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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  • Accept resumes from applicants, instead of requiring them to submit complex applications through outdated systems.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 USAJobs.gov – 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: http://www.opm.gov/hiringreform/

* 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 DorobekInsider.com, on the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, on Mike Causey’s Federal Report, and for FederalNewsRadio.com

…from the DorobekInsider.com

  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. DorobekInsider.com: 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 USA.gov 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 FederalNewsRadio.com

  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

MEMORANDUM FOR ALL GSA EMPLOYEES

FROM: Martha N. Johnson
Administrator

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

DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of April 3-10: The iPad, TSP, and your thoughts about government HR

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The most read stories the week of April 3-10, 2010… on the DorobekInsider.com, on the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, on Mike Causey’s Federal Report, and for FederalNewsRadio.com

…from the DorobekInsider.com

  1. The DorobekINSIDER iPad review: Will you see them in government?
  2. DorobekINSIDER: Assessing transparency and open government
  3. The DorobekINSIDER Reader: The open government policies and plans
  4. DorobekINSIDER: Is that a ‘for sale’ sign at market research firm Input?
  5. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of March 28-April 3: DOD CIO and the Guam capsizing question
  6. DorobekINSIDER: The 2010 Fed 100 Awards Gala: Eagle winners, and I blush
  7. DorobekINSIDER: WH makes it official: Takai nominated for DOD CIO post
  8. DorobekINSIDER: Federal News Radio Book Club: Daniel Pink’s Drive — the liner notes
  9. DorobekINSIDER: Jerry Lohfink, head of the USDA’s National Finance Center, to retire
  10. DorobekINSIDER: Listen to the Federal News Radio Book Club discussing Daniel Pink’s DRIVE
  11. DorobekINSIDER: Get Federal News Radio on your iPhone
  12. DorobekINSIDER: The Federal News Radio Book Club book announcement: Drive by Daniel H. Pink
  13. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the month of MARCH 2010
  14. DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO
  15. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  16. The DorobekInsider transparency, openness and data.gov reader
  17. DorobekINSIDER: Off-topic: Back from a great visit to the Galapagos Islands
  18. A night for the children — The 2009 AFCEA Bethesda NIH Children’s Inn benefit gala
  19. DorobekINSIDER: DOD issues its much anticipated Web 2.0 policy

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

  1. TSP funds continue to gain in March
  2. Feds share thoughts about blizzard response with OPM Director John Berry
  3. Congressman Hank Johnson worried about Guam’s stability
  4. HReinvented: Will federal HR reforms work this time?
  5. Are code writers the weakest cybersecurity link?
  6. March TSP snapshot!
  7. Where is the money? We track misallocated funds in the federal budget
  8. Better Buy Project wants your procurement ideas
  9. HReinvented: Reforms should work this time
  10. Department of Energy reveals $100 million Smart Grid training program
  11. How Driven are you? We find out during Federal News Radio’s Book Club
  12. DeVaney shares lessons learned about transparency, openness
  13. Monday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  14. HReinvented: A comprehensive plan is needed for real reform
  15. Devaney shares lessons learned about transparency, openness
  16. Now a good time to review where your money is in the TSP
  17. Comptroller General nominee talks about issues facing GAO
  18. Thursday Afternoon Federal Newscast – April 8
  19. Bill introduced to allow annual leave contributions to TSP
  20. Timeline for TSP’s Roth option discussed
  21. Bob Peck is GSA’s new Commissioner of Public Buildings
  22. Learn the importance of proper estate planning
  23. How the health care law will affect FEHBP participants
  24. Google engaged in cyber fight with Vietnam
  25. More federal cybersecurity fighters needed
  26. Why China isn’t the number one cyber threat to the U.S.
  27. TSP participants could soon invest unused annual leave
  28. Reinventing Security at the Pentagon
  29. Bill requires all agencies to have COOP/telework plan
  30. HReinvented: Ideas for improving the federal hiring process
  31. USPS plan would make dramatic changes
  32. How broadband technology could enhance cybersecurity
  33. HReinvented: USAF takes new approach to training civilians
  34. ‘Inherently Governmental:’ Has the Debate Changed?
  35. Senior Medicare Patrol works to prevent Medicare fraud
  36. OPM’s Berry outlines details of planned hiring changes
  37. TSP measures up to private sector funds
  38. How DoD battles Improvised Explosive Devices
  39. OPM Director Berry furious over federal pay editorial
  40. DHS headquarters at St. Elizabeth’s making progress
  41. Will House healthcare bill affect the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program?
  42. HReinvented: Learning from county governments
  43. Independent analysis of federal and private salary data needed
  44. Feds, on average, earn more than their private sector counterparts
  45. Analysis: DHS changes aviation security standards
  46. Deptartment of Energy reveals $100 million Smart Grid training program
  47. Congressional staffers bring in big bucks
  48. Lessons learned, best practices on telework examined after blizzard

