Agencies Rush to Aid Hurricane Sandy’s Relief Efforts — Plus DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insight’s DorobekINSIDER

  • The Office of Personnel Management estimates that one-third of the almost 300,000 federal employees, including emergency staff in the DC metro area telework when government buildings are closed because of weather. That’s a HUGE increase. So is Hurricane Sandy the catalyst for telework? Click here for the full recap.
  • This blog is the Part II of a two part series on the award-winning government website, AustinTexas.gov. The website results from the input of Florance, IT staff, Code for America fellows, internal feedback, and the citizen’s feedback. Click here for the full recap.

But First:

Many of us here in the DC region are back at work today. But our thoughts are still with the millions struggling without power or water in parts of New York and New Jersey.

NASA has created a video showing Hurricane Sandy’s birth as a Tropical Storm in the Caribbean, its swell into a full blown Hurricane and its destructive sweep across the East Coast.

The stunning simulation spans from Oct. 21 to Oct. 30 and was based on images taken by NASA’s GOES 13 and GOES 15 satellites, which beam down images from 22,000 miles up.

DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories You Need To Know

  1. Thousands of federal employees are converging on recovery efforts in the aftermath of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy. Federal News Radio reports the work spans 10 states and the District of Columbia. New York City and New Jersey appear to have gotten the worst of the storm damage. Administrator Craig Fugate said FEMA pre-positioned more than 15 hundred generators along the East Coast. Health and Human Services moved medical assistance teams to affected areas. FCC and the Energy Department sent teams to consult with local authorities on restoring telecommunications and electricity. Fugate said FEMA has more than $3 billion in its relief fund. He said that was enough to get the agency through the emergency.
  2. The Thrift Savings Plan is back up and running after Hurricane Sandy delayed processing transactions on Monday and Tuesday. Federal News Radio reports, weather shut down the TSP along with U.S. Markets. But now that Wall Street plans to reopen today, the TSP expects to process all those transactions. It will do so by the end of the business day at today’s closing share prices.
  3. President Barack Obama hasn’t forgotten about his plan to merge business-focused agencies. He told MSNBC he would pursue it after the election, if he wins. He wants to have a “one-stop shop” with a single Secretary of Business instead of multiple agencies doing similar things like helping companies get loans or export overseas. Obama said Congress is pushing back against the idea but not for ideological reasons. He said lawmakers wanted to retain their respective jurisdiction over the various parts of the government. Last winter, he pitched the idea of consolidating the Small Businesss Administration, the Commerce Department and four smaller economic agencies into one.
  4. The White House wants to know, what exactly senior acquisition leaders do. Federal News Radio says agencies have until Jan. 15 to update their definition of that job. Joe Jordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said the acquisition leaders need to stick more closely to the laws and regulations in place. A recent Government Accountability Office report found that many acquisition leaders pay too little attention to acquisition management itself. The Chief Acquisition Officers Council plans a December meeting to discuss the matter.
  5. Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund is providing grants of up to $500 to feds hurt by Sandy. You can apply for help online or via telephone. But the organization said it needs help too. It recently handed out more than $80,000 in emergency grants to feds in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Isaac. It said that depleted its funds. It’s looking for donations now. Go online or call 1800-323- 4140. But be patient if you can’t get through right away. FEEA expects phone lines to be busy.
  6. FCW highlight’s a health group’s cyber legislation model. The health care industry has joined the conversation for cybersecurity legislation, urging Congress and federal officials to protect the nation’s computer networks. National Journal writes, “HITRUST (the Healthcare Information Trust Alliance) argues that its system of helping companies collaborate with even their competitors is a model for lawmakers or the White House to consider before enacting new laws or regulations.”
  7. And on GovLoop. Have you checked out our new BYOD guide. It’s our one-stop shop for all things mobile. The guide talks about numerous best practices and ways to overcome common challenges for public sector agencies looking to implement BYOD initiatives.

Watercooler Items

  • The National Journal asks is Hurricane Sandy a tipping point in the election? One really has to ask the question: When you can manage to have the keynote speaker at the Republican convention — the man who accurately predicted that Mitt Romney would turn things around in the first debate — publicly expressing gratitude to you and tagging along while you conduct a very presidential-looking tour of disaster areas just six days before the election, is Mother Nature on your side?

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