Weekly Round-up: May 24, 2013

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

This week: Portals.

Dan Chenok

John Kamensky

  • DATA Act Reintroduced. A bipartisan bill to apply lessons learned from tracking federal Recovery Act funding to all government funding, has been introduced in both the House and Senate. The Data Transparency Coalition says the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA) would standardize all federal grant, contract, and loan information so it could be readily shared, and it would institutionalize the Recovery Operations Center that sifted through agency spending data to find patterns of fraud.
  • SES Bonuses Under Fire. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller reports: “GSA's inspector general and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) released separate, but related, reports that show [that GSA] abused its authority to give Senior Executive Service (SES) members bonuses.” He also reports: “McCaskill yesterday introduced legislation (S. 986), along with Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), to prohibit performance awards in the SES during sequestration.”
  • World Bank President Promotes “Science of Delivery.” The Washington Post reports that World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has invited the UK’s Sir Michael Barber to help educate World Bank staffers on Barber’s approach to getting things done in government, which he calls “deliverology.” Barber’s advice would radically change the way the Bank currently does business, much like it did when he worked for Prime Minister Blair.
  • Government Reform Book Reviews. The Washington Post this past Sunday had a good book review on a pair of new government reform books: Cass Sunstein’s new book, “Simpler” and Gavin Newscom’s book, Citizenville. Both offer fresh ideas on improving services and better engaging citizens.
  • Caught in Red Tape. Federal employee Joe Bednar writes a poignant op-ed in Federal Times about the increasing burden of red tape in his agency, the Defense Logistics Agency, which he surmises is symptomatic of what is going on in other agencies, as well.
  • Cutting Red Tape: The White House announces an initiative to cut red tape in construction projects using federal funding. Based on a successful pilot over the past year, the goal is to cut in half the time needed to gain federal permits and approvals to undertake bridge, road, and other construction.
  • A-127 Streamlining. OMB is working with Treasury to update policies related to financial management systems, reports Jason Miller with Federal News Radio. These updates should streamline about 550 requirements into about 60.

Michal Keegan
DoD chooses interoperability over integration for new e-health record system
The Defense Department still is a long way from picking a successor to its aging electronic health record system. But the Pentagon said Wednesday that whatever it settles on, it's committed to open data standards, and proprietary solutions are off limits. And it's also leaving its door cracked to adopting a system akin to that used by the Department of Veterans Affairs. A month ago, Defense secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a pause in DoD's health care record modernization plan, telling Congress at the time that he didn't think the department "knew what the hell it was doing." That pause is now over. In a memo Tuesday, he told the department to move forward with a full and open competition to select a new health record system. He also made Frank Kendall, the department's top acquisition official, personally in charge of the effort.

Congress pressures agencies to speed up office consolidations
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is feeling the heat for moving too slowly to consolidate more than 1.2 million square feet of office space. Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management want to know why the NRC spent millions of dollars to renovate office space that it may never use.

OMB reworking financial system requirements to focus on outcomes, not inputs
The administration is expected to release a new directive in the coming weeks to update Circular A-127, which defines how agencies operate their financial systems.

Can open data change the culture of government?
The public relations hook of the administration's open data push ties into its economic potential. Todd Park, the federal chief technology officer and one of the most enthusiastic evangelists for open data, claims that unlocking the global positioning system for commercial use helped generate $100 billion in economic value. At a recent conference, he told a luncheon audience that the government is "sitting on a treasure trove of economic opportunity with the data we hold."

The Business of Government Radio Show: Conversations with Authors: Professor Harry Lambright

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.

W. Henry Lambright is Professor of Public Administration, International Affairs, and Political Science and Director of the Science and Technology Policy Program at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He teaches courses at the Maxwell School on technology and politics; energy, environment, and resources policy; and bureaucracy and politics.

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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