The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Thursday the 9th of August, 2012
- The Justice Department has appointed a former prosecutor to focus on whistleblower complaints. Robert Storch will work in the inspector general’s office. Storch will educate employees about the importance of whistleblowers in uncovering waste, fraud and abuse. The Wall Street Journal says Storch became counselor to IG Michael Horowitz in July. He’s been a federal prosecutor for 25 years.
- Philadelphia has named long-time civic hacker Mark Headd as the city’s first Chief Data Officer. The city hired Headd from Code for America, where his was the director of government relations. TechPresident reports Headd is a vocal proponent of civic hackathons and using technology to open up government systems and information to the public, and helping citizens to get more involved. He’s argued that governments can stimulate local economies by opening up their stores of data and by encouraging app development.
- A new report from IDC Government Insights found that state and federal governments are making progress on implementing cloud solutions. ButWashington Technology says the process is slow and unsteady. Most of the 400 government workers surveyed recognize the importance of cloud, with 90 percent saying they believe cloud will have an impact on their agency’s information technology operations. But the reports says feds are less certain how that use will be budgeted and how migration will actually happen.
- Pensions could be coming to an end at large defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The Washington Business Journal says a report from Moody’s Investment Services says because the companies have large pension obligations relative to their market capitalization, they’re good candidates for selling their pension plans to annuity firms.That would primarily affect current employees who were grandfathered into their pension plans before the companies switched to alternative retirement programs. Those employees would no longer accrue benefits — though they would receive all benefits owed up until the point of termination, as required by federal law. Presumably they would be eligible to participate in the companies’ alternative retirement plans, like a 401(k) plan. Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin deny the claims.
- Help is now available for agencies to make sure their PDF documents can be read by people with disabilities. The Veterans Health Administration is providing online training to explain portable document format, known as PDFs, accessibility barriers and ways to fix them. The step-by-step directions and instructional videos helps agencies improve the real-world accessibility of PDF documents, how to ensure PDF documents comply with the Section 508 standards and make their content available to their entire audience. Among the 14 training courses, agencies can better understand how to use color in an accessible way and how to hide non-meaningful content from accessibility readers.
- Defense contractor CSC saw earnings fall by more than 75% last quarter. The Washington Business Journal says the company blamed restructuring and expired Defense Department contracts for the loss. But the company’s new CEO reaffirmed the company is on track to save about $1 billion over the next 18 months as it restructures. Sales at its North American Public Sector division fell 8 percent from a year ago, while managed services and business solutions and services revenue rose.
- And on GovLoop, we’ve just launched our latest guide this one focuses on Navigating the Digital Government Roadmap. The guide focuses on the technology that has enabled government to increase productivity, improve performance and innovate proactively. Throughout this report, we highlight the top trends for technology and government, and how new tools are radically changing the government technology landscape.
On today’s program
- Earlier this week, we asked if Twitter and Facebook spelled the end of emergency management. Well, emergency managers are actually learning to use those tools to broaden their eyes and ears about what is going on in an emergency. They are called Virtual Operations Support Teams. And we’ll talk to an emergency manager who has been at the forefront of VOSTs.
- What is the real VALUE of openness and transparency — is there any? We get insights from the Sunlight Foundation’s John Wonderlich.