Weekly Round-up: September 5, 2014
John Kamensky Fix, Don’t Kill Telework. Eyebrows have been raised over perceived misuse of telework at the Patent and Trademark Office. But Jeffrey Neal, a former chief human capital officer at Homeland Security, tells Federal News Radio that “Rather than attempting to reverse telework programs, we should be working on fixing the problems. Nothing I have experienced, heard from people currently in government, or read tells me telework and other workplace flexibilities should be killed. . . . Government should take steps to improve accountability and make the programs work.” Massive Furloughs, Lagging Security Clearances. After the security clearance firm USIS experienced data hacking breeches and OPM issued stop work orders, the company has furloughs several thousand employees, reports Charlie Clark, Government Executive. OPM says: “this may cause a delay for some investigations.” Fix the GS Classification System! In a new report, the Government Accountability Office urges the Office of Personnel Management to overhaul the federal government’s antiquated personnel classification system. Its urgings are not new, but this time, it offers “a list of eight major attributes of an ideal system, based on conversations with former OPM officials, labor unions, other employees' associations and past studies,” writes Emily Kopp, Federal News Radio. IRS’s John Koskinen: We’re Here to Help. Emily Kopp, Federal News Radio, writes: “IRS Commissioner John Koskinen is known as a fixer in government circles. Time and again, he has taken the helm of a topsy-turvy organization and stabilized it. Judging by his first nine months at the IRS, the agency could be his biggest challenge yet.” VA Hospital Wait Times Dropping. Meghan Hoyer, Federal Times, reports some good news: “The Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced by half the number of veterans waiting more than three months to see a doctor since a scandal erupted at the agency in spring over delays in health care.” VA Creates Digital Services Team. The White House announced a digital services team, comprised of crack IT professionals to turn around troubled projects. Now the Department of Veteran Affairs is creating its own team, reports Dan Verton, FedScoop. Humanizing Agency Social Media. Jessie Kwak, in a helpful blog post on GovLoop, offers ten tips for agencies to humanize their approach to social media -- for example: “have a personality.” Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Results. While not public, survey results have been sent to managers of 20,000 workplace units across the government, reports Emily Kopp. Michael J. Keegan OPM to test new SES onboarding framework, launch mentoring hub - The White House is restarting its Senior Executive Service reform effort. The Office of Personnel Management will launch several new initiatives in the coming months, including a new SES onboarding framework, as part of the Obama administration's second term management agenda. “We are working to strengthen the onboarding program for our new SES members," said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta at the recent Association for Talent Development Government Workforce conference in Washington. Hackers break into HealthCare.gov - Hackers successfully breached HealthCare.gov, but no consumer information was taken from the health insurance website that serves more than 5 million Americans, the Obama administration disclosed Thursday. Instead, the hackers installed malicious software that could have been used to launch an attack on other websites from the federal insurance portal. Health and Human Services spokesman said the website component that was breached had been used for testing and did not contain consumer information, such as names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and income details. DoD must deal with shrinking technology advantage - The Defense Department began to roll out a series of initiatives Wednesday that it says will respond to a problem its leaders have been worried about for the past few years. While U.S. troops still have the best technology in the world, that advantage is shrinking at a pace that is increasingly alarming to top military officials. Health networks show options for national data sharing - Four public sector health data networks model the components of a future national health data sharing network, according to the policy journal Health Affairs. VA seeks toolkit to gauge health risks of veterans - The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking for information on development of a clinical toolkit to help enhance its online assessment of veterans' health risks. DARPA challenges teams to predict virus spread - Teams will build models that predict the spread of the Chikungunya virus in the Americas; the tools could be applied to other diseases and inform responses to emergencies. Dan Chenok Good perspective on new White House CTO team There are all levels of severity with data breaches -- from a cyber technical perspective, why the healthcare.gov breach may not be a major issue SES onboarding improvements move forward The Business of Government Radio Show: Leaders Speak on Mission and Making a Difference How are government executives meeting mission and making a difference? What are government executives doing to make a difference in the face of fiscal and budgetary realities? Join host Michael Keegan he explores these questions and more with former and current government leaders: Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Michael Astrue, Kathleen Merrigan, Linda Gibbs and a host of others for a Special Edition of The Business of Government Hour – Leaders Speak – A CONVERSATION on Meeting Mission and Making A Difference. Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, 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 and by searching our audio archives.