…for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. Are You Under CSRS, FERS or WUD?
  2. Teleworking and Government Shutdowns
  3. HReinvented: Can they handle the truth?
  4. Summit Winners & Losers
  5. Shutdown or Just Bad Hair Days?
  6. No shutdown for nuclear summit next week
  7. About Those Buyout Rumors…
  8. What’s Your Minimum Retirement Age?
  9. Accidents Happen: CSRS vs. FERS
  10. Who’s on FERS?

… and from FederalNewsRadio.com

  1. Feds restrained in their optimism for OPM’s HR reform
  2. TSP Snapshot: Spring into savings
  3. Federal agencies release Open Government Plans
  4. HReinvented: OPM’s new database cuts hiring by 3 weeks
  5. HReinvented: Feds mixed on OPM’s HR reform plans, survey finds
  6. White House ready to reveal identity management plans
  7. Agency pilots help cultivate ‘inherently governmental’ changes
  8. DISA’s Stempfley heading to DHS’s cybersecurity division
  9. OFPP defines ‘inherently governmental’
  10. Air Force moving to global training perspective
  11. HReinvented: Survey finds feds restrained in optimism for OPM’s HR reform
  12. HReinvented: NRC aims to stay on top as ‘best place to work’
  13. HReinvented: Employee unions call for tweaks to the system
  14. OPM to submit hiring reform advice to White House next week
  15. Federal News Radio Reports
  16. Commentary: FMA says hiring reforms must come first
  17. Postal Service prepares to move to five day delivery
  18. GSA releases FY 2010 per diem rates
  19. Legislation could spur XBRL use in government
  20. White House works to change online transactions
  21. Census reminds us all to fill out that form
  22. OMB’s Werfel outlines future for financial managers
  23. OPM’s strategic plan sets roadmap to HR reform
  24. FOSE 2010: Your benefits and the future of the General Schedule
  25. OFPP to refine agency-contractor relationship
  26. OMB’s Zients stakes out acquisition reform plans
  27. OPM to create pools of qualified applicants
  28. DHS may not have the funding to work together
  29. OPM’s Berry considers turning telework on its ear
  30. OPM’s Berry deals out first set of civil service reform suggestions
  31. White House pushing agencies toward better customer service
  32. Agencies taking different paths to transformation
  33. When to consider moving your TSP funds around
  34. New standards for federal building security coming
  35. OPM to host workshops on hiring
  36. DISA wants collaboration marbled through enterprise
  37. TSP Snapshot: Your money, working hard
  38. Lieberman calls for more staff at OMB
  39. Care of Gulf War vets gets second look
  40. OMB shutting down financial systems office
  41. OMB’s Kundra stakes out new e-gov approach
  42. OMB outlines shift on FISMA
  43. Federal government closed on Thursday
  44. Accountability? There’s a dashboard for that!
  45. Administration to set new vision for ID management
  46. OPM relaunches jobs website
  47. Contractor integrity, performance to face higher level of scrutiny
  48. Agencies to justify not using cloud computing to OMB
  49. Coast Guard HQ at St. Elizabeths gets full speed ahead
  50. GSA to unveil database to track vendor misconduct

Written by cdorobek

April 10, 2010 at 5:23 PM

The DorobekINSIDER Reader: The open government policies and plans

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When there are big events, I like to pull together resources in one place — and, of course, this has been open government week — the Office of Management and Budget issued a series of policies, while agencies issued their open government plans.

Federal News Radio’s Max Cacas reports on the plans and policies:

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You can find Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s ongoing coverage of the open government initiative here.

