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Archive for September 2009

DorobekInsider: Fleshing out the funniest celebrity “charity” controversy

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I noted earlier that I am one of the judges tonight for the 14th annual Funniest Celebrity in Washington “charity” event.

Well, the Washington Post’s Reliable Sources column reported yesterday that the term charity apparently deserves to be in quotes. The WP headline: ‘Funniest Celeb’ Charities Get Little Aid

For all the obvious wisecracks about its name, the annual “Funniest Celebrity in Washington” contest has triumphed in getting some of this city’s major players to cut loose with surprisingly outrageous stand-up comedy acts — with the rationale that it’s all for a good cause, of course…

But despite the VIP luster — and tickets starting at $200 — tax records and interviews show that the D.C. perennial has failed in the past five years to make any contributions to the charities for which it promised to raise money. Virtually all revenue appears to have been eaten up by the costs of putting on the one-night show, plus a year-round part-time salary for founder-CEO-host Richard Siegel and administrative expenses that charity-finance experts say are unusually high for such a small organization.

Siegel — whose tax-exempt organization “supports children’s charities,” according to its IRS filings — blames the charities. He says they failed to live up to agreements to sell $20,000 worth of tickets and sponsorships, an assertion at least one charity disputes. Ticket sales by Funniest Celebrity “essentially cover operational costs,” Siegel said in a statement.

Read the full WP story here.

There was much discussion around the WTOP-WFED offices yesterday about whether it was appropriate for me and WTOP Man About Town Bob Madigan should participate.

Here is how I am going to deal with it…

Frankly, I am always a bit uncomfortable when we wrap these kids of events with some charity. Generally, I want transparency in where my money is going, so… I’ll pay for my entertainment, and I’m happy to pay the charities that I deem worthy. A few years ago, I rode in the new defunct AIDS Ride DC, which was supposed to benefit DC’s Whitman-Walker Clinic. Unfortunately there was a loathsome organization, which seems to have dissolved, that was taking more than half of the money that people donated. So when I did the ride, I asked people to give specifically to Whitman-Walker — and I would match their donations by covering my bicycling expenses. In the end, I don’t expect for people to pay for me to bike.

I am going to use a similar model for the event tonight — I have donated $200 will be donating money to the cause — StandUp for Kids

STANDUP FOR KIDS, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 1990 to help rescue homeless and at-risk youth. With national headquarters in Atlanta, GA, STANDUP FOR KIDS is run almost entirely by volunteers. For more information, please visit

Written by cdorobek

September 30, 2009 at 2:10 PM

DorobekInsider: Obama expected to nominate GAO’s Gordon to OFPP post — soon

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There have been all kinds of names floating around, but… expect the White House to nominate Daniel Gordon, the deputy general counsel for the Government Accountability Office, to be nominated… and possibly very soon.

Gordon will well liked and respected — and yet an interesting selection. He has focused on workforce issues, but he also serves as GAO’s ethics counselor. And it is interesting to select an OFPP administrator from the oversight community. One procurement insider tells me that he has a “brilliant mind” and that he has an “interesting background — including having served in the Israeli Army.”

Here is Gordon’s bio:

Deputy General Counsel, Government Accountability Office (GAO) July 2006 to present

Prior positions at GAO:
* Managing Associate General Counsel, (head of Procurement Law 2000-July 2006 Division, GAO’s bid protest unit)
* Associate General Counsel (deputy head of Procurement 1997-2000 Law Division)
* Assistant General Counsel, Legal Services Division 1995-1997 (primary duties involved personnel law & managing administrative litigation of internal personnel matters)
* Senior attorney, Procurement Law Division 1992-1995 (adjudicating bid protests)

* Member, Adjunct Faculty, George Washington University 2002-present
* Law School (co-teaching: Formation of Government Contracts; Comparative & International Public Procurement)
* Associate, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson 1987-1992

* Court Law Clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of 1986-1987
* Columbia Circuit Education Harvard Law School (J.D., 1986, cum laude)
* Executive editor, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

