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OPM Innovator Departs Gov – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Duplication and overlap is rampant in government. With budgets dwindling down more than ever, agencies are looking to cut costs. But collaborating across disciplines is difficult. That’s where the authors of Smart Lean Government come in. They have developed a novel plan for how to reduce billions of dollars in overlapping information technology services governmentwide: They want to look at the recipients of those services rather than at the agencies where they originate.

But up front: A departure of a government innovator, Matt Collier — and a homage from Chris Dorobek.

“Matt Collier announced this week that he is leaving government — doing it in the way we do these things today: On Facebook.

Most of you probably don’t know Collier. That’s too bad. Collier has been in government for the past five years, working for four years at the Office of Personnel Management as a senior advisor to then Administrator John Berry. Most recently, he has served as a Senior Advisor to the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. His last day in government will be Friday.

Collier will be moving to California working for the LUMA Institute, a Pittsburgh-based firm that helps organizations build capacity in design thinking and human-centered design. (We spoke to the Luma Institute on GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER.)

Collier was one of a number of young, energized, enthusiastic, idealistic people who came to Washington after President Obama was elected. And Collier was able to make things happen. He helped create an Innovation Lab, profiled by Federal News Radio and discussed at GovLoop’s Next Generation of Government Training Summit. (Read the notes from that event.)

He also did things like helping OPM renovate its Web site.

But mostly what he did was to inculcate OPM with a can-do, innovate culture. He led. He empowered employees to try — and he held them accountable for doing what they said they were going to do.

I have been lucky enough to have a front row seat as he his thinking has evolved — and it has evolved. Five years later, he is certainly less idealistic, but he is no less energized and enthusiastic about making the world a better place.

He has become a friend. That is, at least in part, because he has been a friend of better government. And my hope is that he will return to government sometime even more experienced than he is today.” – Chris Dorobek.

The SEVEN headline government stories that impact your life

  1. The Hill: Reid: Cut to military pensions could be addressed in omnibus. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday hinted that some cuts to military retiree pensions could be reversed in the omnibus bill funding the government.

  2. Bloomberg News: New IRS Chief Koskinen Says Restoring Trust Takes Time. In his first public comments since winning Senate confirmation Dec. 20, the agency’s commissioner said restoring public trust, employee morale and congressional funding at the IRS will take time.

  3. Federal News Radio: Transition to Networx contract cost $395M more than planned. “The Government Accountability Office found in a new report that the 33-month delay in moving to GSA’s Networx contract from FTS2001 caused agencies to spend more money and miss out on potential savings.”

  4. FCW: Lower contractor compensation caps now law. The new federal budget signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 26 includes a provision that caps federal reimbursement for contractor compensation at $487,000 annually.

  5. Federal Times: OPM seeks to make tenure easier for feds. The Office of Personnel Management wants to change the rules to make it easier for spouses of military service members to get career tenure as federal civilian employees.

  6. Federal Times: Conference spending drops dramatically. Conference spending at four agencies fell 88 percent from fiscal 2010 to 2012, according to a report released Jan. 3 by Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.

  7. Federal News Radio: Senator sues OPM over health care regulations. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) has filed a lawsuit against Katherine Archuleta, the head of the Office of Personnel Management, seeking to overturn an OPM regulation that allows lawmakers and their staffs to continue receiving a government contribution toward their health insurance premiums.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • GovLoop’s Steve Ressler on 6 ideas for IT reforms They include venture based procurement; modernize existing programs; build internal capacity; support the current federal IT community; advance the death of paperwork; upgrade the training of IT program managers
  • The Wall Street Journal: Government Must Boost Pay, Change Culture to Hire Top Tech Talent. Doubting government’s hope to hire better techies. On Monday, the WSJ reported on Obama administration proposals for overhauling its tech talent pool by speeding up the hiring process. John Challenger, CEO of professional staffing firm Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc., says that no matter the government’s best intentions, its reputation for bureaucracy precedes it. And then there is the issue of pay. Government agencies typically pay less than private sector companies. “These are oil and water cultures,” Challenger said. “We need much better tech workers in government, but I just don’t think you can get there from here.”
  • The New York Times: Faulty government websites hinder the neediest. Problems at HealthCare.gov are not alone, The New York Times reports that efforts at modernizing the systems for government aid in many states have largely backfired in recent months, causing enormous cost overruns and delays for benefits. While the nation’s attention was focused on the troubled rollout of the federal health-care site, problems with unemployment claims systems in some states have pointed to something much broader: how a lack of funding and a shortage of information technology specialists in public service jobs routinely lead to higher costs, botched systems and infuriating technical problems that fall hardest on the poor, the jobless and the neediest.
  • Wired’sSteven Levy: How the #NSA Almost Killed the Internet. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and the other tech titans have had to fight for their lives against their own government. The Internet will never be the same.

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Terrence (Terry) Hill

Matt Collier also helped OPM implement IdeaFactory for its employees. We need more young, enthusiastic, motivated innovators like Matt!