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DorobekINSIDER: Fired VA employee Martinez reinstated by MSPB

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Adair Martinez, who was fired by the Department of Veterans Affairs following a series of scathing inspector general reports alleging sex and lies, has been reinstated by the Merit Systems Protection Board. 

Former VA IT employee Adair Martinez

The initial decision by Judge Lynne Yovino of the Merit Systems Protection Board, handed down Friday, says that Martinez was not given due process — essentially that her Fifth Amendment rights were violated.

The judge determined VA CIO Roger Baker violated Martinez’s Constitutional rights when he pre-judged charges of misconduct made against her by the VA Office of Inspector General, said Kevin Gary Owen, the attorney for Martinez. The Department of Veterans Affairs was ordered to reinstate Martinez to her job as Deputy Assistant Secretary and pay her lost wages and attorneys fees.

The series of IG reports alleged that Martinez, a former high-ranking information technology officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, gave preferential treatment to certain contractors and engaged in nepotism in hiring. The IG reports allege that Martinez took advantage of a relationship with a supervisor for personal gain.

The decision says that VA CIO Roger Baker did not give Martinez a fair opportunity to defend herself. Quoting the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling said, the “core of due process is the right to notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard,” and that the VA did not give Martinez that opportunity.

“In my view, because Baker’s testimony was tainted by his prior review of the evidence and concurrence in the violations, his later claim that he nonetheless provided the appellant with a meaningful opportunity to reply is unavailing.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs must decide whether it will appeal by May 6. 

Read the full ruling — and find links to the VA Office of Inspector General reports — after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

April 5, 2011 at 2:26 PM

DorobekINSIDER: OMB’s government performance self-assessment

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The Obama administration’s chief performance officer self-assessment of how the federal government is doing so far: “I believe we are off to a good start, and that we are developing the momentum required for meaningful, sustained improvements in how the government works for the American people.”

In a memo to the Senior Executive Service from Jeff Zients, OMB’s Federal Chief Performance Officer and Deputy Director for Management, titled, “The Accountable Government Initiative – an Update on Our Performance Management Agenda,” Zients lays out the administration’s management plan — and how the administration is doing so far.

Here is the memo:

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

September 14, 2010 at 9:29 AM

DorobekINSIDER: NASA cyber-security chief Jerry Davis to join VA

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Jerry Davis, the widely respected chief information security officer at NASA, is leaving that agency to join the Department of Veterans Affairs, the DorobekINSIDER has confirmed.

The move had been widely rumored for months, but was just made official when Davis accepted the offer from the VA on Friday.

While NASA has has its own share of cyber-security issues, the challenges at VA are daunting. Not only is VA the second largest agency in government, but it is the poster child for cyber-security problems dating back to that now infamous stolen laptop that was loaded with millions of names and personal information on vets.

Back in 2006, the data on  26.5 million active duty troops and veterans were on the laptop and external drive, which disappeared while in the custody of a Veterans Affairs data analyst in 2006.

While none of those data became public — and it wasn’t a result of a cyber-attack but rather a common house burglary, it has become the most discussed cyber-security event, even more than four years later. And the event cost the agency $20 million in a settlement.

Read more and hear GAO’s assessment of VA’s IT situation here… or read the GAO report here. [PDF]

Davis talking about that on Federal News Radio’s Federal Security Spotlight [July 1, 2010]… and on Federal News Radio’s Federal Drive about changing ways of measuring cyber-security [May 28, 2010]

From NextGov:

[Davis told] his staff on Tuesday to shift their focus from certifying that networks are compliant with a nearly decade-old law to monitoring systems for holes and real-time reporting of threats.
The change is a watershed moment for federal information technology managers, who since 2002 have been required to follow a law that critics say forces IT staffs to spend days filling out reports that confirm technology managers have followed certain security procedures. The law did not require specific actions to secure systems, said opponents of the Federal Information Security Management Act.

