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Archive for February 2010

DorobekINSIDER: GSA’s Johnson speaks to employees – here is what she said

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Martha Johnson is finally the GSA Administrator — both technically telework style as a result of snowpoclypse, but then this week more formally at GSA headquarters auditorium. And Johnson spoke to GSAers for the first time.

“Before I begin formal remarks, I want to say that this is not MY day. This is GSA’s day. And to that end, I want us all to know how GSA is represented in this room,” she said.

Martha Johnson sworn in (Photo: GSA)

You can read her full speech here, but… she laid out three big areas:

  • The sustainability of our environment.
  • Second is transparency.
  • Taking our performance to the next level.

In the 1990s, the Clinger Cohen Act gave us a gift. It pushed GSA out of being the mandated company store for the government. At the time, it was a shock. Many of you probably remember that over 5,000 people took the buy-out in the wake of our tremendous realignment. But it has helped us grow up and made it necessary for GSA to play in the competitive arena and the real market. Our challenge now is to WIN in that market. Why should other agencies divert resources from their core missions in order to set up procurement and contracting staffs? I was asked exactly that question in my Senate hearings. Why indeed! We have tremendous skill, this is our core capacity – delivering solutions – and we should be hands down the best.

Some highlights of her speech:

It is a great honor to have been asked to serve GSA as your Administrator by President Barack Obama. Joining his administration gives me great pride. His leadership, tone, and agenda inspire and teach me. As I step into the role, I hope to do the job effectively and from the bottom of my heart. I thank the president for this opportunity.

I would also like to take this moment to thank Paul Prouty, who has served you as the GSA Administrator for the last year. Paul has brought energy and humor to the office. He has been a voice for the regional perspective. He has tried new things and stirred the pot. I salute his courage and his service. Thank you, Paul.

In the early 1990’s a simple notion was floated by two guys, Fred and Mike. Actually, Fred Treacy and Mike Wiersema. They explained that great organizations are great because they excel at one of three things: The first is innovation. Take Google or Apple as archetypes. Both are wildly and consistently innovative. They take risks. They are curious. They like change. And they’ve built their business models and reputations on that.

The second is customer intimacy – being astonishingly in tune with the customer – which brings to mind great service companies like Nordstrom.

And the third is operational excellence, which is all about getting results, getting problems solved, and getting it done. Think Fed Ex. Think Wal-Mart.

Over the last 15 years, their theory has morphed. It is now argued that, frankly, being good at one of these three isn’t quite enough. A great organization must be all three: Innovative. Intimate with customers. Operationally excellent.

So, where does that put GSA?

For six decades we have been a huge operational machine, in the business of supplying to and housing the federal government. There isn’t a corner of the government that we haven’t touched – from serving the war fighter in Afghanistan, equipping the scientists measuring climate change, assuring that judges in courthouses have a venue that enhances justice, supporting our former President, housing the members of Congress in their home districts, and supplying state and local governments in times of disaster. The Executive, the legislative, the judicial, state, and local.

Read her full speech here.

Written by cdorobek

February 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA procurement guru Drabkin to retire

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The DorobekINSIDER has confirmed that David Drabkin, GSA’s deputy chief acquisition officer, will retire from government on March 8.

Drabkin confirmed that he will join the private sector, but he didn’t want to name the company just yet.

David Drabkin

Drabkin is one of the most respected people in the government procurement community and has had a distinguished career.

Mr. Drabkin has served GSA for nearly 10 years including a tour on detail to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

He served on the Acquisition Advisory Panel (SARA Panel), Deputy Program Manager, Pentagon Renovation Program, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition Process and Policies), Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition Reform) (ODUSD(AR)); and the Director, Regulatory Reform and Implementation, ODUSD(AR), where he served as the Project Manager for FASA Implementation.

He is a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y.

Written by cdorobek

February 18, 2010 at 11:49 AM

DorobekINSIDER: OPM’s Berry: Use flexibilities to deal with snowpoclypse type events

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Following up on OPM’s note earlier this week, OPM Director John Berry issued a memo yesterday thanking employees for bearing with the snowpoclypse in recent weeks, but he also lays out the first recommendations for dealing with such events — in DC and elsewhere — in the future.

From his letter:

As the largest employer in the DC area, the Federal Government can play a significant role in minimizing traffic gridlock by continuing to encourage maximum use of telework and adjusting alternative work schedule days off and credit hours (if available). Within the bounds of any applicable union agreements, agencies may want to allow their employees to adjust their start and stop times to further stagger arrival and departure times in order to further ease traffic congestion. Agencies may also accommodate requests by employees who do not currently do so to utilize alternative work schedules…

Temporarily increasing the number of employees operating under these flexible work schedules may also cut down on gridlock. You may want to also remind your employees of the advantages in commuting cost and time they may have by using carpools and DC area mass transit.

