Thanksgiving is days away and December is right around the corner. As we start to put a bow on the year it's time to start taking a look back at 2011.
The past 11 months in government have certainly been eventful ones with never-ending threats of shutdown, blistering budget battles, slicing a dicing websites and saying hasta la vista to Osama bin Laden.
Over the next month GovLoop will be looking at the issues that defined government in 2011. We'll be taking your suggestions (put them below in the comments) and using them in our weekly podcast with Chris Dorobek. If you haven't seen the podcast you can listen to past episode here: http://insights.govloop.com/category/week-in-review/
So what were the top issues in government this year?
Move to cloud - government agencies moving email/collaboration to cloud and company's launching government cloud initiatives w/ FISMA compliance
Phase 2 of Gov 2/Opengov - Leadership changes (Kundra/Noveck to Vein/VonRoeckel), cuts in e-gov funds, data.gov evolution, challenge.gov and launch of many contests, gov 2.0 goes from shiny thing to how does it deliver mission results
Mobile - Everyone gone tablet and mobile apps crazy..
The two that seem to come up year after year after year, and particularly in 2011, are the budget, and congres member's ethics violations. The budget talks often overshadow the ethics violations, but these violations need to get more attention than they have been getting.
If you Google "Congress" and "ethics" it may amaze you (disgust you) to see all the various things our leaders do. Dale Kildee (MI), Charles Rangel (NY), Jesse Jackson, Jr (IL), Jim Cooper (TN), John Carter (TX), Phil Gingrey (GA), just to mention a few. A simple, effortless search online can show you more, or you can just visit the website for the Office of Congressional Ethics to see a list of those violators that have been made public: http://oce.house.gov/disclosures.html -- and of course there are many more violators whose names have not yet been made public. This is just for the House. The Senate has it's share too. It's quite disgraceful.
For Federal employees, is there anything more disheartening and iimpactful than the disrespectful attitude that Congress and others have taken towards the hard work and sacrifice Feds have made in their desire to serve the public good? Although this political approach for building resentment for govt employees has been building for many years, it seems markedly more personal, and seems more like "bullying" (a recent concern in American culture) more recently - especially when there are few platforms through which Feds can fight back. Here's an example...
IPMA-HR felt that it should put in its 2 cents by asking Congress to do the right thing and encourage them to pass a bill already before them, recognizing the important work of Federal employees in an unassuming and reasonable, but solemn and meaningful, way... http://www.multibriefs.com/briefs/ipmahr/flag.pdf
Is such a bill asking Congress to be respectful of Federal employees and their families somehow over the line?
Based on GovLoop forums and blog posts, here are four:
1) Shutdown, furloughs and budget cuts
2) Social media use by government (esp DoD policy extension)
3) Pathways and USAJOBS
4) Bin Laden
Andrew, right on. Sometimes you have go outside of "shiny happy people" to what is really happening out there in govland.
From a member to my inbox: The top issue in government in 2011 was lack of jobs for millions of Americans who need and want a job. President Obama is fighting a great fight against the party of NO across the aisle.
From my vantage point:
2. Pay Freeze
3. Budget Cuts
4. Solutions by technology rather than in relation to requirements
5. Cutting Government Work Force talks - the pendulum is swinging over again
According to a quick poll on GovLoop's Facebook page, 8 members agreed that Government Shutdowns were the biggest issue of 2011. One member voted for Data Center Consolidation.
Top issue in government?
The failure of government being put on the backs of the workers (who in most cases, are the best and brightest in the land), and not on all the elected officials and their staffs (who all might be best at something, but running government, is no where near the top).