On today’s program for Tuesday April 25, 2012:
- Cloud computing and the intelligence community... it seems like an oxymoron, but could it be a perfect fit?
- Gov 2.0 -- What’s happening and where are we going? The first real insights into where we stand on Gov 2.0. The surprising results from a new survey.
- Social media overload -- with FaceSpaceTwitPlus... are you overloaded? We’ll talk about that... and how to deal with it.
A lot of news coming out early this morning:
- The General Services Administration’s inspector general who has been investigating that lavish Public Building Service 2010 Western Region Conference has told federal prosecutors an outside event planner violated ethics laws while helping to organize a conference in Las Vegas hotel, government sources tell the Washington Post. Investigators also want to know whether Michael W. Jahn, managing partner of Location Solvers, violated bribery laws by giving gifts to several GSA employees in excess of the government’s $20 limit, according to government sources, e-mails and transcripts of interviews conducted by the inspector general’s office.
- We continue to ask you what YOU would do in the GSA situation -- you’re the boss. How would you handle it? If there are significant changes to be made -- a wholesale restructuring of GSA -- how would you reorganize?
- The Senate is set to vote on dozens of plans to overhaul the Postal Service. Again, The Washington Post says the U.S. Postal Service is asking Congress to allow changes to the mail delivery schedule and other reforms to better control costs, but a set of proposals expected to come to a vote today could place even more restrictions on when, where and how Americans receive their mail. The Senate plans to vote on dozens of amendments designed to overhaul the Postal Service, by providing nearly $11 billion to fund the buyouts of hundreds of thousands of employees and, eventually, ending six-day-a-week mail delivery. And the Post notes that this debate does not divide along partisan lines. Instead it is a NIMBY argument. Central to the Postal Service’s cost-cutting measures are plans to close hundreds of processing facilities and more than 2,000 post offices, an issue that pits lawmakers from smaller, rural states against colleagues from larger, more urban areas, where the proposed closings would have less of an impact.
- Last week we talked about budget transparency -- both why one would do it... and how to do it... and we spoke to Matthew Hall of Open Plans get get his assessment. Atlantic Cities has just written a piece talking about budgets by -- and for -- the people. They say that in an effort to cut wasteful spending and generate political support, cash-strapped municipal officials are turning to a process called participatory budgeting, which allows residents to devise and vote on small-scale infrastructure projects. Pioneered in Brazil, it's since been taken up by some 1,200 cities in just over two decades.
- The Pentagon is setting up a new spy service of its own. The Wall Street Journal says the Defense Department will use existing funds and personnel to increase to create the new department. DoD has wanted to increase their role in the collection of sensitive intelligence about threats. The new spy service is part of a Pentagon-wide reorganization effort.
- Hacktivists pose the biggest threat to IT security. A new InformationWeek Federal IT survey says the top threat shouldn’t come as a big surprise since hacktivists have topped the list for the past two years. The survey found that despite governmentwide adoption of new FISMA policies cyber attacks were still up by 5 percent from last year.
- The GSA conference scandal has hit the agency hard...and now the investigation is widening to include potential contractor fraud. The Washington Post says GSA’s inspector general told federal prosecutors an outside event planner violated ethics laws. Michael Jahn, managing partner of Location Solvers, is accused of violating bribery laws by giving gifts to several GSA employees in excess of the government’s $20 limit.
- Two former students of the elite military and naval academies say in a new lawsuit that they were raped by fellow classmates and then either resigned or were forced to leave because administrators didn’t take their allegations seriously. The Wall Street Journal says the women claim they were raped by upperclassmen while under the influence of alcohol and later ostracized when they reported the allegations. The Defense Department has declined to comment.
- The Veterans Affairs Department is struggling to keep up with the number of veterans seeking mental health care. The agency’s inspector general said half of its mental health patients have to wait about 50 days for a full evaluation.Federal News Radio says the agency's tracking system is flawed. Doctors and clinicians said they don't have the manpower to handle all the cases. The VA last week began hiring 1,900 more mental health care workers.
- The Senate is back in session debating how to keep the Postal Service afloat. Now senators are considering a couple of amendments that would mean major changes to employees pay and benefits. Government Executive says the new bill would require retirement-eligible employees to retire, increase the amount workers contribute to their health benefits and life insurance, limit executive pay and curtail the amount agencies can spend on government conferences.
- And on GovLoop, we’re talking about the future of Gov 2.0. It’s part of our newwebinar with HP where we look at where Gov 2.0 started, where it is now, and where it’s going. It’s going to be a really fascinating discussion and you can still register right now on our homepage for the Thursday webinar! The conversation kicks off at 2pm.