Before the plans were released, I posted DorobekINSIDER: Assessing transparency and open government.

The top level resources:

* The DorobekINSIDER reader from May 22, 2009 on the open government and transparency initiative — yes, this all is a work in progress

* The White House open government site, which has a lot of good information but buries links to agency open government plans in the open government dashboard.

* OMB director Peter Orszag blog post: OMB and Open Government, which includes a link to the four OMB open government policies — also listed below — and to OMB’s open government plan.

* White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog post by Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform:
Open for Change, which he says will “strengthen our democracy and promote accountability, efficiency and effectiveness across the government.”

* GovLoop has a great chart of all the agency open government plans

OMB policies

* Social Media, Web-Based Interactive Technologies, and the Paperwork Reduction Act [PDF] [Flash version]

* Information Collection under the Paperwork Reduction Act [PDF]

* Increasing Openness in the Rulemaking Process – Use of the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) [PDF]

* Open Government Directive – Federal Spending Transparency [PDF]

Discussion about the policies and open government:

* Sunlight Foundation’s Ellen Miller: Idling in the driveway: “Sigh. I feel like a disappointed parent.”

* Sunlight’s Jake Brewer has told open government advocates:

Put simply, it’s increasingly clear government is not going to become more open and transparent without extraordinary public pressure. And WE are going to have to be the ones to put that pressure on them.

You can help right now by joining our campaign for open government and signing the pledge to demand all public government information be available ONLINE and in REAL-TIME.

http://PublicEqualsOnline.com

* GovLoop has a fascinating discussion, “What Do You Think about OMB Soc Media and PRA Guidance?”
Much of that discussion has revolved around the Paperwork Reduction Act — and a strong frustration that it really hinders agencies flexibilities.

A sample of some of the discussion:

This is fairly far from awesome. I’d actually label it fairly disappointing. Not only are both documents written to be as vague as possible (the PRA primer, for instance, spends most of its text simply repeating statute), this doesn’t really get us where we need to be…

More disappointing from my standpoint, it keeps in place the notion that citizen interaction with the government is essentially a “burden” and still codifies the position that significant interaction with the public should be minimized (this is clearly contrary to open government).

The discussion has spurred me to actually print out the Paperwork Reduction Act and read it for myself to get a sense of what it actually says. My sense is that some of what OMB is trying to do is work within the constraints of the law — a law enacted in the early 1980s before hardly anybody even had e-mail addresses.

* More on the Paperwork Reduction Act and its role from OnDotGov.com: A Few Things on the New Paperwork Reduction Act Guidance

* GovLoop also has a discussion on the open government plan: Open Gov plans cheers and jeers

* GovTwit’s blog: Open Government Day brings new guidance from OMB

* InformationWeek: Government Social Media Restrictions Eased
The guidance makes it easier for agencies to use social media and requires steps to ensure better rule-making and spending transparency.

* TechPresident’s Nancy Scola: Use Social Media Freely, White House Tells Agencies [April 7, 2010]

* TechPresident’s Micah Sifry: Open Govt: Does the Govt Know What the Govt Knows? [April 7, 2010]: “Let’s remember that announcing a plan isn’t the same thing as getting the job done”

* Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy: Major Milestone Reached in Open Government Initiative: “We should recognize that the 120 day mark is really just a starting point, not an endpoint.”

Meanwhile, how would you grade the Obama administration’s open government initiative so far:

Previous DorobekINSIDER readers:

* The DorobekInsider transparency, openness and data.gov reader [May 22, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider reader: Obama cyber policy review [May 29, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider Reader: National Security Personnel System recommendations [August 31, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider Reader: Veterans Day [November 11, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider reader: Howard Schmidt as cybersecurity coordinator [December 23, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider Reader: Martin Luther King Jr. [January 18, 2010]

DorobekINSIDER: Assessing transparency and open government

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Last weekend, open government advocates gathered in Washington, DC for the second Transparency Camp — an un-conference, which is one of these events where bright people come together and decide what they want to talk about. Read the Twitter feed from that event by checking out #tcamp2010 — and even the Washington Post wrote a story about the event this year.

