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Archive for February 1st, 2010

DorobekINSIDER: Could Tuesday be GSA nominee Johnson’s V-Day?

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Could Tuesday be V-Day for Martha Johnson, the Obama administration’s nominee to be GSA administrator — V-day meaning Senate vote day.

We told you last week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had put Johnson’s on the list for cloture — essentially putting her forward to end debate and then allow a yeah-or-nah vote on her nomination.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today issued a strong statement on Johnson’s nomination. Some key segments:

… As a former Chief of Staff for GSA, Ms. Johnson has the background to hit the ground running. And that is important for an agency that has not had a permanent leader since April 2008, when the former administrator was asked to resign by the previous Administration. And here it is, February 2010. It’s been more than a half year since Ms. Johnson’s nomination was sent to the full Senate and since that time GSA has undergone several changes in top management. It’s become an unfortunate practice that some Senators hold up nominations for reasons unrelated to their nomination. It’s obviously time for stable leadership at GSA.

It’s been very frustrating for members of our committee to see such a qualified nominee held up for more than half a year because of something that has nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications. I would like to take a moment to remind my colleagues of the full scope of GSA’s responsibilities – an agency that mostly works out of the spotlight – so they can better understand why the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously endorsed her nomination last June…

… But the agency is in need of strong leadership. If confirmed, Ms. Johnson will face many challenges. Let me lay out just a few of the most important.

In the area of procurement, the contracts negotiated by GSA must leverage the vast buying power of the federal government so agencies get more value for the taxpayer’s dollar…

… But some agencies have lost confidence in the ability of GSA to provide the best products at the best prices and have negotiated their own contracts or interagency contracts that duplicate services offered by GSA…

… Similar problems exist in GSA’s property management activities with agencies sometimes questioning whether GSA meets their needs in the most cost effective manner…

Read the full statement below.

Meanwhile, starting Tuesday, GSA’s new deputy administration Susan Brita arrives on the job. Most recently, Brita was the staff director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.

And here is the full release from Lieberman:

LIEBERMAN URGES CONFIRMATION OF MARTHA JOHNSON
Nominee has been Held Since June; Senate to Vote on Cloture

WASHINGTON—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., delivered the following statement on the Senate floor Monday calling for Senate confirmation of Government Services Administration nominee Martha Johnson. Johnson’s nomination has been held up since June, when she was unanimously approved by the Committee:

Mr. President, I rise to urge my colleagues to vote for cloture on the nomination of Martha Johnson to be Administrator of the General Services Administration so we can put this extraordinary nominee to work as soon as possible in a job critically important to the efficient operation of the federal government.

As a former Chief of Staff for GSA, Ms. Johnson has the background to hit the ground running. And that is important for an agency that has not had a permanent leader since April 2008, when the former administrator was asked to resign by the previous Administration. And here it is, February 2010. It’s been more than a half year since Ms. Johnson’s nomination was sent to the full Senate and since that time GSA has undergone several changes in top management. It’s become an unfortunate practice that some Senators hold up nominations for reasons unrelated to their nomination. It’s obviously time for stable leadership at GSA.

It’s been very frustrating for members of our committee to see such a qualified nominee held up for more than half a year because of something that has nothing to do with the nominee’s qualifications. I would like to take a moment to remind my colleagues of the full scope of GSA’s responsibilities – an agency that mostly works out of the spotlight – so they can better understand why the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously endorsed her nomination last June.

GSA is often called the federal government’s “landlord” because it provides workspace and office services for almost every federal office and agency across our country – from courthouses to ports of entry. With 8,600 buildings and $500 billion in assets under its control, GSA is one of the largest property management organizations in the world.

But GSA actually is far more than just the federal landlord. It has 12,000 employees, spread across the country in 11 districts and they help guide federal spending on everything from basic office equipment to the federal fleet of more than 200,000 vehicles owned or leased by the federal government.

GSA’s purchasing decisions have broad implications for the rest of the economy since as an early acquirer of new technologies – including green technologies – the agency has helped, and will continue to help, spur production that brings down costs and make these technologies available and affordable to the broader consumer market. GSA is that important that it can help build a market for transformative and innovative products.

In fact, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave GSA specific responsibility to help “green” the federal government by providing $5 billion to make federal buildings more energy efficient and $300 million to buy more fuel efficient vehicles for the federal fleet.

GSA also has wide responsibilities for providing information technology and telecommunications services for federal agencies. With its leadership, GSA can ensure that the federal government is using cutting-edge technology to lower costs, better engage with citizens, and detect and defend against cyber threats. GSA spends so much money every year acquiring information technology systems, that if it requires the providers to put together systems that are resistant defensive to the kind of cyber attacks that public and private information systems are under today, it can drive those technologies to be more available to the general public.

