Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Archive for the ‘poll’ Category

DorobekINSIDER poll: What should be the federal government’s operating status for Thursday?

leave a comment »

Washington, DC is pretty much paralyzed today — again, after being pummeled by snow storm after snow storm.

Luckily, I live near Federal News Radio 1500 AM — so I’m able to talk to work. That being said, even that relatively short 1.2-mile trek was torturous this morning. (Assuming I have kids, it will be one of the stories that I tell my kids.)

The federal government is closed for the third day running today — and DC feds closed early on Friday in anticipation of the storm this weekend. Federal News Radio’s senior correspondent Mike Causey told us that is really unprecedented.

Earlier this week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management and the guy who has to make the call as to whether the federal government is open or not. And we asked him about that decision. It always strikes me that it is one of the toughest decisions because it is so easily second guessed. As Berry told us, there is a real cost to closing the federal government in DC. But there can also be extreme costs to keeping it open.

The difference these days is that so many people can — and are — mobile workers in one way or another. As one person tweeted, there really aren’t any snow days because most people can — and are — connected in one way or another. It is an important difference. Not everything can be done — but work is being done.

So the question now — what will the federal government do for Thursday?

What say you?

Written by cdorobek

February 10, 2010 at 1:20 PM

DorobekInsider: Federal News Radio Countdown for January 29, 2010: What are the top government stories for the week?

leave a comment »

Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose each Friday features the Federal News Radio Countdown where Francis Rose counts down the top stories for the week from a panel of experts. And we ask you too — What are the top gov stories for the week for January 29, 2010?

The panel of experts this week include:
* John Salamone, Senior Consultant for Federal Management Partners and former Executive Director of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council at the Office of Personnel Management
* Julie Myers Wood, President of ICS Consulting and former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
* Amy Morris, Co-anchor of Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

What do you think?

Written by cdorobek

January 29, 2010 at 2:38 PM

DorobekInsider poll: Grade President Obama’s first year — from a insider’s perspective

leave a comment »

Today, of course, marks the anniversary of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States — and there are all sorts of assessments of his first year going on right now. (Some of the assessments have been muted because of the coverage of the Haiti earthquake and, of course, the Massachusetts Senate race.)

But what is your assessment of the Obama administration’s first year — the government community? The insiders who have seen presidents come and go…

So it’s time to grade.

How has President Obama done overall?

How has President Obama done on technology issues and open government?

How has President Obama done on management, government performance and procurement issues?

Written by cdorobek

January 20, 2010 at 2:59 PM

DorobekInsider: What are the top government stories of the week?

leave a comment »

Each Friday, Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Francis Rose is asking the question: What are the top stories of the week? And at 2p ET on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose, he culls three experts to offer their thoughts.

Here are the stories that his guests suggested this week — vote for yourself or suggest your own.

Written by cdorobek

January 15, 2010 at 12:29 PM

DorobekInsider poll: What gov buzzwords should be retired in 2010?

leave a comment »

I have to admit that I’m borrowing this idea from the PR Sara Evans blog — she asked the top 10 buzzwords that should retire in 2010. But government uses a ton of buzzwords, so… the DorobekInsider poll asks:

What gov buzzwords should be retired in 2010? I’ve suggested some — you can vote or suggest your own.

But Steve “Mr. GovLoop” Ressler tweeted a good response: How about asking what buzzwords should we create and push in 2010?

We’ve suggested a few — collaboration, gov 2.0, information sharing, knowledge networks, network ideation, social synergies… suggest others and vote

Written by cdorobek

January 5, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Posted in poll

DorobekInsider EXCLUSIVE: USDA undertakes extensive management reorg – downgrading the CIO, CFO, and seeking early retirements

leave a comment »

Agriculture Secretary Thomas Thomas J. Vilsack last week rolled out a major management reorganization of the agency that downgrades the roles of the USDA chief information officer and chief financial officer. As part of the plan, the agency has also requested the Office of Personnel Management grant USDA permission to proceed forward with early retirements.

The plan: Create a uber-USDA “Departmental Administration” — including operations such as procurement, IT, human resources and finance.

The goal: A more efficient organization, according to a series of memos obtained by’s DorobekInsider.

Combining the various operations like procurement, information technology, human resources and finance into a unified USDA management area will eliminate duplicate functions and organizational layering; improve quality of services and communications; and streamline processes and improve transparency to customers. Ultimately, effective USDA management means effective results for taxpayers and the people USDA serves.

Here is the memo that was sent out to USDA personnel:

FROM: Alma C. Hobbs
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration

DATE: October 1, 2009

SUBJECT: Creation of the New USDA Departmental Management

Every day, USDA programs touch people across the country. We have a responsibility to make sure that these programs meet the needs of the American Public and that they are managed in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Over the years, there have been many changes in Departmental Administration creating duplication of functions, fragmentation and organizational layering. This has created inefficiencies and reduced the effectiveness of the Administrative programs. We have an opportunity now to realign these programs, strengthen integration of activities and create an organization that will increase our capacity for accomplishing mission critical work.

We are pleased to announce the creation of the USDA Departmental Management organization. This new organization will replace the current Departmental Administration organization, effective today. The reorganization will improve the management of USDA and reflect Secretary Vilsack’s desire to transform USDA into a model organization. On July 29, the Secretary approved the organizational structure for the new Departmental Management. On September 8, 2009, the Secretary issued a Memorandum to effect the changes necessary to implement the reorganization beginning October 1, 2009. There will be staffing changes effective October 11, 2009, the date of the first pay period of the new fiscal year.