I could only be there on the second day, but there were great folks with great ideas…

I have been fascinated by the Obama administration’s transparency and open government initiative. Among previous posts:

The DorobekInsider transparency, openness and data.gov reader [May 22, 2009]

DorobekInsider: The first draft from the Open Government and Innovations conference [July 21, 2009]

DorobekINSIDER: On NewsChannel 8 talking government openness and transparency — the liner notes [February 25, 2010]

Signal magazine column: Why Transparency Matters [May 2009]

Signal magazine column: Contract Transparency Poised to Open Up [September 2009]

And O’Reilly media has just published a book Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice. I’ve just started it, but… the early parts of the book are well worth reading.

And this coming week will be a big week for the open government as the Office of Management and Budget and agencies will issue their open government plans.

There were several interesting aspects that came out of transparency camp.

* Most agencies get transparency: Most of the employees I know get transparency and open government. They understand why it matters and how it can help. In theory, they get that one of the powerful parts of transparency is the acknowledgment that more wisdom exists outside any organization than it does inside an organization. That being said, there is a difference between theory and practice. At Transparency Camp 2010, there were a number of staffers from Capitol Hill, which, by and large, is horrible at transparency. And some of the Hill staffers even suggested that if bills are created in a more open framework, well, that’s what staffers do. And the argument is that they know more then… well, those people out there.

Even still, the theory of transparency is one of those ideas that goes against the grain. It’s akin to the Mike Causey example that he uses for investing: When a car starts sliding on ice, you’re supposed to turn into the slide. It just doesn’t feel natural. In many ways, transparency is unnatural.

Furthermore…

* Transparency and open government still isn’t fully defined: As I said last year, transparency continues something akin to a Rorschach test — everybody sees transparency very differently. Each person has very different ways of defining what transparency means and how it can be implemented. A lot of that is good at this point — it is important to note that we are still very early in this and everybody is still learning. But it will be interesting to see how it actually gets implemented.

* Transparency and open government moves a lot of cheese around… and I’ll take a simple example: Freedom of Information Act Requests. It has always seemed to me that this is a process that is just made for openness and transparency. Why can’t all FOIA requests be posted in a public fashion… and agency responses be posted online. One reason: We journalists don’t want others knowing what we are working on.

* Open government and transparency needs to help government operate better: If this is going to take hold — if this is going to be real, I continue to believe that it needs to help agencies do their jobs better.

* Open government and transparency aren’t just a bludgeon: In many ways, Recovery.gov is the poster child for transparency and open government. In fact, Earl Devaney, the chairman of the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board told Federal News Radio that the transparency of the site actually has helped the Recovery Board operate more effectively. But it has been difficult at times. We remember the stories about the recovery dollars that were listed in phantom congressional districts. And everybody went nuts. The fact is that incorrect data was probably always there. We just didn’t know it before. Now we know — and it has been fixed. In fact, that is the power of open government, transparency and collaboration. Yet too often we use it as a bludgeon.

The fact is, this is new — and there are going to be mistakes.

But there are real opportunities out there. One of my favorites is the Better Buy Project. This is an innovative initiative by GSA, the National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project, and the Industry Advisory Council. And the goal is to build a better acquisition process by tapping the wisdom of the crowds, something I had discussed last year. They are actually trying it. The Better Buy Project started in the GovLoop Acquisition 2.0 community, then evolved to a way of having people suggest ideas (hear GSA’s Mary Davie talk about it on Federal News Radio) … and it is now a wiki where you can actually help GSA build a better contract both for Data.gov and for the replacement of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service’s mainframe computers. More on this later this week, but… it is such a remarkable way of seeking people’s ideas.

We’ll be talking to the folks at GSA who are leading this project later this week. You can also read more on the Better Buy blog.

There are many examples and ideas how transparency and open government can help agencies do their jobs better. It is fun to watch!

DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of March 28-April 3: DOD CIO and the Guam capsizing question

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DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of March 28-April 3: DOD CIO and the Guam capsizing question

The most read stories for the week of March 28-April 3… 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: WH makes it official: Takai nominated for DOD CIO post
  2. DorobekINSIDER: The 2010 Fed 100 Awards Gala: Eagle winners, and I blush
  3. DorobekINSIDER: Is that a ‘for sale’ sign at market research firm Input?
  4. DorobekINSIDER: Off-topic: Back from a great visit to the Galapagos Islands
  5. DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO
  6. DorobekINSIDER: The Federal News Radio Book Club book announcement: Drive by Daniel H. Pink
  7. DorobekINSIDER: Get Federal News Radio on your iPhone
  8. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the month of MARCH 2010
  9. DorobekINSIDER: Jerry Lohfink, head of the USDA’s National Finance Center, to retire
  10. DorobekINSIDER: Federal News Radio Book Club: Daniel Pink’s Drive — the liner notes
  11. DorobekINSIDER: Listen to the Federal News Radio Book Club discussing Daniel Pink’s DRIVE
  12. DorobekINSIDER: Disconnecting from the grid with the Blue Footed Booby
  13. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  14. DorobekINSIDER: DOD issues its much anticipated Web 2.0 policy
  15. DorobekINSIDER EXCLUSIVE: GSA’s Jim Williams to retire from government after 30-plus years
  16. DorobekINSIDER explainer: That Census letter announcing the Census form is coming

… from the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

  1. Congressman Hank Johnson worried about Guam’s stability
  2. March TSP snapshot!
  3. Is your job in danger of being outsourced?
  4. Where is the money? We track misallocated funds in the federal budget
  5. Monday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  6. First TSA nominee foresees tough confirmation process
  7. Wednesday Afternoon Federal Newscast – March 31, 2010
  8. Bill introduced to allow annual leave contributions to TSP
  9. How Driven are you? We find out during Federal News Radio’s Book Club
  10. Bill requires all agencies to have COOP/telework plan
  11. How the health care law will affect FEHBP participants
  12. Debate over cyber warfare intensifies
  13. TSP participants could soon invest unused annual leave
  14. How will health care reform impact you?
  15. Section: Daily Debrief Blogs
  16. WH looks at changing federal financial management
  17. DHS aims to strengthen U.S. – Mexican border
  18. OPM Director Berry furious over federal pay editorial
  19. Timeline for TSP’s Roth option discussed
  20. TSP launches plan to help financial fitness
  21. ‘Inherently Governmental:’ Has the Debate Changed?
  22. Your ID card could soon be much more valuable
  23. Will House healthcare bill affect the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program?
  24. DHS headquarters at St. Elizabeth’s making progress
  25. NRC open bids for its biggest-ever contract
  26. A cutting-edge Web technology for federal financial reporting
  27. White House launches transparency dashboard
  28. Lessons learned, best practices on telework examined after blizzard
  29. Sen. Reid’s amendment would shield FEHB from public option
  30. Reinventing Security at the Pentagon
  31. White House scrambles to find new TSA nominee
  32. Bob Peck is GSA’s new Commissioner of Public Buildings
  33. Jim Williams visits WFED on last day in office
  34. USPS plan would make dramatic changes
  35. Va. Gov wants to lure Northrop to NoVa
  36. Opportunity Tracking: ITSS 4
  37. Earnings down for many TSP accounts in January
  38. IBM develops new way to protect FAA from cyberattacks
  39. Feds, on average, earn more than their private sector counterparts
  40. TSP measures up to private sector funds
  41. Cybersecurity risks exist when filing income taxes
  42. OMB kicks of Tech-Stat program to watch troubled IT programs
  43. Secret FBI files and safer Toyotas
  44. Tips for staying safe at work
  45. Agency heads prepare for FY 2011 proposals
  46. How broadband technology could enhance cybersecurity
  47. FOSE 2010: What the future might hold for the General Schedule system
  48. Feds take a back seat to WMATA in Metro security
  49. Cybersecurity bill changes government response to threats

…for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. Health Care Reform & Your FEHBP
  2. Who’s on FERS?
  3. Accidents Happen: CSRS vs. FERS
  4. About Those Buyout Rumors…
  5. What’s Your Minimum Retirement Age?
  6. Guestwriters in the Sky
  7. FEHBP: 26 is the New 22
  8. Cadillacs, Dependent Kids & the FEHBP
  9. Federal Pay/Inflation: Who’s Ahead
  10. Federal Pay Cut: What A Good Idea!

