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How GSA’s getting data anywhere, at anytime, the TSP’s Roth Option and Untangling Big Data

How GSA is getting data, anywhere, at anytime, the TSP’s Roth Option and Untangling Big Data by GovLoop Insights

On the program today for April 23rd, 2012:

  • We’re going to talk about what GSA is actually getting it right. Last week, I moderated a discussion about mobile technologies and how it is changing work. Ahead, we’ll hear from GSA CIO Casey Coleman.
  • A new TSP option. We’ll talk to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board about the new Roth option.
  • We’ll talk about how to untangle the open data debate.

We start off this week in a similar place where we left last week. There is very little good news out there for public servants.

  • Over the weekend, Senator Joe Lieberman (I – CT) called for broader hearings into both the GSA and Secret Service situations. There was even word that one of the Secret Service agents connected with the alleged Secret Service prostitution scandal was staying at the Colombian hotel where President Barack Obama lodged a few days later. Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the 12th Secret Service employee implicated in the events was staying at the Hilton in Cartagena, not the Hotel Caribe, the hotel that has garnered most of the public attention. The agent is now on leave.
  • But the story that is going to have broader implications is the now infamous GSA conference. The Washington Post this morning has a story headlined, GSA under the microscope. And Jonathan O’Connell says that Congress may restructure GSA’s Public Building Service as a result of the conference scandal. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA.), said they may consider trying to do away with GSA altogether. District Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) hasn’t gone that far, but she said the GSA’s dual missions of signing real estate deals and managing contracts are largely unrelated and might require separating.

Chris Dorobek has posted on GovLoop asking for your insights… Again, some of this is over the top and actually reminds me of the whole Get It Right mess — Get It Right is the 2004 program that was created to fix some contracting problems. And years later, there is now a consensus that Get It Right got it wrong.

GSA has been around for more than 50 years. It was created as a result of the Hoover Commission. We’d love to hear your thoughts:

  1. Does GSA need to be fundamentally changed? If so, why? If not, why not?
  2. How should the Obama administration and Congress handle the GSA situation?
  3. If you did decide to fundamentally change the was general services were administered across government, how should that be done?

The SEVEN stories that you need to know:

  1. We’re going to talk about the Thrift Savings Plan’s Roth option later, but… It turns out that TSP’s Roth option might not make its May 7th start date. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service has said it will not be ready for the start-up next month. The Washington Post says the delay is partly due to the time will take payroll offices to be able to separate the traditional and roth investment options and make the necessary TSP’s traditional tax treatment. And we’ll talk about that later on here on the DorobekINSIDER.
  2. Lawmakers are broadening the investigation into the Secret Service activities in Colombia involving prostitutes. Federal News Radio says the Senate Homeland Security Committee wants to determine whether the incident was an exception, or part of a pattern of misconduct. The House Homeland Security Committee sent Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan a list of 50 questions. Members wanted a comprehensive, minute-by-minute timeline of the event.
  3. A group of non-profits are looking into federal whistleblowing protection in the wake of the GSA conference spending scandal. The Washington Post says the group Cause of Action has asked the Office of Management and Budget to conduct a governmentwide audit to make sure agencies were complying with federal ethics and whistleblower laws. The GSA inspector general who investigated the agency’s lavish Las Vegas conference spending said the regional administrator at the heart of the scandal did not tolerate dissent from employees. IG Brian Miller said Jeff Neely intimidated those who raised questions about the spending.
  4. The House is set to debate on as many as four cybersecurity bills this week. The National Journal reports, the bills would encourage businesses and government to share threat information; increase cyber research, development, and education; and update federal network security practices. Today kicks off federal cybersecurity week.
  5. Another pay cut could be on the way…but this time the cut would only affect Congressman. Kansas Republican Kevin Yoder has introduced a bill to cut the pay rates of lawmakers by 5 percent. Government Executive says the bill would also prevent Congressman from getting cost of living adjustments.
  6. House Republicans are moving back towards the debt deal’s spending levels. The Hill Newspaper says Republican leaders who are “Boxed in by their Senate colleagues on one side and House conservatives on the other are inching closer to the spending levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act.
  7. And on GovLoop, Bob Gourley is talking about this new product TwitChimp. The idea is harness the power of Twitter to niche markets. We will actually be talking to Gourley later this week. But you should head over to our homepage now to check it out. And we’ll be talking to Gourley about TwitChimp later this week here on the DorobekINSIDER.

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Chris Cairns

I think the GSA can plan an important role in the shared services initiatives across government. Personally, I’m not sure how the value of GSA is measured so it’s hard to say whether it should be divided or outright chucked. Besides real estate, what other types of services does GSA provide?