* Oxford University (M.Phil., 1974)
* Brandeis University (B.A., 1972, summa cum laude)

Also studied at:

* Tel-Aviv University (doctoral studies in German history) (1981-82)
* University of Marburg (Germany) (1972)
* University of Munich (Germany) (1971)
* Institute of Political Studies (Paris) (1970-71)

There have been a number of names that have been floated around… I also heard most of them — and dis-confirmed them. FCW acquisition reporter Matthew Weigelt has been tracking it fairly closely — and he has a good story assessing what people hope comes from the new OPFF administrator. And Weigelt has reported some of the names that have been making the rounds — Cathy Garman a staffer on the House Armed Services Committee, David Gragan, the chief procurement officer for the District of Columbia, and David Yarkin, president of Government Sourcing Solutions.

Again, expect an announcement… soon.

Written by cdorobek

September 29, 2009 at 9:18 AM

DorobekInsider: The era of social media is over – long live collaboration tools

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There is a growing mini-debate going on among the gov 2.0 community: Is it “social media” or is it… something else. There are options, but… first off, why should be the term “social media” be verboten.

The term “social media” is all over the place, of course. The CIO Council recently published Web 2.0 security guidance — and the title of it:  Guidelines for Secure Use of Social Media by Federal Departments and Agencies, v1.0.

There are several reasons that I, personally, not a fan of the term “social media.”

First — I don’t think it is accurate. In the end, enterprise organizations aren’t using these tools because of the socialness they provide. And I’m not really sure I would classify these tools as “media.”

But nearly as important, I think the term “social media” allows people discount the use of these tools as, essentially, glorified dating sites. In the end, the socialness of these tools is merely one element of their value. There definitely is a “social” aspect to them, but that is not the value of them — particularly for large organizations like government.

Harvard Business School Prof. Andrew McAfee, in his upcoming book Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges, he writes:

They hear “social,” in short, and think it means not work-related, or time wasting, or productivity-draining. Because of this tendency, I rarely if ever use the word social when discussing Enterprise 2.0. I prefer instead collaborative, a term that has largely positive connotations for business leaders. People collaborate in order to get work done and solve problems, and these days there’s no shortage of problems to solve.

In the end, what these tools are really about — and why I talk about them as much as I do — is that these tools provide a unique way for agencies to do something that they have long sought to do — share information… to work together… to collaborate. If these tools were just about being social, they would have been written off long ago.

But I think the debate is not just one of semantics. Words have meaning — and impact. And the term “social media,” in some ways allows people to ban these tools, which are increasingly becoming an essential part of missions. And it is remarkable how we go through these fits over new technologies. I wasn’t around, but I’m guessing we did it with the phone. I know we did it with e-mail.

In fact, if I had my druthers, they would ban e-mail — I exaggerate for effect, of course, but… we use e-mail because it is the tool that we are comfortable using. E-mail is not collaborate. It isn’t a way to share information. It isn’t transparent. And it isn’t made available for large groups. E-mail does what every management expert will tell you not to do — it puts an electronic front end on the existing process of postal mail.

I made this arguement in my June column in Signal magazine, The First Step Toward Collaboration Is to Stop E-Mailing.

In that column, I note that I remember when the General Services Administration (GSA), under then-administrator David J. Barram, was one of the first agencies to ensure that each person in the organization had e-mail — on Flag Day 1996. GSA, thankfully, still has the press release online under the headline, “GSA Employees Join Super Information Highway through Intranet.”

That release, dated June 14, 1996, quotes Barram defining what the Internet is. The “Internet is known as the global communications network and it is being called by many experts the most promising avenue for business in existence today. Through the use of Internet, companies and government agencies worldwide are finding exciting new ways to serve their customers and communicate with each other,”

E-mail revolutionized the way we communicate… and e-mail definitely has a “social” aspect to it, but… it isn’t “social media.” It is a tool that enables organizations to do their job better and more effectively.

Unfortunately, since then, we try to use e-mail as a collaboration tool. We used it as such in the 1990s, and it helped us then because we did not have other tools. But other options are available to us today.