But the agency is in need of strong leadership. If confirmed, Ms. Johnson will face many challenges. Let me lay out just a few of the most important.

In the area of procurement, the contracts negotiated by GSA must leverage the vast buying power of the federal government so agencies get more value for the taxpayer’s dollar.

Last year federal agencies bought approximately $53 billion of goods and services off GSA schedules, which offer everything from office supplies to human resource services to security equipment to energy management services, and through other contracts negotiated by GSA.

Having GSA negotiate these procurement agreements lets its customer agencies stay focused on their core missions. In other words, the agencies don’t have to get into negotiating these contracts, the experts at GSA can do it and the agencies can focus on their core missions.

But some agencies have lost confidence in the ability of GSA to provide the best products at the best prices and have negotiated their own contracts or interagency contracts that duplicate services offered by GSA.

This is effectively a waste of federal money and defeats the purpose of GSA, which was created by President Truman in 1949 with the specific intent of streamlining the federal government purchasing process.

Similar problems exist in GSA’s property management activities with agencies sometimes questioning whether GSA meets their needs in the most cost effective manner.

Another problem the new Administrator must address is the amount of excess or underutilized property owned by the federal government.

The Office of Management and Budget has reported that the federal government owns 21,000 buildings, worth about $18 billion, that are under used or no longer needed, but are still sitting there. Management of federal property is on GAO’s “High Risk” list for just this reason.

Not all of these properties are under GSA’s control, but one of its jobs is to help other agencies dispose of excess property and we need leadership to solve this problem.

So you see, Mr. President, this is a job with big challenges, as I’ve described. But I believe Ms. Johnson has what it takes because she brings to the job a wealth of experience both in her academic training and her on-the-job experiences in the private, non-profit and government sectors.

Ms. Johnson holds a BA in economics and history from Oberlin College and an MBA from Yale Business School.

After graduating from Yale, Ms. Johnson began her career in the private sector at Cummins Engines Company. She had a series of other management positions in the private sector, and then was tapped by the Clinton Administration to be an Associate Deputy Secretary of Commerce and then Chief of Staff of GSA from 1996 to 2001.

After leaving government, Ms. Johnson was a vice President Council for Excellence in Government – a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of government at all levels – and most recently served as a vice president at Computer Sciences Corporation.

Mr. President, all these varied experiences make Martha Johnson a perfect fit for the many responsibilities and challenges she will face as GSA Administrator.

The hold in this nomination has been completely unrelated to Ms. Johnson herself and appointment has broad bi-partisan support. I urge my colleagues to vote yes on cloture so we can confirm this excellent nominee and she can get to work for the American people.

I yield the floor.

Written by cdorobek

February 1, 2010 at 6:18 PM

DorobekInsider: Sen. elect Brown: Feds making 2X the private sector

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Federal employees making twice as much as their private sector counterparts, right?

That’s what Senator-elect Scott Brown said during his interview Sunday with Barbara Walters on ABC News’ This Week:

Brown and Walters

Photo: ABC News

WALTERS: President Obama has asked for a spending freeze on almost everything except matters like the military, Social Security, and Medicare. He says he’s going line by line through the budget. Now, you have said that’s not enough for you; that you want to cut spending and not just freeze it.

So what are the first 3 items that you would cut?

BROWN: The problem with what the president said is he’s not doing it until 2011. We need to do it immediately. We need to put a freeze on federal hires and federal raises because, as you know, federal employees are making twice as much as their private counterparts.

We all remember the USAToday story from December (from which Brown likely got his stats): For feds, more get 6-figure salaries: Average pay $30,000 over private sector.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession’s first 18 months — and that’s before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector…

The trend to six-figure salaries is occurring throughout the federal government, in agencies big and small, high-tech and low-tech. The primary cause: substantial pay raises and new salary rules.

I don’t highlight this as a ‘got ya,’ but this is the perception that feds run up against — they’re overpaid and people believe they can’t get the job done.

