Originally Broadcast June 26, 2009
Welcome to The Business of Government Hour, "A Conversation about Management with a Government Executive Who is Changing the Way Government Does Business."
The Business of Government Hour is produced by the IBM Center for the Business of Government, which was created in 1998 to encourage discussion and research into new approaches to improving Government effectiveness.
You can find out more about the Center by visiting us on the web at businessofgovernment.org.
And now The Business of Government Hour.
ALBERT MORALES: Welcome to another edition of The Business of Government Hour. I'm Albert Morales, your Host and Managing Partner of the IBM Center for the Business of Government.
Federal Agencies have sought to identify new and smarter ways to do business and move toward a Government that is citizen centered and results oriented.
To be successful in this area, Federal Agencies require support and assistance, and the U.S. General Services Administration works to provide that support, staking a leadership role in reducing wasteful Government spending, encouraging the adoption of innovative solutions, and coordinating major Government wide management improvement initiatives.
With us today to discuss his efforts in this area is our very special guest, Stan Kaczmarczyk, Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Government wide Policy at the U.S. General Services Administration. Good morning, Stan.
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Good morning, Albert. Thank you for inviting me.
ALBERT MORALES: Also joining us today is Paul Kayatta, Partner in IBM's Public Sector, General Government Practice. Paul, welcome, good to have you.
PAUL KAYATTA: Thanks, Al. Good morning, Stan.
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Good morning.
ALBERT MORALES: Stan, before we get started, could you set some context by providing our listeners with an overview of the history and the mission of the U.S. General Services Administration or GSA? Tell us when it was created and what its mission is today?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. GSA was created in 1949. Congress passed the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act, which was signed into law by President Truman. And it basically consolidated all of the administrative service type functions that were being done in various agencies across the Government into GSA so that we could consolidate, centralize, and achieve efficiencies and lower costs.
Some of the historical achievements of GSA, in 1954 we created the first Federal Motor Pool. In 1957 we coined the phrase "telecommunication system" to describe phone service. And in 1963 we inaugurated the FTS inter-city phone system.
The Federal Buildings Fund was authorized in 1972 as a revolving fund which was used to maintain, operate, and renovate the GSA Federal Buildings.
And if we flash forward to 1995, that's when the Office of Government wide Policy was formed, and that consolidated all of GSA's policymaking, regulatory, and oversight functions into one office, enabling the GSA business lines to focus on delivering business services.
ALBERT MORALES: So, Stan, for some more specifics, how is GSA organized, and can you tell us a little bit about the size of the budget, number of fulltime employees, and perhaps how the organization is geographically dispersed across the country?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. We have two major business lines, the Public Building Service and the Federal Acquisition Service, and we have 12 staff offices, OGP, the Office of Government wide Policy is a staff office. We have 11 regional offices and two independent staff offices.
We have an annual budget of close to $25 billion, about 96% of that consists of reimbursements from our Federal customers for the services that we provide. We influence the management of over $500 billion in Federal assets with the work that we do.
We currently have a staff of 12,000 employees, that's down from a high of about 40,000 employees in the 1980s so we're very lean and efficient. We do contract out a lot of the work that we perform on behalf of the Federal Agencies. We have GSA employees in most parts of the U.S. and around the world.
The Partnership for Public Service recently published their poll on the best places to work in the Government, and I'm happy to say and proud to say that GSA finished number eight on the list of best places to work, and we were number one in the category of family friendly culture and benefits.
PAUL KAYATTA: So thanks for that overview. Can you tell us a little bit more now about the Office of Government wide Policy and your specific role as the Acting Associate Administrator?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. The office of Government wide Policy has always been led since 1995 by two Senior Executives, a leader of the organization and a deputy. In my real job I'm the Deputy. I'm called the Principal Deputy Associate Administrator, or as I like to call it PDA Squared. Right now, during this transition, I am the Acting Associate Administrator or the leader of the Office.
Prior to becoming the Deputy, which I did in May of 2006, I was one of the Senior Executives of one of the staff offices, and that was the Real Property Policy Office. And then came to be the Deputy of OGP, as I said, in '06.
As the leader or the Deputy I'm responsible for the leadership of the organization, for the allocation of resources according to priorities, and for overseeing our performance management system to make sure we're working on the right things and getting them done efficiently.