Jerry Davis, NASA’s deputy chief information officer for IT security, issued a memo to information system managers informing them they no longer need to certify every three years that their networks are compliant with FISMA, as called for by the law. Instead, they should rely on automated continuous monitoring to find holes that hackers could exploit. The process will remain in effect as long as agencies are required to submit annual status reports for networks and vulnerabilities detected during the monitoring don’t pose unacceptable risk.
Here is Davis’s most recent bio:

Jerry L. Davis is the Deputy Chief Information Officer (DCIO), IT Security for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Jerry’s role is to provide thought leadership and oversee all aspects of Information Security and privacy for the Agency to include the development and implementation of enterprise-wide IT security engineering and architecture, IT security governance and IT security operations capabilities. Jerry’s division also generates IT and data security solutions and services to the Agency’s Space Operations, Science, Exploration Systems and Aeronautics Research Mission Directorates programs and projects, while defending $1.8 billion in annual IT investments.

Previously, Jerry served as the DCIO for the Department of Education overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Department’s enterprise-wide IT infrastructure. During his tenure at the Department, Jerry also served as the Department’s first Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Director, Information Assurance (IA). In this role, Jerry’s teams proactively defended over $500 million dollars in annual IT investments, which supported the $400 billion dollar grants and loans portfolio.

Jerry was one of the principal thought leaders in the design, implementation and management of the District of Columbia’s first city-wide IT Security program and served as the Manager of Wide Area Network (WAN) Security Architecture. Jerry also held positions as a senior security consultant with several Fortune 500 consulting firms, serving clients in the Intelligence Community (IC), Department of Defense (DoD) and federal civilian agencies. Jerry held a staff position with the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Directorate of Operations (DO) for several years. Jerry is a combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps and trained as a Counterintelligence Specialist with focus on Human Intelligence (HUMINT) operations. He holds a masters degree in network security from a National Security Agency (NSA) Center of Excellence in Information Assurance and a bachelors of science in business with a concentration in IT security. Jerry has done doctoral work in the field of information systems and holds the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and Project Management Professional (PMP) certifications. Mr Davis won the People’s Choice Award at the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Region Information Security Executive of the Year and was selected as one of the 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology in 2009.

Written by cdorobek

July 26, 2010 at 8:04 AM

The DorobekINSIDER reader: OPM’s streamlined hiring reforms

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One of the big stories of the past week was the OPM announcement what they termed as “a major overhaul of the Federal hiring process.

These seems to be a very important step — changing the way feds look at the process of hiring. Specifically, doing away with KSAs seems like a important step. I had one friend who was applying for a federal job who said her first relationship with the federal government was with bureaucracy through the knowledge, skills and abilities essays. They represent an odd relic that seemed to serve no real purpose.

The real question, as GovExec editor in chief Tom Shoop rightly points out, is how these reforms actually get implemented — what changes, and how they change.

Here is the rundown of the changes, according to the OPM release:

In his Memorandum, President Obama directed Federal agencies to:

  • Dramatically reduce the time between when a job is announced and is filled.
  • Eliminate essay-s as an initial application requirement. Essays may still be used later in the process. Under the previous system, if an individual applied for five separate Federal jobs, he or she often needed to complete five separate sets of lengthy essays.
  • Use shorter, plain-language job announcements.
  • Accept resumes from applicants, instead of requiring them to submit complex applications through outdated systems.
  • Allow hiring managers to choose from among a group of best qualified candidates, rather than limiting their choice to just three names, through expanded use of “category ratings.”
  • Notify applicants in a timely manner (and at four points in the process) through – eliminating the “black hole” that applicants often feel they when they get no response to their application.
  • Submit a hiring and recruitment plan for top talent to OPM by the end of this year.
  • Have all Cabinet-level and Senior Administration Officials visiting universities or colleges on official business incorporate time to discuss career opportunities in the Federal service with students.