I encourage each of you to maximize use of these flexibilities and be creative in helping your employees adapt to these unusual conditions while still doing the work of the United States Government.

Read Berry’s full letter here:

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

February 18, 2010 at 11:25 AM

DorobekINSIDER: OPM: DC back at work, but… let’s be careful out there

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The federal government in Washington, DC will open under a normal schedule on Wednesday — the first time since Feb. 4. But OPM Director John Berry has let us know that supervisors also need to remember that it still isn’t really normal here in the Washington metro area.

From Berry: “As we ramp up back to normal operations, we aren’t losing sight of the fact that many out there will still have difficulties – and hopefully they and their supervisors can work them out satisfactorily.”

Here is the memo sent to chief human capital officers tonight:

Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5:23 PM
Importance: High

To All Chief Human Capital Officers, Deputies and Staff:

Please be advised that OPM has determined that on Wednesday February 17, 2010

Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area will be OPEN and operating on a normal schedule.

As we return to normal operations tomorrow, please convey to your managers and supervisors that there may be continuing situations where federal employees are facing difficulties in returning to work, or returning to work on time. We ask that they be mindful of these circumstances and attempt to utilize as much flexibility as is appropriate in handling these situations on a case by case basis, until the snow is no longer an impediment.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in these efforts.

Written by cdorobek

February 16, 2010 at 6:38 PM

DorobekINSIDER poll: What should the federal government’s operating status in DC be for Tuesday?

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Many people in the Washington metro area are dreading the thought of being on the roads Tuesday, particularly after the nightmare that was DC traffic on Friday. And on Friday, OPM Director John Berry defended the decision to open government at the end of the week.

It is snowing once again here in Washington — yes, again. And while forecasters are saying that this storm is really tiny compared to what the nation’s capital went through last week, the roads still aren’t back to normal yet.

As we have done over the past week (herehere…) — we are asking you what you would do if you were OPM Director John Berry:

Written by cdorobek

February 15, 2010 at 4:19 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Turnbull to be acting Energy CIO; Energy Deputy CIO Staton also retiring

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The DorobekINSIDER has confirmed that William (Bill) Turnbull, currently Energy’s Associate CIO for Advanced Technology and Systems Integration, will be the acting chief information officer at the Energy Department after Tom Pyke retires on Feb. 26.

The DorobekINSIDER told you last month that Pyke was going to retire after 45 years of public service.

In a note to Energy Department CIO staff, Pyke said that Energy Department deputy CIO Carl Staton will also be retiring.

Here is the note Pyke sent to staff:

William (Bill) Turnbull

To Everyone in OCIO —

I am forwarding to you (below) the Deputy Secretary’s announcement that Bill Turnbull will be Acting CIO after I retire. My last day in the office will be February 26. I will be assisting Bill during the next few weeks as he prepares to assume his new responsibilities.

As you know, Carl Staton long ago developed plans to retire in early April. Carl will continue as Deputy CIO until he retires. While he is still here, Carl will also be assisting Bill Turnbull with his new duties.

I know that all of you will enjoy working with Bill over the next several months, while the search goes on to select a permanent CIO.

Regards to all,


… and the memo from Energy Department chief operating officer Daniel B. Poneman:

February 11, 2010




As many of you know, after 46 years of distinguished Federal service, Tom Pyke will be retiring from DOE on February 26, 2010. As of March 1, 2010, Bill Turnbull will serve as the Department’s Acting Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Also beginning in early March, Dr. Rosio Alvarez, the Chief Information Officer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will provide the Secretary and me with advice to help with the transition and with advancing IT reform across the DOE enterprise.

Please give Bill and Rosio your full support in the coming months as we transition to a permanent CIO.

And Turnbull’s bio:

As Associate CIO for Advanced Technology and Systems Integration, Bill Turnbull leads the Department of Energy in the exploration of new information capabilities in support of the Energy mission.

Before joining the Department of Energy, Bill served as Deputy CIO and Director of the High Performance Computing and Communications Office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Among his duties were leading the integration of NOAA’s three high performance computing centers, moving the agency onto advanced networks, and exploring advanced information technologies including visualization and collaboration technologies. Bill also spearheaded NOAA’s drive for IT security.

Bill has represented NOAA or participated in subcommittees and working groups of the NSTC Committees on Technology, Science, and Environment and Natural Resources.

Throughout his career, Bill has worked to harness advanced technologies to improve mission performance. At NOAA, as a member of the NOAA Corps, he maintained and operated a Univac system aboard the NOAA Ship Discoverer, introduced the first RISC systems at the Climate Diagnostics Division, and designed and implemented the first sea—going network while commanding the NOAA Ship Surveyor.