… and from FederalNewsRadio.com

  1. OFPP defines ‘inherently governmental’
  2. White House ready to reveal identity management plans
  3. Agency pilots help cultivate ‘inherently governmental’ changes
  4. Lieberman calls for more staff at OMB
  5. National Finance Center defaulting to e-pay stubs
  6. Postal Service prepares to move to five day delivery
  7. Accountability? There’s a dashboard for that!
  8. Obama nominates three key administrators
  9. White House pushing agencies toward better customer service
  10. OMB’s Werfel outlines future for financial managers
  11. DHS may not have the funding to work together
  12. Agencies taking different paths to transformation
  13. OPM’s Berry considers turning telework on its ear
  14. Legislation could spur XBRL use in government
  15. GSA’s Johnson is passionate about teleworking
  16. Care of Gulf War vets gets second look
  17. White House works to change online transactions
  18. Fitzgerald readies the CIO University for the next generation
  19. Census reminds us all to fill out that form
  20. Federal News Radio Reports
  21. OFPP to refine agency-contractor relationship
  22. OPM to submit hiring reform advice to White House next week
  23. Berry lays out priorities in OPM budget
  24. GSA releases FY 2010 per diem rates
  25. OMB shutting down financial systems office
  26. Health care reform and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program
  27. Obama nomiates three key administrators
  28. OMB outlines shift on FISMA
  29. FOSE 2010: Your benefits and the future of the General Schedule
  30. Care of Gulf War Vets Gets Second Look
  31. OMB’s Zients stakes out acquisition reform plans
  32. OPM’s strategic plan sets roadmap to HR reform
  33. FY 2011 budget work on hold
  34. Coast Guard HQ at St. Elizabeths gets full speed ahead
  35. Senators want to tighten up inherently governmental definition
  36. Mobile apps, TechStat lead OMB’s IT evolution
  37. OMB to give agencies plan to modernize services
  38. Bureau of Labor Statistics responds to federal pay in the media
  39. Administration to set new vision for ID management
  40. Agency cybersecurity reporting to get makeover
  41. GSA reorganizes to better green the government
  42. New standards for federal building security coming
  43. Contractor integrity, performance to face higher level of scrutiny
  44. DHS marks new milestone with St. E’s campus groundbreaking
  45. GSA’s Johnson wants more customer intimacy
  46. OMB’s Kundra stakes out new e-gov approach
  47. What’s next for Open Government Initiative
  48. Congress turns up heat on DoD business systems
  49. OPM culling telework data from snow storms
  50. NMCI to NGEN = 43 months Navy says

Written by cdorobek

April 4, 2010 at 2:30 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Listen to the Federal News Radio Book Club discussing Daniel Pink’s DRIVE

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There are sometimes when you look forward to something so much, you can’t help but be disappointed. Then there are exciting moments when you look forward to something and it actually exceeds expectations. And you may be able to tell from my posts — and my talking about it on Federal News Radio — that I was excited about this book.

Today’s “meeting” of the Federal News Radio Book Club totally exceeded my expectations.

We were discussing the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink… and for the discussion, we were joined for the Book Club by participants: In studio, in addition to Amy Morris and myself, will be Daniel Pink, the author of the book, and Tim McManus, vice president for the Partnership for Public Service… and on the phone, Steve Ressler, the founder of GovLoop and co-founder of Young Government Leaders. (Ressler actually had my favorite comments — it’s about 35-minutes in.)

Next week, Federal News Radio beings a week long series — HR Reinvented. Throughout the week we will look at innovative ways to fix the recruitment, hiring, retention, firing and retirement processes in the federal government. And the motivation issue plays a significant role in these issues.

I hope you enjoy the Book Club discussion as much as we enjoyed it in the studio.

You can hear the Federal News Radio Book Club here…

You can find more here… Or download the MP3 here.

Previous Federal News Radio Book Club “meetings”:

* The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. Read more and hear the book club meeting here.* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew, Harold L. Sirkin, and John Butman. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” with Andrew and Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra find a link to the book club session here.

Written by cdorobek

April 2, 2010 at 5:50 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Jerry Lohfink, head of the USDA’s National Finance Center, to retire

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The DorobekINSIDER has learned that Cyrus G. “Jerry” Lohfink, the director of the National Finance Center, will retire in August.