Additionally, the President directed OPM to:

  • Design a government-wide plan for recruiting and hiring qualified, diverse talent.
  • Review the Federal Career Intern Program and, within 90 days, offer a recommendation to the President on its future and on providing effective pathways into the Federal service for college students and graduates.
  • Work with agencies to ensure that best practices are being developed and used throughout Government.

Some other resources around the hiring reforms:

* The OPM’s new hiring reform Web site:

* Remarks by OPM Director John Berryhear the audio from here…. or here:

* The presidential memorandum: Improving the Federal Recruitment and Hiring Process

* The guidance to agencies: Comprehensive Recruitment and Hiring Reform, Implementation of the President’s Memorandum of May 11, 2010

News coverage:

Written by cdorobek

May 16, 2010 at 9:56 PM

DorobekINSIDER on the circuit: Jane Norris; NASA’s Diaz; NASA’s Kemp; former GSAer Bill Piatt; Paul Strasser; and baby tweets

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Catching up on changes throughout the community…

* Federal News Radio’s Jane Norris to join Deloitte

Jane Norris

How does one post about news within my own organization? Radio/TV blog DCRTV reported it first, but… Federal News Radio’s Jane Norris, who has been the morning drive anchor for several years — first with Mike Causey and now with Tom Temin — is leaving the station. Norris will be the federal PR guru for Deloitte as that company continues to grow and expand, particularly in the federal market.

The note to staff from Federal News Radio program director Lisa Wolfe:

Please join me in wishing Jane Norris great success as she departs Federal News Radio and joins the global consulting firm, Deloitte.

Jane’s new role as Public Relations Manager, Deloitte Federal Sector, is an impressive position and one that requires an insider’s knowledge of the federal space.

Jane started with Federal News Radio in August of 2006 and helped us launch the first iteration of our live morning drive show, along with Mike Causey. Since then, Jane has been instrumental in developing the type of news and information targeted to our federal executive audience.

Jane has been an excellent ambassador for the station on the air and behind the scenes and she leaves some very big shoes to fill.

So what next? How is Federal News Radio filling those shoes?

The Deciders have been working on that and, frankly, I don’t it has been all figured out yet. I know there have been a lot of discussions. (Collaboration kudos: Wolfe took a page from the collaboration playbook and asked the entire Federal News Radio team for their ideas. And it was interesting because the buzz around the WFED water cooler was almost complete shock that somebody asked. ‘What do you think she wants us to say?’ was the type of questions people asked. People aren’t always asked. Those kinds of things doesn’t always happen within organizations — particularly media organizations.)

As we say in radio… stay tuned.

* Diaz named NASA’s deputy CIO

NASA CIO Linda Cureton confirmed it on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief, but… it is now officially official — Deborah Diaz has been named the NASA deputy chief information officer.

From the release:

NASA Chief Information Officer Linda Cureton has announced the appointment of Deborah Diaz as the agency’s new deputy chief information officer. Diaz will be a key member of the office that provides information technology services to all staff.

Cureton said, “I’m delighted that we are filling this position with a seasoned, hands-on technical leader who can immediately and seamlessly assist with implementing strategic changes and rebuilding the Office of the CIO.”

Diaz joined the CIO’s office in December as associate chief information officer for architecture and infrastructure and director of the Information Technology Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P), a new initiative to consolidate the agency’s information technology and data services.

Previously, Diaz was the chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, where she developed and implemented $1 billion worth of scientific programs and IT infrastructure. She also served as the senior advisor on IT interoperability and wireless technologies. As deputy CIO at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, she helped transform electronic commerce and managed complex IT initiatives to modernize business processes and data exchange systems.

* Kemp named NASA chief technology officer

Cureton also confirmed word from Nick Hoover at InformationWeek that Chris Kemp, who had been the NASA Ames CIO, has been named the NASA chief technology officer.

Kemp has been spearheading much of NASA’s cloud initiative, including its Nebula initiative.