I should also give kudos to the National Academy of Public Administration. When NAPA was creating a place where they could pull all these items together, I spoke to them about the name — I thought then, years ago now — that the name was important. Wisely, they selected the name, The Collaboration Project. It has become a remarkable place for sharing ideas across government.

So I’d be happy to hear other suggestions for replacing the term “social media” — but for right now, I’ll be using collaboration tools.

Written by cdorobek

September 28, 2009 at 12:17 PM

DorobekInsider: What you read for the third week of September 2009

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The most read items on… the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris… and on… for the third week of September, 2009…

First… DorobekInsider

  1. DorobekInsider: NASA names Linda Cureton as the new NASA CIO … Suggested reading: Cureton’s final blog post as the NASA Goddard CIO. Read it here.
  2. DorobekInsider: CIO Council publishes gov 2.0 and security guidance … Later this week, we will talk to Navy Department CIO Robert Carey, who is the co-chair of the CIO Council’s security committee, which let to the creation of the document
  3. DorobekInsider: What question would you ask President Obama — Mine: Define “bureaucrat&r
  4. DorobekInsider: Ho-ho-ho… and recognize our troops
  5. DorobekInsider: What you read for the third week of September 2009 for
  6. DorobekInsider: OPM’s Berry reorganizes giving the CIO a more prominent role
  7. The DorobekInsider Reader: National Security Personnel System recommendations
  8. DorobekInsider to judge Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest
  9. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  10. DorobekInsider: The buzz of federal government IT: Two scorching IG report on VA IT… sex, lie
  11. DorobekInsider: DOD’s developing Web 2.0 policy — and collaborating around security
  12. DorobekInsider: The hottest ticket in town — Roger Baker speaking at Input
  13. DorobekInsider: Avaya wins the auction for Nortel Government Solutions, Nortel says
  14. DorobekInsider: Don’t expect a new NASA CIO soon
  15. DorobekInsider: Women In Technology – Government Leaders at the Helm: A New Era — the li
  16. DorobekInsider: GSA’s Mike Sade, formerly with Commerce, quietly retires
  17. DorobekInsider: What’s the deal with GSA administrator nominee Johnson? The Kansas City Star f
  18. DorobekInsider: What are the most annoying buzz words?
  19. DorobekInsider: The VA IG reports — what are the next steps? We ask government IT veterans
  20. DorobekInsider: GSA names Dave McClure to lead the Office of Citizen Services
  21. DorobekInsider: GSA’s O’Hare to replace Johnson as ITS Assistant Commissioner
  22. DorobekInsider: GSA’s Dorris, Army’s Sorenson, HP’s Hempfield earn AFCEA Bethesda
  23. Ed DeSeve to join the Obama administration
  24. DorobekInsider: GSA names Danielle Germain as chief of staff
  25. DorobekInsider: What happened in the federal government when we were away on vacation
  26. DorobekInsider: What you read for the second week of September 2009 on DorobekInsider, Daily Debrief
  27. DorobekInsider: CGI Federal scores a coup hiring former EPA CIO Molly O’Neill
  28. DorobekInsider: New DOT CFO nominee… and a possible DOT CIO nominee
  29. DorobekInsider: 1105 Media cuts pay 20 percent — temporarily
  30. DorobekInsider: Most read items for August 2009
  31. Breaking news: NAPA’s DiGiammarino to join the Obama administration
  32. Steve Ressler — GovLoop’s 10K man… and counting
  33. DorobekInsider: 9/11 remembrances… and 9/11 hopes
  34. DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement
  35. DorobekInsider on DC’s NewsChannel 8 tonight talking leadership and management — the liner notes

