Weekly Roundup: February 5-9, 2018
GSA Reshuffle. Federal News Radio reports: “The General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service had a tumultuous run over the last 20 months. Over the course of its existence, TTS is on its third commissioner, has been brought under the Federal Acquisition Service and has seen an increasing amount of personnel turnover. . . Joanne Collins Smee, the deputy commissioner of FAS and the director of TTS, announced last week at an all-hands meeting that the organization will go through a reorganization focused on how to better serve the Trump administration’s IT modernization effort.”
Be Positive. Howard Risher, in a commentary column for Government Executive, writes: “Agencies should be celebrating outstanding achievements and top performers. Those employees are far more valuable and important than the handful of poor performers.”
A GREAT Grant Reporting Bill. NextGov reports the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act (GREAT Act): “would require the Office of Management and Budget—along with other relevant stakeholders—to establish a standard taxonomy for data reported by grant recipients to federal agencies. Ideally, this would create a more searchable, transparent and user-friendly database of grant awards and awardees.” The bill’s sponsors plan a similar bill for contracts.
Rise and Fall of 18F. FedScoop reports: “By most metrics, 18F is withering away. The average annual attrition rate at GSA is 6.6 percent, although the majority of that is accounted for by individuals who are retiring. This rate is typical for a government agency. In comparison, according to new data released by GSA, the attrition rate at 18F last year was 24.5 percent.”
OPM’s Federal Workforce Priorities. The Chief Human Capital Officers’ Council released its first-ever statutorily-mandated report that : “identifies six Government-wide priorities, outlines the supporting research and information considered in their selection, and provides pertinent promising practices from agencies.” The priorities will serve as a guide for action through 2021, when the next report is due to Congress.
Big Data, Big Deal. Don Kettl, in a commentary for Government Executive, writes: “Government managers are advancing the use of “big data,” and it’s having a big impact. It’s the center of an important effort to transform the health of the federal government and improve the outcomes of federal programs.” His article lists ten reasons why big data “is bigly different.”
CR Contains Legislation on Pay for Success. The 640-page continuing resolution, which extends spending through March 23rd, contains a number of interesting elements, including: “Legislation that will create a new $100 million program to fund pay-for-success projects was included in a budget bill (full bill text) that Congress passed in the early hours of February 9. . . . The legislation (pay for success text) will provide competitive grants to states and local governments for pay-for-success projects and feasibility studies. The program would be run by the Treasury Department.
President Trump announces pick for new IRS commissioner. The president on Thursday announced his nomination of Charles Rettig to serve as IRS commissioner.
New GSA administrator seeks to shine light where the shadows of federal procurement live. The General Services Administration is exploring how it can add more transparency to the procurement process, particularly with its $35 billion schedules program. Since its inception, GSA’s schedules program has been hidden behind a wall where only vendors with a contract could see the solicitations and awards. The lack of transparency about what happens on those “members-only” contracts has frustrated good government groups, the media and vendors who aren’t on the contracts, but may want to join.
GSA Administrator Emily Murphy has made transparency one of her four goals and is seeking not just an agency solution to this challenge, but one that would work governmentwide.
DoD and military IGs concerned about staffing Defense. The Defense Department and military service inspectors general begged Congress for more resources as some personnel investigations are backlogged almost two years. “We have over 200 cases that are open at this time and we are just now getting to our 2016 cases so there is some lag time because of the number of investigations,”Naval Inspector General Vice Adm. Herman Shelanski told the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee Feb. 7.
While the Navy held the most egregious backlog, all of the services and DoD said they were in dire need of employees to address investigation delays.
Cybersecurity Workforce: Urgent Need for DHS to Take Actions to Identify Its Position and Critical Skill Requirements. The Department of Homeland Security needs more cybersecurity workers, but it’s missing critical information about where to put them. The Government Accountability Office found that DHS missed several deadlines of the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act. The law requires DHS to identify all cybersecurity functions and come up with job codes for all of its cyber positions. GAO also finds the agency’s reporting under the law was not complete. In August, DHS said it identified 95 percent of its cyber positions. But when GAO added vacant positions, the total was only 79 percent.
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Conversations with Authors: John Kamensky on Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Case Study of Cross Agency Priority Goals
How were the initial Cross-Agency Priority Goals (CAP) goals implemented? What has been the impact of the initial CAP goals? How can we improve the implementation of the next round of CAP goals? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with John Kamensky, Senior Fellow at the IBM Center and author of Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Case Study of Cross Agency Priority Goals next week on The Business of Government Hour.
Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Friday at 1 p.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED.
If you can't wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week's program and all our previous interviews at businessofgovernment.org.