Selfishly, we hope Kemp will continue his blog in the new post.

* Former GSA CIO Bill Piatt leave the International Finance Center

Bill Piatt, who was the CIO at the International Finance Center, is leaving that post as of May 1.

There has been a major restructuring ongoing at the World Bank where IT is being consolidating into a central unit. So Piatt has decided to move on.

We’ll be watching for Piatt’s next adventure.

* Strasser exits Pragmatics, joins Dynamics Research

Paul Strasser, the former chief operating officer at Pragmatics, has joined Dynamics Research Corp. as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development.

From the release:

Dynamics Research Corporation, a leading provider of innovative management consulting, engineering, and technology solutions to federal and state governments, today announced that Paul Strasser has joined DRC as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development. In this newly formed position Strasser will be responsible for developing new business growth strategies that will further expand DRC’s presence with federal government customers, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, civilian and intelligence agencies. Strasser will report to Jim Regan, DRC’s president and chief executive officer.

“I am very pleased and excited to have Paul join DRC’s senior management team in a critical leadership role focused on accelerating growth in our target federal markets. Paul’s impressive track record of success in developing new business fits well with DRC’s extensive portfolio of flexible contract vehicles and proven solutions. It’s a winning combination,” said Regan.

Strasser has more than 28 years of industry experience in senior management positions focused on developing technology services business with Federal Government customers. Most recently he served as Chief Operating Officer for Pragmatics, Inc. During his tenure of leadership, Pragmatics experienced five-fold organic growth from $31 million in FY 2004 to approximately $145 million, in FY 2010.

Finally, the baby boom…

Last Thursday, GovDelivery’s Scott Burns became a father — for the second and third time. Burns and his wife had twins last Thursday — and they are enjoying a life without sleep.

Meanwhile, GovLoop’s Andrew Krzmarzick and his wife had a baby a few weeks ago — and yes, Issac has a Twitter feed. (No word yet if he is on GovLoop.)

Not to be outdone, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Steve Radick’s yet-to-be-born baby has a Twitter feed@babyradick.

Written by cdorobek

April 28, 2010 at 4:16 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of April 18-24: GSA’s chief of staff, USPS, and the SES

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The most read stories the week of April 18-24, 2010… on the, on the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, on Mike Causey’s Federal Report, and for

…from the

  1. DorobekINSIDER: BREAKING: GSA names Michael Robertson as chief of staff
  2. DorobekINSIDER: GSA clarifies the role of regional administrators
  3. DorobekINSIDER: Is that a ‘for sale’ sign at market research firm Input?
  4. DorobekINSIDER: The role of the CIO – and NASA gives the CIO authority
  5. DorobekINSIDER: A whole new World (Bank) of open data
  6. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of April 11-17: Better Buy Project, TSP, and SESers
  7. DorobekINSIDER: Johnson’s memo re: Robertson: His talent and passion is remarkable
  8. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of April 3-10: The iPad, TSP, and your thoughts about g
  9. DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO
  10. The DorobekINSIDER iPad review: Will you see them in government?
  11. DorobekINSIDER: GSA promotes Darren Blue to agency chief emergency response and recovery officer
  12. The DorobekINSIDER Reader: The open government policies and plans
  13. The DorobekINSIDER Reader: Earth Day
  14. GSA renames regional administrators as ‘regional commissioners’ — the first step t
  15. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  16. DorobekINSIDER: The Better Buy Project: Seeking to build a better procurement process
  17. DorobekInsider: GSA chief of staff Germain steps down, no replacement named
  18. Many changes at GSA – this week, it’s the regional senior executives
  19. DorobekINSIDER: Listen to the Federal News Radio Book Club discussing Daniel Pink’s DRIVE
  20. DorobekInsider: Robertson to be named to head GSA’s OGP and CAO