The top stories on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

  1. Two top feds say it might be time for a change in telework policy
  2. Daily Debrief Reports: Your Thrift Savings Plan & the Market
  3. USAF set to reopen competition for KC-X tanker
  4. Daily Debrief Reports: Your TSP & the Market
  5. Your Turn preview: FEHB update
  6. Bob Peck is GSA’s new Commissioner of Public Buildings
  7. Anaylsis: Amendment to kill FEHBP won’t pass in Senate
  8. DoD will hire thousands of new workers
  9. Update: Moran announces BRAC reprieve for DoD agencies
  10. Monday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  11. DoD CFO to oversee improvements to Defense Contract Audit Agency
  12. Chris Kemp of NASA’s Ames Research Center to discuss cloud … Hear our conversation withNASA Ames CIO Chris Kemp on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Government IT Solutions Spotlight here
  13. Wednesday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  14. Update: Identity management in the Obama administration
  15. Tuesday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  16. Nortel Government Solutions, Avaya sign agreement
  17. GSA’s McClure, Coleman discuss, moving to the cloud
  18. Update: Census worker’s death
  19. Dell buys Perot Systems; what does that mean for your agency?
  20. What next, if not Networx? Word from GSA’s conference
  21. Thursday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  22. Update: Officials investigating death of Census worker
  23. Spending season: Why this FY is different
  24. CMAP: A new leadership program designed for you
  25. Analysis: GAO report cites systemic language barrier problems at State
  26. FSS preview: NIST releases cybersecurity report
  27. OMB developing new framework to improve performance
  28. Meet the Innovators: Peter Koht
  29. Breaking: Census worker hanged in Kentucky
  30. Booz Allen Hamilton uses 2.0 tools to work with the gov’t
  31. Smart Grid, Smart Future? Part 8
  32. @USGS: Agency joins Twitter to keep in touch with public
  33. mySBX brings federal agencies, contractors together
  34. Smart Grid, Smart Future? Part 2
  35. Pay parity still lacking for federal civilian employees
  36. BRAC update from two local congressmen
  37. No COLA for federal retirees?
  38. Washington Center, IRS partner up to turn interns into feds
  39. DHS renews SBINet contract with Boeing
  40. Friday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  41. Md. BRAC coordinator reacts to GAO report
  42. How Web 2.0 is changing responses to emergencies
  43. WFED’s Max Cacas chats with Elaine Duke, Pt. 3
  44. TSA employees closer to collective bargaining
  45. DoD’s health IT strategy
  46. assists agencies in moving to the cloud
  47. Your Turn preview: The ABC’s of LTC coverage
  48. Federal Security Spotlight preview: Cybersecurity at DHS
  49. Analysis: Where does NSPS go now?

And the most read items on

  1. Plug pulled on Federal Employees Health Benefits Program under Senate proposal
  2. Causey: Federal Health Employee Benefit Plan amendment not likely to pass
  3. Moran wins reprieve for DoD agencies; no BRAC move until 2014 at earliest
  4. DoD makes NSPS pay raise equal to GS employees
  5. DHS mandates department-wide telework, COOP review this week
  6. Health care reform and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program
  7. Moran announces BRAC reprieve for DOD agencies
  8. OMB’s new performance framework to combine the best of the past
  9. Can you SAVE the government?
  10. Administration to set new vision for ID management
  11. DoD’s Bob Lentz to retire
  12. How and why to undo a 2008 Roth IRA Conversion
  13. Defense Contract Audit agency not improving fast enough
  14. Proposal to allow the FDIC access to taxpayer money
  15. Bilingual workers needed as Foreign Service Officers
  16. overview clears up the confusion over cloud computing
  17. Secure Border Initiative on shaky ground
  18. OMB wants updated TIC plans by Sept. 25
  19. Website rebuild at US Citizenship and Immigration Services results in conspicuous transparency
  20. Census director counts on planning for 2010 population count
  21. Handicapping the winners and losers in the race for Defense dollars
  22. White House cuts federal pay raise
  23. Federal Teleworking: A look at the numbers
  24. Justice reaffirms position that the Einstein system is legal
  25. CIO Council offers cyber guidelines for Web 2.0
  26. Federal News Radio Reports
  27. You can fund your retirement at bargain rates
  28. How to move money from other funds into the TSP
  29. Spouse beneficiary rules to change for TSP
  30. DHS’s Duke reflects on mega-agency’s first Presidential transition
  31. NSPS remains on life support
  32. connects federal agencies, contractors
  33. Smithsonian: Help pick a new setting for the Hope Diamond
  34. Short time deadline looms for federal Long Term Care
  35. DHS renews SBINet contract with Boeing despite shortcomings
  36. GSA equips employees with Web 2.0 rules
  37. Agencies report progress, at last, on security clearance reform
  38. National Parks holds “A Day of Service”
  39. Google, SalesForce help government transition to the cloud
  40. GSA reissues RFI for software-as-a-service
  41. FHA to bring on first chief risk officer
  42. Air Force finds easier way to hire acquisition workers
  43. How Web 2.0 has changed the business of government
  44. Veterans Affairs’ “Innovation Competition” is leading by example
  45. DHS uses week-long COOP, telework exercise to prepare for pandemic
  46. OPM preparing for pandemic by adjusting sick leave policy
  47. DCAA and DCMA: who’s the boss?
  48. Sunlight Labs wants to hear from you
  49. Senate committee increases civilian pay raise to 2.9 percent for 2010

