Budget crunch makes GSA popular

 
Martha Johnson, administrator of the General Services Administration, said she often has to explain to people that GSA doesn’t stand for the Girl Scouts of America.

Many people don’t know exactly what GSA does, despite its “huge operational authority,” Johnson said at 1105 Media’s FOSE Conference July 21.

However, that is all changing now that the government is facing a budget crunch.

Johnson said the “tipping point” occurred five weeks ago when she started getting phone calls from the heads of federal agencies desperate to have a conversation about how GSA can help them find additional resources for programs.

During those lengthy discussions, Johnson said everything is on the table, including rent and costs stemming from printers, fleet, supply chain and travel.

“GSA is right in the middle of the maelstrom of this budget situation,” she said.

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jul 21, 2011 at 12:56 PM0 comments


Mazer is Obama's choice for DHS' IG

Roslyn Mazer is President Barack Obama’s nominee for inspector general of the Homeland Security Department, the White House announced July 19.

Mazer is currently the IG of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). She manages inspections, audits and investigations of ODNI’s programs and operations. She is also serving concurrently as chair of the Intelligence Community Inspectors General Forum.

The previous DHS IG, Richard Skinner, retired in March. Read about Skinner.

Mazer has worked in oversight jobs throughout government. She held senior positions at the Justice Department from 1993 to 2009 and was in the IG’s office there for seven years. There, she led reviews of the FBI’s use of national security letters and conducted investigations of misconduct by high level department officials and employees.

Mazer also served as associate deputy attorney general and as the attorney general’s representative to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel.

“I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people,” Obama said in a statement.

Mazer must be confirmed by the Senate for the DHS IG position.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jul 20, 2011 at 12:56 PM0 comments


Gen. Cartwright's nod to Mrs. Robinson

In the movie "The Graduate" (1967), Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) gets some sage advice from an older man, Mr. McGuire (Walter Brooke). The advice is one word: "Plastics."

Gen. James Cartwright reminded the audience at his FOSE keynote about the scene, and then said: "Today, they'd probably say 'cloud.' It's [presented as] the solution all problems known to man."

Cloud computing, while useful, really is not such a panacea, he said. 

Later in his presentation, Cartwright touched on the wisdom of crowds. "There is no one Einstein in here," he said, referring to the audience. "The crowd is always smarter."

Posted by Michael Hardy on Jul 19, 2011 at 12:56 PM3 comments


OMB's press shop joins Twitter

The Office of Management and Budget’s communications office has joined the Twitterverse with the handle @OMBPress. Members of Congress, among others, welcomed the July 19 announcement.

Ken Baer, senior adviser and associate director for communications and strategic planning at OMB, said the agency hopes to use the social media outlet to “bring attention both to the important budget and fiscal issues before the country and to the full range of initiatives that OMB is involved with.”

Baer's challenge is now boiling those complex issues down to 140 characters or less.

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jul 19, 2011 at 12:56 PM0 comments


HHS CIO to retire

Michael Carleton is retiring after four years as chief information officer of the Health and Human Services Department, according to an article in FedScoop on June 27. His retirement is effective at the end of July.

Carleton became a federal executive in the Nixon administration’s Federal Energy Administration. He also served for seven years as CIO at the General Services Administration.

Before joining GSA, he was deputy director of the Office of Information Resources Management and CIO for the Office of the Secretary of HHS.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Jun 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM0 comments


IT is more than just technology, says one agency CIO

On Flag Day in 1996 General Services Administration officials gave each employee access to the Internet at their desk in the office, one of the first federal agencies to meet the milestone. The Internet was a new thing for many employees. Now people live by the Internet, Casey Coleman, GSA's CIO, writes in her Around the Corner blog.

Since then, GSA has been moving forward continually with IT advances, she writes in a June 20 blog post.

GSA has deployed agency-wide Voice over Internet Protocol telecommunications, including softphones on GSA’s laptops. Networks have been upgraded and remote access lets employees work anywhere. People are working outside the office, teleworking and having meetings through videoconferencing. Their computers soon may become hand-held tablets, a big change from old-time computers where the monitors alone were almost too heavy to move a few inches.

Coleman writes, however, that there’s something more important to GSA than getting the hottest stuff and continuing to put more and more of IT into action.

“We view IT as an investment in the productivity, morale, and success of our employees, rather than an end unto itself,” she writes.

Read the rest of her blog post.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jun 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM1 comments


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