Weekly Round-up: March 15, 2013

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

This past week, I attended SxSWi, at which there were numerous panels and meetups of interest to Gov20. The three most prominent strains that I saw developing centered around open government (meaning both opening government data and government processes), expanding government into the digital space, and conversations about the role of government in providing/protecting identity information online. Here are the articles that I read this week that spoke to these conversations:

Dan Chenok

John Kamensky

  • OMB Releases First Performance Progress Update. OMB’s Shelley Metzenbaum blogs that OMB and the agencies have released their first quarterly update on their progress on implementing cross-agency and agency-specific priority goals. A new law requires OMB and agencies to assess progress toward high priority goals on a quarterly basis. The baseline progress, for the period ending September 30, 2012, was posted in mid-December. The new progress assessments, for the period ending December 31, 2012, were posted this past week.
  • GAO Highlights Adverse Effects of Budget Uncertainty. GAO submitted testimony for the record for a congressional hearing on the impact that continuing resolutions have on agency operations. At the same hearing, IBM Center report author, Dr. Phil Joyce, testified on this topic, basing his testimony on a report he did recently for the Center! He observed in his testimony (and report) that a key element would be for Congress to pass a budget. . . He told me there weren’t many senators at the hearing!
  • It rained for Sunshine Week. Well, only towards the beginning of the week. Then it cleared! However, that didn’t deter a coalition of Open Government advocates from releasing an assessment of the Administration’s Open Government commitments it made at an international summit in late 2011. The assessment shows progress being made, with opportunities for improvement (sounds like a GAO report!)
  • Bloomberg Challenge Award Winners. Here’s a story about the 5 cities (out of 300) that won in the “mayors challenge” contest sponsored by New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Michael Keegan

New FAS commissioner plans fixes for cost avoidance problems
Companies who have dragged their feet on paying their Multiple Award Schedules program fees can expect renewed pressure. Thomas Sharpe, the new commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service at the General Services Administration said he and other FAS leaders will work to solve the problem, which an Inspector General audit highlighted.

DOD says joint health records program will move forward
Although the joint Defense Department-Veterans Administration health records program recently came under renewed scrutiny after an announced change of course, DOD officials insist that a system for sharing electronic health data on troops still has a green light.

OMB debuts quarterly performance updates
The Obama administration has released its first-ever quarterly progress update on areas that need performance improvement through the attention from senior leaders. Shelley Metzenbaum, associate director for performance and personnel management at the Office of Budget and Management, said agency leaders have set 103 near-term, implementation-focused priority goals. The administration has also picked 14 cross-agency priority goals that require multiple agencies’ collaboration.

DHS cyber executive Weatherford leaving
The merry-go-around of the Homeland Security Department’s cyber executives turns once more. Mark Weatherford, the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity, is leaving. An internal email obtained by Federal News Radio said Weatherford’s last day will be April 12 after he accepted a job in the private sector. The email didn’t mention which company Weatherford would be working for.

Agencies suffering reductions in services even before furloughs occur
Sequestration-related furloughs may still be at least a month away, but agencies already are feeling the effects of budget cuts. Border Patrol agents, Transportation Security officers and many other federal employees are beginning to experience major changes in how they do their jobs. Both Border Patrol agents and TSOs have been told by their respective agencies — Customs and Border Protection and the Transportation Security Administration — that one way they will deal with cuts from sequestration is by ending overtime for workers.

The Business of Government Radio Show: Bernard K. Melekian

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations.

Bernard K. Melekian is the Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), leading an organization responsible for working closely with the nation’s state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to enhance the safety of communities by advancing community policing. Director Melekian is committed to using COPS Office programs and resources to help law enforcement build relationships and solve problems, which he views as the cornerstone of effective community policing.

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 businessofgovernment.org and by searching our audio archives.

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