Bill has been honored with the Department of Commerce Silver Medal and Bronze Medal, the NOAA Administrator’s Award, the NOAA/EEO Spectrum Award, and the NSF Antarctic Service Medal along with other IT-related recognition.

Mr. Turnbull received his B.S. in Physics from the University of Illinois, Master of Public Affairs from the University of Washington and is a graduate of the National Defense University, IRM College Advanced Management Program. He is a member of IEEE and the ACM. He is married to Susan and together they enjoy scuba diving and family.

Written by cdorobek

February 15, 2010 at 2:38 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Most read items from Feb. 7-13: Snow and the OPM director

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It was a record traffic week — and not just on the streets of Washington, DC on Friday, although there was that too. It was a record Web traffic week. The DorobekINSIDER — and — saw record Web traffic last week. That was in part due to the snow — you wanted to find out if feds were going to be working. But the traffic numbers were also thanks to OPM Director John Berry. Agree or disagree with Berry’s decisions last week — and throughout the week, people seem to have done both — Berry was out front explaining how and why he made the decision.

But we — I — also want to thank you — our listeners and Web viewers. I know it sounds quaint or silly, but Team Federal News Radio works very hard to provide you with information that helps you do your job better. That seems so easy — but often things are easier said than done.

And so… the most read stories from the week of February 7-13, 2010… on the, on the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, for Mike Causey, and for…

…from the

  1. DorobekINSIDER poll: Did OPM make the right decision to open DC offices on Friday?
  2. DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO
  3. DorobekINSIDER poll: What should be the federal government’s operating status for FRIDAY?
  4. DorobekINSIDER: Back to work for feds in DC, OPM defends closure decisions
  5. DorobekINSIDER poll: What should be the federal government’s operating status for Thursday?
  6. DorobekINSIDER: Johnson sworn in as GSA administrator — telework style
  7. DorobekINSIDER: DC snowpocalypse delays swearing in ceremony for GSA’s Johnson
  8. DorobekINSIDER: Most read 1.31 through 2.6: GSA’s Johnson, snow, pay raise, cyber-war
  9. DorobekINSIDER: Welcome to the new GSA administrator, Martha N. Johnson
  10. DorobekINSIDER: GSA’s Martha Johnson to be sworn in Tuesday, Feb. 9
  11. DorobekINSIDER: Why Brown’s ‘feds make double the private sector’ comparison is no
  12. DorobekINSIDER: Johnson sworn in as GSA administrator — by phone
  13. DorobekINSIDER: GSA will have to wait until at least Thursday for any Johnson action
  14. DorobekInsider: Most read for the month of January 2010 – Germain, TSP, pay freeze and Causey
  15. DorobekInsider: Sen. elect Brown: Feds making 2X the private sector
  16. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  17. DorobekInsider: Johnson’s GSA nomination moves one step closer with cloture
  18. DorobekInsider: White House names Leeds as GSA’s new acting administrator
  19. DorobekInsider EXCLUSIVE: NASA scores Gardner as the new Goddard CIO
  20. DorobekInsider: Lieberman, Collins want Networx delay answers
  21. DorobekINSIDER: Could Tuesday be GSA nominee Johnson’s V-Day?
  22. DorobekInsider: USDA gets approval for employee buy outs from OPM as mega-management reorg continues
  23. DorobekInsider: USDA gets early out approval from OPM as mega-management reorg continues
  24. DorobekInsider: What you read for the first week of November 2009 on DorobekInsider, the Daily Debri
  25. DorobekInsider: New GSA deputy administrator is finally official — Susan Brita to start Feb. 2
  26. DorobekInsider recommended event: Operation Jump Start VI – helping transitioning soldiers