“I have decided to retire for one primary reason; I feel that it is time,” he said in a note to his staff on Monday. “It is time for me to address other interests and challenges. It is time for NFC to benefit from new leadership and perspectives. And, as we have often discussed, nothing improves until something changes.”

Lohfink is widely respected for his work at the National Finance Center, particularly for the work around Hurricane Katrina. NFC is located in New Orleans and had to shift resources around during Hurricane Katrina. For that work, he was recognized in 2006 with Federal Computer Week’s Fed 100 Award for that work — and in the issue, we called him them the Master of Disaster.

Lohfink has led the National Finance Center since 2003 after John Ortego retired from government.

The National Finance Center is a fascinating organization for a number of reasons. First, NSF was doing shared services before shared services was cool. But it is also critically important organization to feds given that they are the payroll system for many agencies. The NSF provides integrated Payroll/Personnel System and provides all the necessary related support services for the payroll process. NSF is a fee-for-service organization, meaning that it operates similar to the private sector — if you don’t satisfy customers, you lose the business. According to USDA, the National Finance Center has 1,100 Federal employees and an additional 100 contract employees with annual revenues of exceeding $160 million. NFC disburses in excess of $100B annually, pays 620,000 Federal employees biweekly, performs recordkeeping services for more than 4.2 million enrollees in Federal health benefit programs, and provides a variety of human resource, administrative, and information technology services for 172 Federal organizations.

Jerry and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for more than 30 years. They have three children. They live in Slidell, Louisiana.

Here is his note to staff:

Subject: For Your Info

What a year already! The New Orleans Saints are World Champions (and pigs have flown)! The City of New Orleans is transitioning to new leadership! FMMI is up and serving more and more customers! NFC continues to improve services and gain new business! And there are still 9 more months remaining in the year for things to happen.

One such future happening this year, albeit a far less notable one, will be my retirement from Federal Service. I have just informed Mr. Jon Holladay, Acting Chief Finance Officer, of my intention to retire from Federal service at the end of August 2010. I am sending you this note because I wanted to be the first to share this information with you.

I have decided to retire for one primary reason; I feel that it is time. It is time for me to address other interests and challenges. It is time for NFC to benefit from new leadership and perspectives. And, as we have often discussed, nothing improves until something changes.

I have been very blessed to have had 33 years of Federal Service which I have tremendously enjoyed; especially my 27 years at NFC! Federal Service has been very good to me and my family. My time at NFC has introduced me to many opportunities, challenges, and terrific people – leadership, peers, customers, stakeholders, business partners, etc. But foremost in my daily thoughts are you, the “CAN DO!” employees at the NFC, who have been my inspirations, role models, and folks that I tremendously admire! Always maintain that positive attitude! I just do not think that each of you truly appreciates the important role you play and the terrific job you do at making the Government’s administrative and financial business better!

I look forward to continuing to work with you over the next 5 months to better the organization, improve customer satisfaction, and continue to grow the business. We continue to be in a great period of service improvement and business growth. We must keep the momentum going! There are great years ahead for the folks at the NFC! You are making it so.

I tremendously appreciate what each of you does on a daily basis for your organization and its customers! I am proud to say that I am your colleague and number one cheerleader. THANK YOU for making me a better person from having served with each of you! Who dat? YOU DAT!!

Sincerely,

/s/ Jerry
CYRUS G. LOHFINK
Director, National Finance Center

Here is his bio from USDA:

Jerry Lohfink is director of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s National Finance Center in New Orleans, La.

From May 1998 until his selection for this position Lohfink served as deputy director of NFC. During his nearly 20 years at NFC he has also served as associate director of its Information Resources Management Division, its financial management officer, chief of its Financial Information Branch, a senior financial analyst, and a program analyst.

From 1978-84 he served with the Agricultural Research Service at its [then] regional office in New Orleans. During his tenure there he worked as the assistant for finance to ARS’s [then} regional administrator, the assistant budget and fiscal officer, a supervisory budget analyst, and a supervisory accounting technician.

John Ortego, the previous director of NFC, is now president and owner of Ortego & Associates, a business consulting firm based in New Orleans.

Written by cdorobek

March 31, 2010 at 10:13 AM