We have multiple stakeholders in the Office of Government wide Policy that we deal with. A lot of them at the Office of Management and Budget, at different offices of the Office of Management and Budget, stakeholders on the Hill, other senior leaders in GSA, other parts of the Government.
I could give you a lot of flowery words about what I do and what my role is as far as leadership, but basically I spend 90% of my day doing what I would call "relationship management."
PAUL KAYATTA: So every position comes with its challenges. Can you tell us your top three and what you're doing to address them?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. One challenge, and I think everybody will say this, is resources. The Office of Government wide Policy is actually a good sized organization, and we have 144 Federal employees and approximately 48 contract employees, and an annual budget of $71.8 million. So we're not real small but we're not real big, so we can get a lot of things done and we want to get a lot of things done, so there are never enough resources to accomplish everything that we feel we need to do.
Another challenge that we face and, again, I think you'll hear this across the Federal Government is the aging workforce and the wave of retirements. And we are trying to address that in several ways. We are hiring more interns these days, and trying to hire them before people leave so they can learn from senior people, taking advantage of a program called "Presidential Management Interns".
We've had good success with that, and one thing we're doing is using some of the new Web 2.0 technologies or establish a Wiki to capture the history of OGP and how -- and the polices and procedures internal to our own office. So it'll be the OGPpedia. But, actually, many other Federal Agencies are doing this, including the Department of Defense.
And, finally, kind of an ongoing challenge of our office is that we do have a Government wide scope but we are part of GSA, so we support GSA, we support the business lines, but we also, you know, we work for the whole Government.
And other Federal Agencies have their own Federal Buildings and their own procurement programs, and we have to provide policy and guidance and award best practices across the Government and not always, you know, pull for the home team.
ALBERT MORALES: So, Stan, I understand that you came to GSA back in 1991. Can you tell me a little bit about your career path? And I'm interested, how did you get started in public service?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. I was working in the private sector in New York City. I was working in the Wall Street commodities business for I think close to 10 years, and wanted to make a career change, and was interested in public service.
And I was hired by the GSA Public Building Service in the New York Region in 1991, with virtually no experience in real estate, just based on my qualifications and education they were willing to take a chance on me and train me in the business.
Despite that, I was ungrateful enough to move to the Central Office after about seven months in the Regional Office, for which the senior leader of that office I think never forgave me, but he's retired now. He actually retired and went to the private sector and retired again, so I'm double safe.
But I moved to the Central Office because I wanted to know how the Government works, and I figured you have to go to Washington, D.C. to find out. And God help me, I found out how the Government works.
In 1997 I joined the Office of Government wide Policy, which was formed in late '95, so I've been there for most of the history of the office. And in 2004 I joined the Senior Executive Service.
So I joined GSA in 1991 as a GS7 and in 13 years was promoted to -- up the ranks to the Senior Executive Service, so it was -- that's pretty rapid by most terms, a pretty rapid ascent, which I'm pleased with.
ALBERT MORALES: That's fantastic. So, Stan, as you sort of look back and reflect on your experiences going back to 1991 and even your experiences back in the private sector, how have they shaped and informed your current leadership role and shaped your management approach and style?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Well, I think the diversity of my background in terms of my work experience and my education is a plus. I do have experience in both the public and private sectors. There are different ways of doing business in both those areas.
When you come into the Government from the private sector you learn right away there's a different way to get things done. You have to slow down and work more collaboratively with people.
I have a degree in psychology and a degree in economics, so the economics gives me a good analytical focus, and the psychology helps me to understand people and do that relationship management.
Most of my early experience has been in the real estate part of GSA, but then coming over to Government wide Policy, first as a member of the team and then as a member of the leadership team, I became educated in the IT side of the business and all the other programs that OGP is responsible for.
I give a lot of credit to the previous leadership of OGP. They had consistent leadership in Marty Wagner and John Sindelar, who led the office from its inception through early 2006. It's rare to have the same Leadership Team in place in any agency or office that length of time, and they put in a really good culture and management structure, which I basically took over and kept running with my own spin on it. So I give them a lot of credit.
But I think the diversity of background is good in two ways. It's good to know a lot of programs and a lot of businesses because it helps you manage a diverse organization like OGP, but it also helps to -- because it teaches you that no matter how different the mission or the business is that a lot of the issues with people and teamwork and managing people tend to be the same, so it helps you elicit the core issues, those common denominators of dealing with people and getting things done.
