The Right Hand Giveth Edition: CBG Round-up, 02.14.2014

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

Dan Chenok

John Kamensky

  • In Advance of the Snow Storm. GAO’s Mark Gaffigan presciently testified about extreme weather events this past week before the storm, noting: “Since 1980, the U.S. has experienced 151 weather disasters with damages exceeding 1 billion dollars each.” His testimony focuses on 4 areas where the government could limit its fiscal exposure.
  • VA Finally Able to Speed Claims Work. Jared Serbu, Federal News Radio, encouragingly reports that the Veterans Benefits Administration has finally put new technology on line, and “For the first time, claims personnel in the Department of Veterans Affairs are getting something close to on-demand access to the Defense Department’s medical records they need in order to decide the cases of recently separated military personnel.”
  • Federal Contract Reform? Michael Fischette, executive director of the National Contract Management Association, writes in Federal Times that “developing the most professional workforce possible and working together with all involved communities will provide longer lasting solutions than a piecemeal approach based on additional statute or regulation.
  • Hope for Detroit. Frank Shafroth writes in Governing magazine that an extraordinary coalition of groups is coming together to create a new future for the city, which is in the midst of the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. He notes: “we are experiencing an extraordinary tale of governing — a process that could not stand in starker contrast to what is going on in Washington, with a federal government that voluntarily shut down and clearly is in a state of dysfunction. In Detroit, we are witnessing an outpouring of intergovernmental collaboration, creativity and innovation unlike anything in American history.”
  • Federal Travel Spending Drops, Continues Dropping. Andy Medici, Federal Times, reports that federal travel spending dropped 18 percent in 2013, and spending in the first quarter of fiscal year 2014, it is down about 33 percent.
  • OMB Performance Results Out for 4th Quarter. OMB deputy Beth Cobert blogs: “the Administration is posting performance results on for the 4th Quarter of 2013, which represents the final quarterly update for the 2012-2013 Agency Priority Goals. The agency reports show significant progress across the government in delivering results and positive impact for the American people.”

Michael Keegan

OMB tells Congress sequestration cuts aren’t needed in 2014

In a new report to lawmakers, the White House determined discretionary spending fell $2 billion below the Budget Control Act caps. OMB is required to issue a report to Congress 15 days after appropriations bills are signed into law detailing any spending limits that are more than the allowed caps and would trigger across-the-board cuts. OMB determined the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 restored $44.8 billion to defense and non-defense discretionary spending totals for 2014

OMB Cites Progress On Agency Performance Goals
Agencies are making significant progress meeting established priority goals for achieving savings and efficiency, the Office of Management and Budget reported Thursday. Even when efforts fell short, officials told reporters, the use of data to inform communication among management and staff still improved agency effectiveness from previous years.“Most of the goals were either met or the agencies achieved notable progress,” said Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert as she released the fourth-quarter and final 2013 results on “We’ve seen real gains in programs such as exports and cybersecurity, where coordination across agencies is key to success,” as well as progress in reductions food-borne illnesses and hospital infections, she said.

House bill would make it easier to fire senior execs at VA
The bill would give VA Secretary Eric Shinseki broad authority to remove senior executives “if the secretary determines the performance of the individual warrants such removal.”

HUD’s Danzig to lead OMB performance office
Lisa Danzig is joining the Office of Management and Budget as its associate director for personnel and performance. An OMB official confirmed Danzig is coming to the agency from the Department of Housing and Urban Development where she was the director of strategic planning and management since 2012. She recently moved out the director’s role and into a special adviser’s position. Henry Hensley now is the acting director in HUD’s office, according to its website.

White House cyber framework focuses on flexibility, risk
NIST released the Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Wednesday. Agencies have until May to figure out how it fits into their regulations.

The Business of Government Radio Show: A Conversation with Authors – Lael R. Keiser and Susan M. Miller

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government.

How do outreach organizations assist government agencies in delivery services? What dynamics lead to effective collaboration between these outreach organizations and government programs? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores Collaboration between Government and Outreach Organizations: A Case Study of the Department of Veterans Affairs with Professors Lael Keiser and Susan Miller on A Special Editor of The Business of Government Hour — A Conversation with Authors.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED

If you can’t wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week’s program and all our previous interviews at and by searching our audio archives.

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