We need your assistance to make this effort successful. Improved integration of management support activities at the Departmental level will move us collectively towards achieving a model organization, positioned to meet the present and future needs of our programs. This transformation is a tremendous opportunity for us to decrease redundancy, increase efficiency, and improve employee morale, and for all of us to make better use of our resources.

We would also like to reiterate Secretary Vilsack’s point that no employee will lose their employment, grade, or commuting area as a direct result of this reorganization. We have also engaged Unions to ensure that bargaining unit employees are represented throughout this process. As we move to the new organization, all employees will be treated fairly and consistently.

Leadership will schedule meetings with employees soon to discuss the reorganization and any necessary realignments or reassignments. These meetings will also provide opportunities for employees to ask questions. Also, we are establishing a web site to go live on Friday, October 2 ( that will provide a list of frequently asked questions and updates on our progress. A Fact Sheet, Frequently Asked Questions, Secretary Vilsack’s June 18 letter, and an approved Organizational Chart are included for your information.

We are also pursuing Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments (VSIP) authority from the Office of Personnel Management to present as many positive options as possible during this transformation. A fact sheet on this topic is also included for your review.

As we implement this new organization, we are going to need everyone’s support to make this reorganization a success. We encourage you to stay engaged to ensure a seamless transition that benefits not only our organization, but the American taxpayers as well.

It has been clear that USDA has been in management chaos for some time — but most people believe that was the result of specific personnel, not the structure. (The Bush administration has combined the CIO and CFO job one person — Charles Christopherson — and the agency is still struggling to recovery from the senior people who managed to escape.

I certainly hope that the Obama administration isn’t following a model where they come in and spring a reorganization on employees without asking for ideas? There are also questions about how USDA manages to dodge the CFO Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act, which require that agency CFOs and CIOs respectively report directly to the secretary?

Here is the new USDA organization chart:

View this document on Scribd

I should note, the items mentioned in the memo from the USDA Web site — I’m guessing that it is an Intranet site, so most of us can’t access those documents. Therefore, I have posted them below:

* USDA management reorganization fact sheet… or here

* USDA management reorganization frequently asked questionsor here

* Secretary Vilsack’s June 18 letter

Of course, I’d love to get thoughts from people who have been there and done it — is this the right move for USDA? Post your comments… and we’ll even open the DorobekInsider poll seeking your assessment of the USDA reorganization.

Written by cdorobek

October 17, 2009 at 6:30 PM

DorobekInsider poll: The Bush administration — an insider’s assessment

leave a comment »

White House photo

White House photo

So there are only 7-days left in the Bush administration. President Bush offered his own assessment of his administration during his final meeting with reporters yesterday. [Read the transcript hereRead the administration’s self-assessment here…  So, after nearly eight years, what do you think? This is your chance to grade your boss… and to offer insights to the new team coming in about what went right — and what didn’t.

I’ll post my over all assessment next week, but… I’d love to see your review and critique. We are grading the Bush administration as manager. As we know, most management issues transcend politics — and event, to a significant degree, transcend policies. Some of our best bosses are people that we disagreed with.

I’ve created a poll for you — feds — to grade the Bush administration on the management issues of the past eight years. There is a lot to review and complie… IT policies… how the Bush administration led OMB… did it link OMB’s “M” to OMB’s “B”… the e-government initiatives… the lines of business… competitive sourcing…

There are so many issue…

But I ask you to give an over all assessment… grade away… and post your thoughts as comments… what did the Bush administration do well — and what did not go well…

Written by cdorobek

January 13, 2009 at 6:30 AM

What are the biggest stories for government — 2008?

leave a comment »

The week between Christmas and New Year and we get a parade of lists — movies, books, music… and biggest stories from the past year. And in a few days, we’ll start trying to predict what is ahead — which is always a foolhardy exercise.

After the break, I have posted the Associated Press’s list of the biggest stories of 2008 — many obvious ones like the election… and some that we never would have predicted, like the economy or Sarah Palin.

What are the biggest stories impacting government for the past 12 months?

I’m following Team Obama’s use of Google Moderator to give you an opportunity to help decide. The simple question: What are the biggest stories for the government in 2008?

I have posted a few obvious stories — but feel free to add — and vote.

Here are three that I’ve put in there:

* The election of Sen. Barack Obama to be president of the United States
* The transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration
* The economic turn — and what it will mean for feds

That’s just a start, of course. Suggestions not only welcomed, but invited.

After the break, read AP’s full list of the top stories of 2008.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

December 29, 2008 at 6:31 PM

Posted in DorobekInsider, poll poll: What do you think of Team Obama’s team?

with 2 comments

Another day — more names… but we’re starting to get a sense of what the Obama administration is going to look like. The WSJ’s Gerald Seib has a fascinating piece in the paper this morning headlined Obama Team takes two shapes.

Here is how’s Today’s Paper summed up the story:

The WSJ‘s Gerald Seib says Obama is “giving the country two administrations for the price of one.” While Obama’s first round of high-profile appointments were heavy on Washington veterans who are seen as largely moderate, the second wave include “the kind of folks who look like the fabled ‘agents of change’ promised in the campaign.” These newer faces are concentrated in areas of energy and the environment, signaling that’s where Obama wants to implement changes, while he stuck with known commodities in the economics and national security fields to signal continuity in a time of war and an economic crisis.

So… what’s your sense of the team of rivals so far?

Written by cdorobek

December 19, 2008 at 7:35 AM

Posted in poll, Presidency, Transition

DorobekInsider poll: Is Government 2.0 real?

leave a comment »

Written by cdorobek

October 4, 2008 at 5:51 AM

Posted in Government 2.0, poll

Tagged with ,