Happy Thursday — Chris Dorobek is off this week. So I will be filling in. We are going to do the show a bit differently. Each day we will feature a Dose of Dorobek — a shorter five minute interview that focuses on helping you do your job better and tips for navigating around GovLoop.
On today’s program
- One National Institute of Health scientist defied convention to help stop the transmission of AIDS to children. Her work has made her a finalist to the Service to America Medals — the Oscars for Federal Employees. You’ll meet her. Click here for the full story.
- And in your Call to Action — the General Services Administration launched a program to root out waste fraud and abuse — and saved millions — could your agency do the same? Find out how they did it.
The 3 stories that impact your life for Wednesday the 22nd of August, 2012
- A 15-minute training video that cost the Department of Veterans Affairs joins the list of examples of excessive spending at two agency conferences. The 52,000 dollar video spoofing General George Patton was designed to tell attendees about the agenda. But now Federal News Radio says Congress is demanding answers and accountability. And VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is just as upset. He says the parody should never have been produced. He called it a completely unacceptable misuse of taxpayer funds.
- Meanwhile, the Defense Department held 64 conferences that cost more per attendee than the infamous General Services Administration Western Regions conference. Representative Darryl Issa says his staff analyzed thousands of documents, and found a total of 153 expensive federal conferences over a five-year period. Federal News Radio says Issa has sent letters demanding information to several departments and agencies, including the DoD, Agriculture, Interior, Health and Human Services and Education. Details of the GSA conference led to the resignation of Administrator Martha Johnson.
- And speaking of money problems — the Congressional Budget Office is warning lawmakers to end their budget stalemate. Otherwise, the nation could plummet into another recession. Federal News Radio says 2 million Americans could lose their jobs by the end of next year. Analysts said sequestration, those automatic spending cuts set to kick in in January, combined with already-scheduled tax hikes would total $500 billion, and that would be too much for a struggling economy to handle.
Call to Action — we are going to highlight one agency or department that is making a big difference — and ask if their success can be applied to your agency too?
- First up is the General Services Administration. They went on a hunt for great ideas and came back with $5 million in savings. GSA asked employees to suggest ways to cut costs. The staff voted. Now administrators plan to implement the top five ideas. One of the cost cutting measures was to cut newspaper and magazine subscriptions. GSA is creating a website to let vendors share similar ideas. So what do you think? Could your agency launch a cost cutting hunt?
Coming up tomorrow on GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER
- We had the GSA conference gate — now the Department of Veterans Affairs is facing a similar conference scandal. We’ll get the inside scoop.