Written by cdorobek

September 26, 2009 at 10:08 PM

DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum

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I was out yesterday so I wasn’t able to highlight this — I had heard it was in the works awhile ago — but OMB chief performance officer Jeffrey Zients yesterday announced that Shelley Metzenbaum has joined the Obama administration.

From Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller’s story yesterday:

He announced at the hearing that Shelley Metzenbaum would be joining OMB to help oversee the performance management agenda. Metzenbaum, who will be OMB’s associate director for performance and personnel management, is a former Clinton administration appointee with the Environmental Protection Agency, an author of several performance management books and the founder the Collins Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts.

Read the full story here.

Metzenbaum has been studying government performance for some time. Earlier this year, Metzenbaum was on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris talking about her new report, Performance Management Recommendations for the New Administration [PDF]. See her slides from a presentation on the report that she gave to OMB Watch. [PDF]

Metzenbaum is the daughter of the late Sen. Howard Metzenbaum and she is married to Harvard Kennedy School Professor Steve Kelman, the former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy during the Clinton administration.

Written by cdorobek

September 25, 2009 at 1:24 PM

DorobekInsider: The hottest ticket in town — Roger Baker speaking at Input

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The hottest ticket in town — by far — is Input’s breakfast on Thursday, Oct. 8 featuring Roger Baker, the CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The event has more than 425 people registered already, Input insiders tell me — and we are still a few weeks out.

Yes, VA is the second largest federal agency — and it has had a history of having troubled IT systems. But, as you probably heard, Baker has just a few high profile issues on his agenda:

* The scathing IG reports: Everybody is still buzzing about the VA IG reports that came out earlier this year — and there was a congressional hearing earlier this week. Frankly, I don’t expect Baker to address these much — other then some well crafted joke about how he can’t address it. We’re hearing a lot of talk about this issue — still. (The DorobekInsider has asked many insiders for their thoughts.)

* Update on programs put on hold… Earlier this year, Baker took the somewhat unusual step of putting 45 IT programs on hold pending review. (Baker on was Federal News Radio’s In Depth program talking about it. Hear that here.) What’s the status of those… and how much of a role did the Federal IT Dashboard really play in making that decision?

* VA’s Innovation competition… In asking employees for their best ideas, the VA has come up with a few of its own. An internal competition for innovation is seen as a benchmark process ready to spread far beyond the agency’s firewalls and across the federal landscape.

It should be an interesting presentation, regardless.

Written by cdorobek

September 25, 2009 at 12:28 PM

DorobekInsider: Ho-ho-ho… and recognize our troops

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Santa Claus came to Federal News Radio 1500 AM this morning — yes, a bit early, but… it’s all for a good cause. For the past three years, Microsoft Federal the the USO of Metro DC have led a program called A Salute to Our Troops. The program is dedicated to recognizing and thanking service men and women for their commitment by providing… well, some fun for them and their families.

