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Archive for September 29th, 2008

DorobekInsider: GSA’s Sawislak to stay at GSA

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GSA's Sawislak

GSA's Sawislak

Another GSA move — or lack of move, that is: Josh Sawislak, who has been a senior advisor to the administrator and the acting chief emergency response and recovery officer, who had been slated to leave GSA… will be sticking around. GSA Acting Administrator Jim Williams told senior staff this morning.

Sawislak’s wife, who is also a fed, has been transfered to a new post overseas. And Sawislak had been planning to leave GSA to join her overseas.

But Sawislak will be sticking around through the end of the administration.

Early on, Sawislak was seen as a FOL — friend of Lurita, as in former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan — but has gained respect within the agency. He has been working overtime in recent months as the acting emergency response and recovery officer with the seeming parade of hurricanes in the past few weeks.

And when I was at FCW, I had him on the FCW- Federal News Radio show. You can hear that here.

Written by cdorobek

September 29, 2008 at 4:41 PM

Posted in COOP, GSA, Whose In and Whose Out

Tagged with ,

DorobekInsider: Happy birthday to… NAPA’s Lena Trudeau

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FCW: The Collaborators

A very happy birthday to Lena Trudeau, the program area director for strategic initiatives for the National Academy of Public Administration. I actually put Trudeau and Frank DiGiammarino, NAPA’s president of strategic initiatives, on the cover of Federal Computer Week earlier this year talking about their initiative, The Collaboration Project. The Collaboration Project is wonderful place where they are pulling together of examples of collaboration… and real lessons learned.

So, as I’m apt to do… what happened on this date:

1789 The U.S. War Department established a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.

1829 London’s reorganized police force, which became known as Scotland Yard, went on duty.

1957 Baseball’s New York Giants played their last game at the Polo Grounds before moving to San Francisco for the next season.

1982 Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide claimed the first of seven victims in the Chicago area. (The case remains unsolved… Read more on today’s Writer’s Almanac.)

1988 The space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., marking America’s return to manned space flight following the Challenger disaster.

2005 New York Times reporter Judith Miller was released from 85 days of federal detention after agreeing to testify in a criminal probe into the leak of a covert CIA officer’s identity.

Sharing Trudeau’s birthday:

* Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) turns 66
* Mike Post, the TV, film theme composer, turnes 65
* PBS journalist Gwen Ifill turns 53
* Comedian Andrew “Dice” Clay turns 51
* Jill Whelan, who played Capt. Stubing’s daughter on the TV show “The Love Boat,” turns 42

Famous people born on this date:

From PRI’s Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of the man who wrote what we consider to be the first modern novel. That man is Miguel de Cervantes, (books by this author) born near Madrid (1547). When he was 24, he joined the Spanish Armada and fought at the Battle of Lepanto. He wounded his left hand in the battle, and he never regained its full use again. He was captured and enslaved by pirates. Eventually, he returned home, only to be put into jail there for fraud. While he was in prison, he began his most famous work, Don Quixote (1605). It’s a story about a man who reads too many books about chivalry, goes mad, and tries to restore old-fashioned heroism to the world.

* Pompey The Great (9/29/106 BC – 9/28/48 BC), the Roman statesman and general of the Roman Republic
* Francois Boucher (9/29/1703 – 5/30/1770), the French painter, engraver and designer
* Horatio Nelson (9/29/1758 – 10/21/1805), the English naval commander
* Caroline Yale (9/29/1848 – 7/2/1933), the American educator of the deaf

Written by cdorobek

September 29, 2008 at 9:01 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

DorobekInsider: Our issues amid the great debate

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Yes, the first debate was Friday night, of course — the most watched presidential debate ever with some 57 million viewers.

In my view, it was a refreshing break from the debate over lipstick and pigs — a very wonky affair of two smart people talking about what they would like to do for the future.

They did mention government issues a few times.

One was the issue of cost-plus contracts vs fixed-cost contracts.

Sen. John McCain argued that fixed-cost contracts are more cost efficient.

Here is what he said as transcribed by the NYT:

MCCAIN: Look, we, no matter what, we’ve got to cut spending. We have — as I said, we’ve let government get completely out of control.

Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. It’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.

The point — the point is — the point is, we need to examine every agency of government.

First of all, by the way, I’d eliminate ethanol subsidies. I oppose ethanol subsidies.

I think that we have to return — particularly in defense spending, which is the largest part of our appropriations — we have to do away with cost-plus contracts. We now have defense systems that the costs are completely out of control.

We tried to build a little ship called the Littoral Combat Ship that was supposed to cost $140 million, ended up costing $400 million, and we still haven’t done it.

So we need to have fixed-cost contracts. We need very badly to understand that defense spending is very important and vital, particularly in the new challenges we face in the world, but we have to get a lot of the cost overruns under control.

I know how to do that.

FCW’s Matthew Weigelt explains:

In a cost-plus contract, a vendor is paid for its total costs of doing the work plus an award fee if it meets specific performance objectives. In fixed-price contracts, vendors work for a fee agreed upon ahead of time, so their profit depends upon finishing the work in a reasonable time.

One other topic: The federal spending Web site, USAspending.gov. He mostly mentioned it in regard to his ability to work across party lines because the bill creating the site was co-sponsored with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma).

OBAMA: Not willing to give up the need to do it but there may be individual components that we can’t do. But John is right we have to make cuts. We right now give $15 billion every year as subsidies to private insurers under the Medicare system. Doesn’t work any better through the private insurers. They just skim off $15 billion. That was a give away and part of the reason is because lobbyists are able to shape how Medicare works.

They did it on the Medicaid prescription drug bill and we have to change the culture. Tom — or John mentioned me being wildly liberal. Mostly that’s just me opposing George Bush’s wrong headed policies since I’ve been in Congress but I think it is that it is also important to recognize I work with Tom Coburn, the most conservative, one of the most conservative Republicans who John already mentioned to set up what we call a Google for government saying we’ll list every dollar of federal spending to make sure that the taxpayer can take a look and see who, in fact, is promoting some of these spending projects that John’s been railing about.

Coming up Thursday — the VP debate.

Written by cdorobek

September 29, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Posted in Uncategorized