Written by cdorobek

February 1, 2010 at 8:26 AM

DorobekInsider: Most read for the month of January 2010 – Germain, TSP, pay freeze and Causey

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The most read stories from the week of January 10-16, 2010… on the DorobekInsider.com, on the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, for Mike Causey, and for FederalNewsRadio.com…

…from the DorobekInsider.com

  1. DorobekInsider: GSA chief of staff Germain steps down, no replacement named
  2. DorobekInsider: My “dinner” with the President
  3. DorobekInsider EXCLUSIVE: NASA scores Gardner as the new Goddard CIO
  4. DorobekInsider: Germain to lead NAPA’s Collaboration Project, while NAPA’s Munz joins GS
  5. DorobekInsider: New GSA deputy administrator is finally official — Susan Brita to start Feb. 2
  6. DorobekInsider: White House names Leeds as GSA’s new acting administrator
  7. DorobekInsider: Energy Department CIO to retire after 45 years of public service
  8. DorobekInsider poll: What gov buzzwords should be retired in 2010?
  9. DorobekInsider: Welcome 2010 – what you may have missed while we were away
  10. DorobekInsider: State of the Union history
  11. DorobekInsider: What’s the deal with GSA administrator nominee Johnson? The Kansas City Star f
  12. DorobekInsider: Could GSA nominee Johnson be headed to a Senate vote?
  13. DorobekInsider: What’s behind the GSA leadership vacancy — the NewsChannel 8 liner notes
  14. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  15. DorobekInsider poll: Grade President Obama’s first year — from a insider’s perspec
  16. DorobekInsider: Kempf named deputy for GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service
  17. DorobekInsider: Godspeed Nick DeCarlo
  18. DorobekInsider: Did the President all-but mention GSA administrator nominee Johnson at the State of
  19. DorobekInsider: What you read in December 2009 on the DorobekInsider, Daily Debrief, Causey, and Fed
  20. DorobekInsider: Most read for January 10-16, 2010 – Germain, TSP, and Causey
  21. The DorobekInsider Reader: Martin Luther King Jr.
  22. DorobekInsider EXCLUSIVE: USDA undertakes extensive management reorg – downgrading the CIO, CF
  23. DorobekInsider: Johnson’s GSA nomination moves one step closer with cloture
  24. DorobekInsider: Most read for January 17-23, 2010 – Gardner to NASA Goddard, TSP, and Causey
  25. DorobekInsider: Meet “the good bureaucrat” — Dwight Ink
  26. DorobekInsider: USDA gets early out approval from OPM as mega-management reorg continues
  27. DorobekInsider: What you read Jan. 3-9 on the DorobekInsider, Daily Debrief, and FederalNewsRadio.co
  28. DorobekInsider: USDA gets approval for employee buy outs from OPM as mega-management reorg continues
  29. DorobekInsider: What you read in 2009…. on the DorobekInsider
  30. DorobekInsider: More GSA FAS shifts — King to retire, Ghiloni shifts, and FAS SES regional com
  31. DorobekInsider: Rumoring around the halls of GSA — playing GSA musical chairs
  32. DorobekInsider: What you read in 2009…. on The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morri
  33. DorobekInsider: GSA names Danielle Germain as chief of staff
  34. DorobekInsider recommended event: Operation Jump Start VI – helping transitioning soldiers
  35. DorobekInsider: What are the top government stories of the week?
  36. DorobekInsider: Government 2.0 from down under — the final report of the Government 2.0 Task F
  37. DorobekInsider: UPDATED – Grams to join VA as principal deputy assistant secretary for managem
  38. DorobekInsider: USDA officials offer more details on management reorganization
  39. DorobekInsider: USDA gets push back on massive management reorg, GovExec reports; USDA remains silen
  40. DorobekInsider: BREAKING NEWS — Sens. Collins, McCaskill, Bennett introduce acquisition workforce bills

from the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

  1. All TSP funds see gains in 2009
  2. Now a good time to review where your money is in the TSP
  3. TSP participants can now move money from other accounts
  4. Congress will debate TSP contributions this session
  5. OPM prepares for relaunch of USAJobs.gov
  6. Bonasaro hints Senior Executive Service might be in trouble
  7. Monday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  8. Your Turn preview: How to move money into your TSP
  9. Tuesday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  10. Your Turn preview: How big is your TSP?
  11. TSP funds see slow but steady gains in 2009
  12. Wednesday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  13. When good leaders are bad at strategy
  14. Conficker worm alive and well
  15. TSP Snapshot: Your money is working hard for you
  16. The best and worst jobs of 2010
  17. 2009: The best year for federal employees yet?
  18. Michael Brown: how to learn from Haiti
  19. What President Obama’s speech means for you
  20. How to be a ‘good bureaucrat’
  21. Thursday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  22. Agencies look at lessons learned from H1N1 employee absences in 2008
  23. Federal agencies face challenges responding to Haitian earthquake
  24. Congress, health care proposals and your benefits
  25. Friday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  26. Symantec: Be careful where you donate money for Haiti
  27. What 2010 might bring: A Your Turn preview
  28. NARA talks about lessons learned from lost PII incident
  29. Analysis: The budget freeze & your agency
  30. McAfee helps companies respond to Operation Aurora
  31. Survey: Government market good for contractors now
  32. Jim Leto, CEO of GTSI, announces retirement
  33. Australia says Gov 2.0 Taskforce a success, shares best practices
  34. Senior Medicare Patrol works to prevent Medicare fraud
  35. Dept. of Labor uses cloud solution for financial management
  36. GAO: DoD needs to improve fiscal management
  37. Report suggests mentality on information sharing should change
  38. Colleges adding cybersecurity to curricula
  39. How a proper risk management plan could help your agency
  40. New report from McAfee/CSIS warns of constant cyber attacks
  41. Analysis: How government can prevent a bioterror attack
  42. Dept. of Labor exceeds Open Government Initiative goals
  43. FCC launches Reboot to create 2.0 Web site
  44. Smithsonian remembers Martin Luther King, Jr.
  45. Two big RFP’s on the way from the Army
  46. New app from Sunlight Foundation tracks Congress for you
  47. Collaborative tools help rescue workers in Haiti
  48. How states report on Recovery fund usage

