On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
The world of federal contracting is almost unbearably complicated, but there are ways to make the road a little smoother. Jim Ropelewski is the Senior Procurement Officer for the Department of Education and the Deputy CFO for Management and Operations. He highlighted contracting’s biggest challenges and a few solution.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- The Transportation Security Administration announced on Friday that Pre√ would be expanded to the general public, allowing more passengers to walk through airport security without going through all the usual screening rituals. According to The Washington Post, the program enables passengers to submit identification and fingerprints and undergo a background screening. After passing the screening, passengers will have access to select screening lanes where security officials will not make them remove laptops, shoes, belts, or light outerwear.
The U.S. Marshals have lost at least 2,000 encrypted two-way radios and other communication devices, ultimately valued at millions of dollars. The Wall Street Journal reports that due to the introduction of new equipment in 2011, the U.S. Marshals increasingly had difficulty tracking their equipment, even after being warned about the potential problem. Not only is this a monetary issue, it is also a safety issue as criminals could get their hands on radios and listen to details of security and operations.
- Recently, POLITICO analyzed evidence of EPA ideological bias and found little to no evidence for the claims proposed by Obama administration critics. The debate revolves around fees for requesting documents under the Freedom of Information Act. POLITICO reports that the EPA waives fees for liberal requesters 52 percent of the time, compared with a 39 percent rate for conservatives. Further, this gap does not mean there is a bias as a number of factors complicate the direct comparison, such as liberals ask for requests more than conservatives.
- After Detroit bankruptcy filing, city retirees are on edge as they face pension cuts. According to the Washington Post, government leaders and retirees will debate in federal court this week about how much the city owes the prior generation of residents. It is expected that both pensions and health benefits will be cut down the road in order to payoff the city’s $19 billion debt.
Samsung is close to signing deals for its devices with two U.S. government agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Navy. The two orders–Samsung’s first with the federal government–are small, but could be seen as an indicator to other government agencies and companies that Samsung devices are ready to use, reports the WSJ’s Will Connors. The electronics firm has invested heavily in its enterprise and government push, hiring executives away from BlackBerry Ltd., previously the default supplier of government mobile devices.
- Only one in five Americans say they trust the government to do what is right most of the time, that’s according to a new poll by USA Today. Further, more than two-thirds say societal change is best achieved through volunteering and working with charity organizations, rather than working in government. Even worse, young people under the age of 30 were significantly less likely than their parents to rate political participation as something they valued. Ultimately, this is bad news for government as it becomes more difficult to recruit bright and motivated young people.
- It is unclear how VA senior officials will be paid next year. The Government Executive reports that while the Senate version of the fiscal 2014 Military Construction-VA spending bill does not reference pay cuts for senior officials, the House version imposes a 25 percent cut unless the department substantially reduces its backlog by next summer. The House already passed the bill, while the Senate will vote at the end of July. If the Senate approves the current version without pay provisions, then lawmakers will have to resolve differences in conference committee.
DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
- Very large dingo eats Aussie IT project. The government of the Australian state of Queensland is set to release a report on how a payroll system update with a budget of $6 million turned into five year money pit. Five years after commencing, the project is still not done. Expected cost to complete: $1.25 billion, reports the Register’s Richard Chirgwin. IBM Corp. won the contract, but Accenture PLC is also involved in the mess.