… from Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

  1. Analysis: Change the role of the Postal Service to keep it viable
  2. TSP fund balance crosses $250 billion
  3. GSA names winner in PSA contest
  4. Cloud computing a threat to civil liberties?
  5. TSP participants roll over record amount of investments
  6. Wednesday Afternoon Federal Newscast – April 21
  7. Open Government Plans only the beginning, says former CIO
  8. Friday Afternoon Federal Newscast – April 23
  9. Study: Password changes are a waste of time
  10. NASA CIO Linda Cureton: Changes at agency positive for IT missions
  11. Public opinion about government at all-time low
  12. Library of Congress to collect Twitter data
  13. Survey: More willing to sacrifice privacy for security
  14. Mike Causey: How to become a millionaire
  15. Google’s Buzz prompts cybersecurity concerns
  16. GSA to update infrastructure for better mobility
  17. Now a good time to review where your money is in the TSP
  18. Timeline for TSP’s Roth option discussed
  19. Agencies greener on this 40th Earth Day
  20. TSP funds continue to gain in March
  21. Zeus virus more powerful than ever
  22. EPA shares lessons learned about Web 2.0 policy
  23. USPS plan would make dramatic changes
  24. Bonasaro hints Senior Executive Service might be in trouble
  25. Bill introduced to allow annual leave contributions to TSP
  26. TSP participants could soon invest unused annual leave
  27. Bonosaro hints Senior Executive Service might be in trouble
  28. OPM continues to modernize federal retirement system
  29. OMB to study how agencies deal with computer systems
  30. Is cyber war a reality . . . or impossible?
  31. TSP measures up to private sector funds
  32. Mother of accused terrorist defends her son
  33. VA opens IT training centers to improve awareness
  34. OPM’s John Berry remembers Oklahoma City bombing
  35. Update: How health care reform will impact you
  36. Preview: Where the NSPS transition stands
  37. As Federal Protective Service turns 15, Congress might change its role
  38. Congressman Hank Johnson worried about Guam’s stability
  39. Devaney shares lessons learned about transparency, openness
  40. OPM uses new assessment tools for potential hires
  41. DHS headquarters at St. Elizabeth’s making progress
  42. HReinvented: A comprehensive plan is needed for real reform
  43. Bill could make sweeping changes to DoD procurement
  44. Use existing tools to comply with Open Government Directive
  45. GAO: DHS makes progress with National Infrastructure Protection Plan
  46. Proposal to revamp federal internship programs for grad students
  47. Senior Medicare Patrol works to prevent Medicare fraud
  48. Analysis: The importance of Open Government
  49. Where is the money? We track misallocated funds in the federal budget

…for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. Roadmap to a Million $$ TSP Account
  2. 3 Steps to a Million $$ TSP Account
  3. Dying To Work: Location is Everything
  4. Teleworking: Anecdotal to Actuality
  5. Is There Life After the NSPS?
  6. Federal Retiree – Social Security Benefits Flatline
  7. TSP Millionaires & Record Rollovers
  8. FEHBP & the Dependent in Your Basement
  9. Civil War in the FEHBP Risk Pool
  10. TSP Balances: Size Counts