…for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. Retirees $250 Tax Credit
  2. 2011 Pay Raise Poker Chip
  3. Your 2010 Lucky Numbers
  4. TSP Balances: Size Counts
  5. East Coast, West Coast Pay Spread
  6. How’s Your Pay Raise? Compared To What?
  7. Higher Health Premiums: Just Wait!
  8. Is Your Pension a Target?
  9. Uncle Sam’s Antiques Roadshow
  10. Bulletproofing Your Health Plan
  11. Big Career Changes Coming at You
  12. More TSP Investment Options?
  13. Super Investment for Office Elders
  14. The Perils of 2010
  15. Your Investments: Are We There Yet?
  16. Taxing Your Health Premiums
  17. Health Care Reform: Include Me Out!
  18. Life After NSPS: A GS 14, Step 15?
  19. 2011 Pay Raise, The Magic Number Is…
  20. Military TSPs: Small Perk, Big Return?

…and from FederalNewsRadio.com

  1. President to order pay freeze
  2. What the State of the Union means for feds
  3. Feds win reprieve from healthcare excise tax
  4. Problems Accessing FederalNewsRadio.com Content
  5. TSP Snapshot: Your money, working hard
  6. OMB investigated for intimidating OPM
  7. Work on Army BRAC project proceeds, despite local concerns
  8. Coast Guard HQ at St. Elizabeths gets full speed ahead
  9. Protest of TSA IT contract sustained
  10. OMB to give agencies plan to modernize services
  11. Contractor Crackdown: tax cheats targeted by White House
  12. OPM relaunches jobs website
  13. Agency Instability: GSA begins to feel toll of not having permanent leader
  14. CyberMaryland seeks federal jobs from cybersecurity push
  15. DISA wants collaboration marbled through enterprise
  16. Intimidation investigation expedited at OMB
  17. Army to test enterprise e-mail for all of DoD
  18. VA touts success of electronic medical records pilot
  19. Analysis: Northrop Grumman follows the money to D.C.
  20. OPM proposes changes to management of personnel files
  21. HHS is one step closer to universal, electronic health record
  22. DHS deciding on future of SBInet
  23. Exec. order breaks new ground in declassification
  24. OPM to get help digitizing personnel records
  25. DISA listens to customers to create new offering
  26. More vendors gaining relief from protests
  27. Nuclear Security Administration goes thin and green
  28. New report: Presidential transition flawed
  29. Senate: Con artists are using stimulus scams to fleece citizens
  30. Analysis: Cracking down on contracting cheats
  31. ODNI’s Ron Sanders leaves proud legacy, part 2
  32. Privacy not taking back seat to security, cyberchief says
  33. Agencies to justify not using cloud computing to OMB
  34. What’s next for Open Government Initiative
  35. OPM lets agencies collect donations for Haiti
  36. GSA releases FY 2010 per diem rates
  37. DHS to hire help to promote cybersecurity awareness
  38. Report: Presidential transition flawed, changes needed
  39. GAO sees more bid protests in 2009
  40. Schmidt answers doubters as cyber czar
  41. NIAC tries to understand resilience and homeland security
  42. Terrorist watch list improvements a matter of standardization
  43. Acquisition Solutions buys consulting firm
  44. Transparency grades clearly lacking
  45. Federal News Radio Reports
  46. House to vote on GAO improvement bill
  47. Agencies going green and saving green
  48. Attempted terrorist attack shows continued holes in information sharing
  49. Agencies recycle, reuse 16 million pounds of electronics
  50. Congress tells agencies to check creditworthiness of employees

Written by cdorobek

February 1, 2010 at 7:57 AM