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Archive for July 9th, 2009

DorobekInsider: Hey funny guy — Uncle Sam wants YOU! No, really…

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OK all you funny people — here is your chance: The Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt has a request for quotations for humor in the workplace meetings. Yes, I’m serious!

The Contractor shall conduct two, 3-hour, Humor in the Workplace programs that will discuss the power of humor in the workplace, the close relationship between humor and stress, and why humor is one of the most important ways that we communicate in business and office life. Participants shall experience demonstrations of cartoons being created on the spot. The contractor shall have the ability to create cartoons on the spot about BPD jobs. The presenter shall refrain from using any foul language during the presentation. This is a business environment and we need the presenter to address a business audience.

Upon completion of the course, participants shall be able to:

• Understand the importance and power of humor in the workplace in a responsible manner
• How to use talents in a creative way that adds humor to everyday experiences
• Alleviate stress in home and the office
• Know how and why humor is important to communication
• Improve work-place relationships
• Prevent burn-out

Want to bid? You can find more details on FedBizOps… the text says they are due… well, Monday July 6… even though it was only posted this morning. But elsewhere on the FedBizOps announcement, it says submissions are due on July 14 at 2p ET.

I want to make a joke about it, but… this could be a great idea. We’ve reached out to the folks from the Bureau of Public Debt asking them to explain what they are looking for from this. In the meantime… Anybody want to join me with a bid?

Written by cdorobek

July 9, 2009 at 6:08 PM

Posted in Management, Workforce

DorobekInsider: A UK idea – The best way to help the postal service is to ignore the Internet

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Let me start out by noting that this is a discussion going on in Britain, but there are many organizations — including parts of the media — that I think would just like this whole Internet thing to go away. (Ah yes, this InterWeb is just a fad, right?)

Essentially, the UK Parliament’s Commons Business and Enterprise Committee has published a report suggesting that the drive toward e-government is undermining the British postal service.

Here is the report by UK’s Computing headlined E-government is not always the best option, say MPs; Commons committee questions drive to put public services online, and says face-to-face services must still have their place:

MPs have questioned the drive towards e-government and accused Whitehall departments of undermining local Post Offices by pushing online services instead of over-the-countertransactions.

A report from the all-party Commons Business and Enterprise Committee cited as examples the campaign to persuade motorists to renew vehicle excise licences on the web instead of at sub-Post Offices, and the strategy to persuade pensioners to receive payments into bank accounts instead of collecting them over the counter.

The committee’s report, most of which concerned the need to find more new business to keep local offices viable, said the public “is deeply sceptical about the extent to which it is acceptable to offer services online only, with widespread concern that certain disadvantaged groups find themselves further disadvantaged by ignorance as to how to use the internet and inability to afford a computer.”

Read more here

I’m not an expert in UK government, but I believe this would be the equivalent to a U.S. congressional committee.

Here is an excerpt of the report Post Offices – Securing their Future:

We should not underestimate the need for mail services. The internet may be reducing the number of letters sent, but technology has enabled people to set up businesses in remote areas, and increased the demand for packet and parcel services…

Many of the problems facing the (postal) network are a consequence of the Government moving services online, and so reducing Post Office Ltd’s income. But people see the post office network as a public service, and expect the Government to support it. We believe the Government has seriouslyunderestimated the potential of the network to serve as a link between government and its citizens. Although some departments are seizing the opportunity a truly national network offers to allow easy access to their services, many government departments are woefullyunimaginative about the needs of their customers, and show too little respect for members of the public’s right to choose how to deal with the Government.

The Digital Britain report sets out ambitious proposals for a Digital Switchover of Public Services in which the internet would be the primary means of access to public services, rather than one of many. We wholeheartedly support e-delivery of public services; it can be more convenient for the user, and more cost-effective to the taxpayer. But however much the Government may want to encourage digital inclusion, it also needs to prevent social exclusion. The British public believes that post offices are essential to the fabric of our society. Those who contacted us were eloquent in their belief that the post office closure programmes may have saved Post Office Ltd costs, but had displaced those costs onto individuals, and onto society as a whole. They were also sceptical about the extent to which online services were desirable. We note that 40% of households do not have access to theinternet . Members of the public can be encouraged online — they should not be driven there. Social exclusion and isolation can often best be countered by encouraging face-to-face services.

It makes no sense for one arm of government to recognize the importance of the network, while another makes policy proposals which do not recognize people’s right to access services in ways which suit them, not the state. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform was clearly committed to the success of the post office network; however, the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Government as a whole need to share that commitment.

Find the full report here

The Post Office has been used to provide public services and private services in partnership for nearly four centuries; we have no doubt that with will and imagination, and whole-hearted government support, it can continue to do so.

I fully understand the concern — almost the consternation — that many organizations have with the Internet, which has completely changed the business model for so many organizations. The postal service has clearly seen its world change. So has media, of course. But the notion that the option is to ignore how people are doing their work is beyondpreposterous. The challenge is figuring out a business model that works better — and being more efficient and competitive.