… and from

  1. Survey: More incentives needed for Senior Executive Service
  2. Berry is innovating in the OPM basement
  3. OMB shifts to real time cybersecurity monitoring
  4. ATF wants more from mobile devices
  5. Bill calls for pilot program with federalized guards
  6. Pentagon contracting reform bill heads for full House
  7. EADS North America will bid for Air Force tanker contract
  8. White House establishes management advisory board
  9. Senators suggest scrapping virtual fence
  10. Bill to pay furloughed DoT workers is law
  11. Justice moves closer to secure sharing
  12. Feds learning sustainability begins with them
  13. House takes aim on Pentagon contracting reform
  14. Postal Service prepares to move to five day delivery
  15. DoD Cyber Command will take a defensive posture
  16. Lawmakers seek a better presidential transition
  17. Agencies classifying less information
  18. Federal News Radio Reports
  19. More agencies using resumes to bring on SESers
  20. HReinvented: Feds mixed on OPM’s HR reform plans, survey finds
  21. GAO: Postal Service business model not working
  22. Take Your Child to Work Day
  23. Agency cybersecurity reporting to get makeover
  24. OPM takes smaller steps to modernize retirement processes
  25. Agencies engage citizens with social collaboration
  26. NIAC chair details information sharing study mandate
  27. OPM to submit hiring reform advice to White House next week
  28. OFPP defines ‘inherently governmental’
  29. OMB outlines shift on FISMA
  30. White House works to change online transactions
  31. OPM relaunches jobs website
  32. GSA to rethink what success means
  33. DISA’s Stempfley heading to DHS’s cybersecurity division
  34. GSA releases FY 2010 per diem rates
  35. HReinvented: OPM’s new database cuts hiring by 3 weeks
  36. White House ready to reveal identity management plans
  37. OMB to set new real property policy
  38. NIAC gets additional White House study requests
  39. OPM’s strategic plan sets roadmap to HR reform
  40. Agencies to justify not using cloud computing to OMB
  41. FDA Commissioner Hamburg says it’s a time for change
  42. HReinvented: Employee unions call for tweaks to the system
  43. NMCI to NGEN = 43 months Navy says
  44. White House pushing agencies toward better customer service
  45. OPM’s Berry considers turning telework on its ear
  46. Federal agencies release Open Government Plans
  47. Agency pilots help cultivate ‘inherently governmental’ changes
  48. Contractor integrity, performance to face higher level of scrutiny
  49. Google, SalesForce help government transition to the cloud
  50. Mobile apps, TechStat lead OMB’s IT evolution

You can also catch the DorobekINSIDER on this week’s Federal News Countdown, where Francis Rose and his guests count down the top stories of the week for the government.

Find links to our selections of the top stories and hear the conversation here.

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Written by cdorobek

April 24, 2010 at 2:06 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA promotes Darren Blue to agency chief emergency response and recovery officer

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Martha Johnson, the administrator of the General Services Administration, today appointed Darren Blue to be Chief Emergency Response and Recovery Officer in GSA’s Office of Emergency Response and Recovery.

In that job, Blue is responsible for organizing resources within GSA into a central office and providing support and assistance to first responders, emergency workers and recovery teams.

The memo from Martha Johnson:

Darren J. Blue

GSA's Darren J. Blue


FROM: Martha N. Johnson

SUBJECT: Darren Blue Appointed Chief Emergency Response and Recovery Officer

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Darren J. Blue to the position of Chief Emergency Response and Recovery Officer, Office of Emergency Response and Recovery, effective April 11, 2010. He brings to the position a high level of dedication and expertise which will further enable the General Services Administration to fulfill its governmentwide responsibilities in emergency response and recovery.

In addition, Richard Reed, who formerly held the position of Chief Emergency Response and Recovery Officer, has been assigned as Senior Advisor for National Security in the office of the Administrator effective April 11, 2010, and will continue his detail to the White House.

Please join me in welcoming Darren and Richard to the GSA leadership team.

More on Blue’s background:

Since 2008, Blue has served as an integral member of the OERR team including his role in GSA’s presidential transition support. During this effort, Blue led the development of a secure communications facility within the president-elect’s transition office, provided daily support in the facilitation of the national security briefings, and led the development of a continuity of operations plan for the senior leadership of the presidential transition team’s Chicago office.

Before joining GSA, Blue held a number of assignments in the national contingency community, including Deputy Director for Policy within the Defense Continuity and Crisis Management Office, part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and the Emergency Preparedness Branch Chief within the Executive Office of the President of the United States.

Prior to beginning a civilian career, Blue served on active duty for nine years in the U.S. Army, where he held a variety of infantry, special operations and intelligence assignments that included overseas service during combat operations.

Written by cdorobek

April 16, 2010 at 3:20 PM