the global data transparency movement, the World Bank today launched its Open Data Initiative, releasing more than 2000 data sets that document human development worldwide, including health, business, finance, environment, and social welfare statistics. This is a big deal for openness in development: not only are these high-quality and often unique data sets, but until today they have been available only to paying subscribers.

The World Bank’s new Open Data site has a lot of features that impress us here at the White House Open Government Initiative. The data catalog is well-organized and easy to navigate, with breakdowns by country, topic, and statistical indicator. Some 330 of the data sets have been translated into French, Spanish, and Arabic, with more languages to come. And there are some good, lightweight, built-in visualization tools — for example, check out the charts available in the country profile for Rwanda. We especially like the URL (data.worldbank.org), which echoes our own Data.gov.

Perhaps best of all, the World Bank also released an iPhone app called DataFinder, which enables data search and charts/visualizations on the fly.

Finally, we’re impressed by the World Bank’s plan to encourage the development of applications that make innovative use of all this open data through an “Apps for Development” challenge later this year.

Written by cdorobek

April 21, 2010 at 1:42 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Johnson’s memo re: Robertson: His talent and passion is remarkable

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We told you that the White House has appointed Michael Robertson as GSA’s chief of staff.

Here is the memo that went out to GSA staff earlier today about the appointment:

MEMORANDUM FOR ALL GSA EMPLOYEES

FROM: Martha Johnson
Administrator

SUBJECT: Our New GSA Chief of Staff

I am delighted to announce that effective May 3, 2010 the White House has appointed Michael J. Robertson as GSA’s new Chief of Staff.

Michael is no stranger to the agency. Since March 2009 he has served as our White House Liaison and then in August he took on the roles of Associate Administrator for the Office of Governmentwide Policy and Chief Acquisition Officer. In those roles, Michael ably and successfully merged OCAO with OGP and helped drive important White House initiatives on recovery, sustainability, and open government at GSA.

As Chief of Staff, Michael will serve as one of my closest advisors with particular emphasis on furthering the Obama Administration’s agenda throughout GSA. He will work closely within GSA to connect and partner us with client agencies and with the White House, to assure our strong focus on our customers, align us with the President’s priorities, and ensure that we find creative and collaborative ways to be a leader in sustainability, open government, recovery, and acquisition workforce initiatives.

Since his arrival early last year, Michael’s talent has been evident and his passion for this agency and our work together is remarkable. Please join me in welcoming him to this new position.

Sincerely,

Martha

Written by cdorobek

April 20, 2010 at 1:52 PM

DorobekINSIDER: BREAKING: GSA names Michael Robertson as chief of staff

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Just in — GSA Administrator Martha Johnson today named Michael Robertson to be GSA’s chief of staff.

GSA's Michael Robertson

GSA's Michael Robertson

That post was vacated earlier this year when Danielle Germain stepped down. The chief of staff is a critical post in the GSA leadership team. In fact, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson served as the chief of staff for then GSA Administrator David Barram, so it is a post with which she has intimate knowledge.

He will take over on May 3, 2010.

The statement from Johnson:

“Under the Obama Administration, GSA is uniquely positioned to leverage our governmentwide scope, expertise, and buying power to deliver solutions for the White House and federal agencies on sustainability, open government, recovery, and acquisition workforce,” said GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson. “I am thrilled that the White House has appointed Michael Robertson as GSA’s next Chief of Staff. I’ve worked closely with Michael for over a year and can think of no better person to advise and serve as a driving force on these initiatives. His talent and commitment to GSA will assure our strong focus on our customers, align us with the President’s priorities, and ensure that we find creative and collaborative ways to continue to be a leader across government.”

And the statement from Robertson:

“In my time here I’ve learned that the people of GSA are some of the most committed public servants across government,” said GSA Chief of Staff Michael J. Robertson. “I am honored to serve in the Obama administration as GSA Chief of Staff. We have an amazing opportunity to grow GSA and better position ourselves to serve our customer agencies and deliver on the President’s priorities of improving government efficiency and operations through sustainability, open government, citizen engagement, innovation, and responsible acquisitions.”

Robertson already wears a number of hats within GSA — he serves as the White House liaison, the associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy, and the agency’s chief acquisition officer. It seems unlikely that he would be able to continue holding all those posts, but we were not immediately able to confirm those details.

UPDATE: GSA confirms that Robertson will not continue in the posts at the Office of Governmentwide Policy or the Chief Acquisition Officer. Johnson is working with the White House on candidates for those posts.

Johnson is looking how to build GSA’s next generation acquisition team given some key vacancies. Jim Williams retired as the commission of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service last month… and David Drabkin retired from his post as deputy chief acquisition officer. Johnson is known to consider these vacancies an opportunity to build a 2.0 version of GSA’s acquisition organization and has been carefully considering a number of options.

Robertson worked on the staff of then Sen. Barack Obama, worked on the Obama presidential campaign, and joined GSA soon after the transition.

Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris had the first interview with Robertson when he started at GSA. Read more here.

* Federal News Radio: GSA’s Robertson ready to take on challenges [September 8, 2009]

* Federal News Radio: GSA reorganizes to better green the government [February 22, 2010]

Dorobek Insider: GSA names a OGP-CAO leader – and then merges the organizations

* DorobekInsider: Robertson to be named to head GSA’s OGP and CAO [August 10, 2009]

* Federal News Radio: Data propels GSA’s plans for the acquisition workforce [April 13, 2010]

Robertson’s current bio from GSA:

Michael J. Robertson – Chief of Staff

Michael J. Robertson has been appointed by the White House as Chief of Staff for the U.S. General Services Administration effective May 3, 2010.

In this role, he will serve as an advisor to the Administrator with particular emphasis on furthering the Obama Administration’s agenda at GSA. He will work with client agencies and the White House to ensure that GSA finds creative and collaborative ways to be a leader in sustainability, open government, recovery, and responsible acquisitions.

Since August 2009, Michael served as Associate Administrator of Governmentwide Policy and Chief Acquisition Officer for GSA. As head of the Office of Governmentwide Policy, Robertson worked to develop and evaluate policies for management of the federal government’s internal operations. In addition, as Chief Acquisition Officer, he has been responsible for developing and reviewing acquisition policies, procedures, and related training for GSA and federal acquisition professionals. He also served as the functional manager of GSA’s acquisition workforce.

Michael began his service with GSA in early 2009 when he was appointed as White House Liaison.

Before coming to GSA, Robertson served as the deputy working group lead for the Energy and Environment Agency Review Team on the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Immediately prior to that, he served the Obama for America presidential campaign as the primary point person for securing endorsements and superdelegate support from House and Senate members.

In early 2007, Robertson served as then-Senator Barack Obama’s Legislative Coordinator and deputy to the Chief Counsel where he managed the appropriations process, worked on judicial nominations, and conducted political outreach to promote Obama’s legislative priorities. In 2004, he worked in Chicago on Obama’s Senate campaign. Before entering the political field, Robertson worked in venture capital in San Francisco.

A native of Fresno, California, Robertson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley and earned his Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Law from Georgetown University’s Law Center in Washington, DC.

Written by cdorobek

April 20, 2010 at 1:04 PM

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