Government Responds to Hurricane Sandy — Plus the DorobekINSIDER 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • What are the biggest challenges facing state and local cio’s? Are they the same as the challenges facing the federal government? Maybe so. TechAmerica has surveyed hundreds of cio’s. Click here for the full recap.

But first: Hurricane Sandy Prep

The President has pledged to cut through bureaucracy to get aid to states and counties in need of federal assistance.

The President says, “My message to the governors, as well as to the mayors, is anything they need, we will be there,” Obama said in an appearance at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington. “And we’re going to cut through red tape. We’re not going to get bogged down with a lot of rules. We want to make sure that we are anticipating and leaning forward into making sure that we’ve got the best possible response to what is going to be a big and messy system.”

Government Executive says FEMA announced that Mobile Emergency Response Support personnel were in place or on the way to Delaware, the District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania to provide secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, along with operations and logistics support to state response operations.

For a full list of federal and state closures check out Federal News Radio’s Closure Guide. They will continue to update the site as infomration from OPM comes in.

NOAA is heading up the national storm center. They’ve got the latest information from the National Weather Service. You can also track the storm on their mobile app. You can download it here.

The USDA has also re-released their guide for food safety.

  • Keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer. An appliance thermometer will indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food.
  • Make sure the freezer is at 0 °F (Fahrenheit) or below and the refrigerator is at 40 °F or below.
  • Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers after the power is out.
  • Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately-this helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Plan ahead and know where dry ice and block ice can be purchased.
  • Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in the freezer for use in the refrigerator or in a cooler. Freeze gel packs ahead of time for use in coolers.
  • Group food together in the freezer—this helps the food stay cold longer.

You can also follow hurricane Sandy’s movements on Twitter with #sandy.

The Four stories that impact your life

  • Hurricane Sandy has caused the Executive Leadership Conference to be cancelled. This would have been the 22nd annual ELC. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller reports, this is the first time in 22 years the conference has been cancelled.
  • Almost all federal government offices have been shut down today, but the Supreme Court is open for business. Reuters reports, the court will hear arguments over a 2006 law allowing the government to monitor the overseas communications of individuals without getting a warrant. The government argues it needs the flexible surveillance power to prevent terrorist attacks. But a large group of attorneys, journalists and human rights organizations say millions of innocent Americans are likely being monitored for no justifiable reason. (Reuters)
  • Think of how much money the government would save by ending duplication. The authors of a new report have thought about it. They say consolidating programs and killing redundant ones could save big bucks. The problem is politicians can’t agree to reorganize the government. The report, in the form of a memo to national leaders, comes from the American Society of Public Administration and the National Academy of Public Administration. Its principal author is Allen Lomax, a retired executive with the Government Accountability Office. He acknowledged that GAO has been harping on duplication for years.
  • Former ambassadors say the State Department needs to boost hiring in a big way over the next four years. Three of them are behind a report from the Stimson Center’s American Academy of Diplomacy. The report says diplomats are taking on more responsibilities overseas, as the military retrenches and foreign-affairs agencies delve deeper into issues like economics and the environment. It says widespread vacancies have “hobbled” both State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. While the report applauds Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for making progress in hiring, it calls those gains “uneven.” It’s bottom line: people are more important that programs. (Stimson)

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