… from the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

  1. OPM: No decision yet on government’s operating status for Tuesday
  2. Analysis: Snow, closings set historic record for federal government
  3. OPM: Federal government closed Tuesday
  4. Analysis: Will the federal government open on Friday?
  5. OPM Director Berry doesn’t regret decision to open
  6. OPM makes call on snow closings
  7. Make way for emergency feds, personnel
  8. Will the D.C. region become a federal disaster area?
  9. Former OPM director weighs in on difficulty of snow closing call
  10. OPM still to make decision on snow closing Tuesday
  11. What’s happening with former NSPS feds?
  12. OPM wants to change sick leave rules
  13. Causey: To open or not, that is the question
  14. Analysis: Johnson becomes GSA administrator
  15. Earnings down for many TSP accounts in January
  16. QHSR review complete
  17. How are you spending your “snow holiday?”
  18. DHS issues new RFP on national cyber attacks
  19. Section: Daily Debrief Blogs
  20. Getting more feds to telework might be harder than it sounds
  21. Government contractors and the living wage
  22. Congress closes for most of the week
  23. Snow tests COOP plans, teleworking
  24. Bonasaro hints Senior Executive Service might be in trouble
  25. Friday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  26. Now a good time to review where your money is in the TSP
  27. Monday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  28. OPM hopes to lure more military vets into civilian agenices
  29. Senate to consider cybersecurity bill passed by House; Chinese crackdown on hackers engenders skepti
  30. Census ad campaign causes controversy
  31. Smart Grid gets cybersecurity focus
  32. TSP participants can now move money from other accounts
  33. Feds, agencies not taking advantage of teleworking opportunities
  34. Teleworking is not just about working at home
  35. Contractors wonder about Rep. Murtha replacement
  36. All TSP funds see gains in 2009
  37. Wednesday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  38. Tuesday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  39. Friday Fun Day!
  40. How OPM will make its decision to close government if there’s snow
  41. On pay raises and what feds really earn
  42. OMB kicks of Tech-Stat program to watch troubled IT programs
  43. Thursday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  44. Congress will debate TSP contributions this session
  45. Virtual USA enters second phase of regional operating pilot
  46. Security and privacy in the cloud; NIST gets cybersecurity funds
  47. National media monitors local storm
  48. How Martha Johnson will do as GSA administrator
  49. DOT looks at why plane was on tarmac for 7 hours

…for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. NSPS Staffers: Separation Anxiety
  2. No-Cal COLAs Gag Reflex
  3. Beltway Blizzard Tactics
  4. Survivors of the Storm Speak
  5. Respiraling NSPS Converts
  6. Snow Day: May Day!
  7. Retirees $250 Tax Credit
  8. GS 15 Pay: The Frozen Chosen
  9. The Roth Option & Your Estate
  10. Diet Pay Raise/No-Cal COLAs
  11. 2011 Pay Raise: Coulda Been Worse
  12. Winter Closings: Very Early Warning
  13. Life After NSPS: A GS 14, Step 15?
  14. Big Career Changes Coming at You
  15. Long Term Care Premiums: Ripoff or Reality?

… and from

  1. Berry: ‘We’ll make the call this evening’
  2. Federal government operating status for Wednesday up in air
  3. Will federal government open on Friday?
  4. Federal government closed on Thursday
  5. Federal government open on Friday, Feb. 12
  6. Federal government closed on Wednesday
  7. Federal government closed Monday
  8. No word yet about federal government status on Thursday
  9. OPM’s Berry gets Hill thumbs up on fed closing call
  10. Teleworking becomes top of mind for federal government
  11. OPM’s decision to open gov’t. questioned after horrific commute
  12. Snow collapses Smithsonian storage warehouse
  13. OPM Director Berry opens up about making the closing call
  14. OPM Director Berry says open/close status to be made after 6 p.m.
  15. Waiting for word from the federal government
  16. TSP Snapshot: Look past the thorns of January
  17. Air Force sets new date for tanker RFP
  18. USPTO battles Snowmageddon with telework
  19. DHS to increase the number, diversity of senior leaders
  20. OMB to dash(board) to better management
  21. Federal government closed Dec. 21st due to snow
  22. OPM says safety is paramount in government closure decisions
  23. Fed contracting community waits to see who fills Murtha’s shoes
  24. VA sets rules for set-aside program
  25. Federal News Radio Reports
  26. CRS finds federal CTO role remains undefined
  27. FTC hires AT&T to secure Internet gateway
  28. DHS CIO taking on IT governance
  29. Mikulski asks OPM about retirement system troubles
  30. Mobile apps, TechStat lead OMB’s IT evolution
  31. OPM Dir. Berry opens up about making the closing call
  32. Is there a central travel office in DHS’ future?
  33. Two working groups to improve federal spending data
  34. Fed insurance carriers meeting health IT standards
  35. Senate: Con artists are using stimulus scams to fleece citizens
  36. QHSR: Crowdsourced and complete
  37. Government needs to define cyber war
  38. Martha Johnson confirmed as GSA Administrator
  39. OMB finally details broad management doctrine
  40. TSP Snapshot: Your money, working hard
  41. Some insurance companies leave Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan as Open Season approaches
  42. GSA releases FY 2010 per diem rates
  43. DHS completes roadmap for change
  44. White House proposes 1.4 percent pay raise
  45. OPM shops for a culture change
  46. Federal Teleworking: A look at the numbers
  47. White House IT budget request lower in 2011
  48. Agencies to justify not using cloud computing to OMB
  49. State reviews priorities and policies
  50. Army to test enterprise e-mail for all of DoD

Written by cdorobek

February 14, 2010 at 9:39 AM