Written by cdorobek

July 9, 2009 at 1:27 PM

DorobekInsider: Coming and going – A new DOT CIO (mostly confirmed), Frank Puglese, former SSA CIO Tom Hughes, Young Government Leaders

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A number of people comings & goings in the past few days…

* DOT CIO Nitin Harban

I mentioned this a few days ago — at that time unconfirmed — that there was a new CIO at the Transportation Department. While I don’t have it “officially” confirmed — DOT public affairs has yet to get back to me — I have essentially confirmed that Harban started on June 29. While the DOT CIO is a political appointee, the DOT CIO job it is not a Senate confirmed post. I’m frustrated to say that I don’t have a bio or anything — and Google doesn’t even provide much help. Nor Microsoft’s Bing for that matter. If anybody has information — a bio or anything — post it here or send it along.

* Frank P. Pugliese, the former GSA Federal Supply Service commissioner, leaves DuPont

Pugliese, who was an almost legendary leader of the General Services Administration’s then-Federal Supply Service — for you newbies, that was the organization that includes the GSA schedule contracts among other things. He retired from GSA in 2000 — read the GSA press release from that time here. Pugliese eventually ended up at DuPont as Managing Director of DuPont Government Business Development. He resigned last week.

I spoke to him earlier this week and he told me his is not retiring. He is doing some consulting.

It was one of the worst kept secrets in town that Pugliese was interested in the GSA administrator job and in our conversation this week, even 9-years after leaving GSA, he still has incredible passion for that organization.

Here is Pugliese’s DuPont bio:

Frank P. Pugliese, Jr is Managing Director of DuPont Government Business Development. He is the former commissioner for the General Services Administration (GSA) where he spent his career focused on performance and operations improvement. During his 28-year tenure with the GSA, his efforts received numerous citations for contributing to better government through deficit reduction and cost-effectiveness. In1998, he received GSA’s Distinguished Service Award, the agency’s most prestigious award, followed by the 1999 Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executive. He retired from the GSA in 2000.

* Former SSA CIO Tom Hughes joins CSC

Again, I don’t have “official” confirmation — somebody at CSC will get back to me soon, I hope — but Thomas P. Hughes, the former CIO at the Social Security Administration, has joined CSC’s civilian group.

* Change of leadership at Young Government Leaders

Katherine Hudson Walker, who has been president of the growing Young Government Leaders organization, has announced she is stepping down and the new incoming president, Tim Sommella, will be taking the helm. (Sommella works at the Coast Guard, so pun only partially intended.)

It is with great regret that I send this email. For the past three and a half years, YGL has been my “baby” in many respects, but in looking at the priorities in my life I have another baby–my son–that needs me as well. Balancing my new son and work has been harder than expected and I find that I am no longer able to give YGL the time and attention it deserves. I am resigning my position as President of Young Government Leaders, leaving Tim Sommella at the helm of YGL until September 2009 when the newly elected board takes office. I will continue to serve YGL as an advisor and contribute as my schedule allows. Tim has done a great job this past year serving as a central point of accountability and direction for the board and I couldn’t think of anyone more capable and creative to lead YGL going forward.

I want to express my sincere thanks for your support of YGL over the years as we would not have been able to achieve our goals without your sage advice and generous contributions. I hope that you will continue to support YGL and our mission to promote civil service and help the federal government grow the next generation of leaders. Please stay in touch!

Best,

Kate

Katherine Hudson Walker
Senior Analyst, Strategic Issues
Government Accountability Office

Walker has done a great job balancing many priorities, and she still managed to grow YGL. It has been great getting to know her.

She was recently on the Women In Technology panel that I moderated recently, and Federal News Radio Program Director Lisa Wolfe wrote this wonderful intro for Walker:

Kate Hudson Walker covers a lot of ground with her career, her family and her hobby. Kate takes on the mantle of what amounts to two jobs, one with GAO, one with YGL. Kate is also a new mom to her 7 month old son Nathan. And if these two things didn’t keep her running, her hobby certainly would. Literally. Kate is a marathon runner aiming to run 26.2 miles in under 3 hours. She even has her sights set on being an Olympic athlete. She is training to compete in the Olympic Trials in the coming few years and will be testing her mettle this November at the Richmond marathon. Kate Hudson Walker, President of the Young Government Leaders and also a Government Accountability Office Senior Analyst for Strategic Issues.

I’ve added the emphasis because I still find it simply remarkable.

You can hear excerpts of that panel here.

Written by cdorobek

July 9, 2009 at 12:57 PM

DorobekInsider: A picture worth almost 1,000 words – Obama and the IT dashboard

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Giving credit where credit is due right up front — Aliya Sternstein over at NextGov posts a great photo of President Obama checking out the new federal IT dashboard, which was officially opened to the public last week. (More here… and the very first preview peek of the IT dashboard here… and more here…)

But this is just a great Official White House Photo by Pete Souza of President Barack Obama as he looks at the new IT Dashboard site while sitting at his secretary’s desk outside the Oval Office on Thursday, July 2, 2009.

Written by cdorobek

July 9, 2009 at 7:52 AM