Santa and the DorobekInsider

Santa and the DorobekInsider

The past two years, the focus has been on New York — Microsoft bought out Radio City Music Hall for a performance of the remarkable Christmas Spectacular. This year, the Rockettes are on the road — including a trip here in Washington, DC — and Microsoft is hosting a performance at DC’s Verizon Center.

And Federal News Radio and the Washington Capitals are participating through the Courage Caps program — and on Nov. 11th, 50 wounded soldiers will be treated to a special Veteran’s Day Capitals game.

From the press release:

Microsoft and the USO of Metropolitan Washington will kick off the third season of the annual A Salute to Our Troops program on Wednesday, Sept. 23 with some help from Santa Claus. On Wednesday morning, Santa will be traveling around Washington DC on a pedicab, giving out goodies from his sack and promoting the A Salute to the Troops program.

After lunch, he will meet up with the Radio City Rockettes near the White House as they then travel together to see some DC sites and head to Fort Myer, Virginia for a meet and greet with troops and to kick off the excitement for December’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular show, which is coming to D.C.

WHO:  “Salute” Santa Claus on a Pedicab (all morning)

The World Famous Radio City Rockettes (with Salute Santa, in the afternoon)

WHEN: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WHERE: Santa stops and times mapped out on

Locations include Pentagon Metro Station, Navy Memorial/China Town Metro Station, Union Station, Constitution Ave, 14th Street, K Street, GW Student Union, Kettler Iceplex, PA Avenue/Lafayette Park, Lincoln Memorial, Fort Myer


WFEDs Amy Morris and... Santa

WFED's Amy Morris and... Santa

This year, A Salute to Our Troops will take place in Washington, DC and will include multiple activities to brighten the season for U.S. troops and their families. Activities will range from an Operation USO Care Package day with the Washington Capitals and WTOP/WFED Radio; to the USO of Metropolitan Washington “Courage Cap” program which will be announced at a special game of the Washington Capitals where 50 wounded warriors will be in attendance.

Finally, in keeping with the USO tradition of entertaining the troops, on Sunday, December 20(th), Microsoft will treat 8,200 troops and their families to a private showing of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes at DC’s Verizon Center. Ticket information can be found at

Founded in 2007 by Microsoft in cooperation with the USO of Metropolitan New York and USO of Metropolitan Washington, A Salute to Our Troops program honors the many faces of courage and inspiration belonging to individuals who demonstrate selfless dedication to our country. For more information on the 2009 A Salute to Our Troops program, visit:

I don’t typically post full items, but I will post this one from Teresa Carlson, the head of Microsoft Federal, who wrote about the program her FedFocus blog:

A Salute to Our Troops

By Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Microsoft Federal

Santa Claus is coming to town early this year! In fact, he’ll be travelling around Washington D.C. tomorrow morning, handing out goodies to promote the 3rd annual A Salute to Our Troops program. A Salute to Our Troops is dedicated to recognizing and thanking our service men and women for their commitment to our country by providing entertainment for them and their families.

Microsoft created the program in partnership with the United Service Organization (USO),and the conclusion of this year’s program will include a complimentary showing of Radio City Music Halls’ Christmas Spectacular at the Verizon Center for 8,200 troops and their families. We are so excited to bring the program to D.C. for the first time this year, and we hope that through highlighting the courageous stories of our service men and women that we can inspire others to get involved and volunteer. The event is always such a great time, and the Washington Capitals will be adding to the fun this year through the Courage Caps program. On November 9th, the USO is partnering with WTOP/Federal News Radio and Capitals players to stuff care packages for our warriors overseas, and 50 wounded soldiers will be treated to a special Veteran’s Day Capitals game on November 11th.

Santa’s visit tomorrow morning officially kicks off this year’s festivities. After his tour through downtown, he’ll be meeting up with the Radio City Rockettes near the White House to do some site seeing before heading to Fort Myer, Virginia to visit with troops. If you spot him, let us know on Twitter (@FutureFed #salutesanta) and take a photo and send it to for a chance to win a prize! Tomorrow I’ll post some photos of his tour, but in the meantime, visit to get involved!

What a great program!

Written by cdorobek

September 23, 2009 at 1:46 PM