ALBERT MORALES: That's great. How does GSA's Office of Government wide Policy enhance transparency in open Government? We will ask Stan Kaczmarczyk, Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Government wide Policy at GSA to share with us when the conversation about Management continues on The Business of Government Hour.
ALBERT MORALES: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales, and today's conversation is with Stan Kaczmarczyk, Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Government wide Policy at GSA.
Also joining us today from IBM is Paul Kayatta.
Stan, transparency is certainly taking center stage today with the new Administration, but this really isn't a new concept. In fact, elements such as advisory committees have played an important role in shaping programs and policies from the earliest days of Government.
To better understand this, could you tell us more about the Federal Advisory Committees and specifically how does your Office support the efforts of these Committees and how do these Committees enhance the work done by the sponsoring Agencies?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. I'd be happy to. In fact, as a side note, when we were asked to help the White House on the new Open Government Directive we were assigned the GSA lead on that. The first person who came to mind was the person who was in charge of the Federal Advisory Committee, as the Committee Management Secretariat, because he was about transparency. In fact, it was about transparency before it was cool I guess is the expression.
But, yes, the Federal Advisory Committee Act was passed by Congress in 1972, and it basically governs the way that the Federal Government can get advice and develop policy from the private sector.
It delineates a formal process for setting up committees and getting recommendations and advice, and having discussions with the private sector, and it requires that it's done publicly so it's Government in the sunlight and not policy being made by certain companies and certain agencies in back rooms.
So there are about 900 Federal Advisory Committees currently. They consist of 65,000 members, and they hold about 7,000 meetings annually. And Advisory Committees influence over $100 billion in Federal Programs each year and they cost $350 million per year to operate these Committees.
Our Office has the role of overseeing the implementation and compliance with the Act, which we refer to as "FACA," Federal Advisory Committee Act. We develop guidance and policy and write regulations for how to conduct these meetings. We conduct an annual comprehensive review of all the Federal Advisory Committees to ensure that they are complying with the law properly.
We have developed performance measures and we track the performance of the Committees, the number of recommendations they come up with, a number of recommendations that actually get implemented, dollars saved as a result of them.
And we conduct an inter-Agency training program for the committee management officers across the Government to keep them up to date. Also, of course, to train new ones because of turnover. And those sessions are held several times a year here in D.C., occasionally outside of D.C., and they're always sold out.
Agencies get a lot of value out of Advisory Committees. They produce over 1,000 reports, addressing such diverse issues as nuclear safety, healthcare, transportation, counterterrorism.
Over the lifetime of the program there have been over 900,000 recommendations issued by these Advisory Committees, with a total impact on Government business of over $100 billion.
And I guess when you ask, "Are they worthwhile?" You have to keep in mind the time that's involved in setting up and running these committees. The cost that's involved, the dollars that are spent, and the fact that you're not required to do so. So agencies really wouldn't go through this if they weren't getting valuable recommendations and input from the private sector using this process.
ALBERT MORALES: So what is your Group's regulatory role and where does it get its authority to establish Government wide regulations? And, if I may, what are some of the sources used to help in the development of these policies?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. We have, well, OGP is a very diverse office. So we basically have policy responsibilities corresponding to all the different administrative service areas of GSA and a couple of other things, like the Federal Advisory Committee Act, that we just talked about.
So we have various regulatory authorities. In some cases, in the case of travel, transportation, fleet management, we issue actual Government wide regulations that the rest of the Government must comply with.
In other cases, such as real property, we issue regulations that only GSA, itself, has to comply with, but that the rest of the Government that owns and manages their own buildings can refer to as best management practices, and they often do so.We also have a role in overall Government wide regulatory process.
ALBERT MORALES: So as a follow-up, could you tell us more about your efforts to enhance citizen participation in Federal rulemaking? Specifically, how has the Regulatory Information Service Center provided opportunities for citizens to track Federal regulations?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: I'd be happy to. The Regulatory Information Service Center is the smallest office in GSA, but one of the most important. They work closely with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at OMB to manage, to help OIRA manage the whole regulatory process.
We maintain a database, which is called ROCIS, which is actually an acronym made-up of acronyms. It's the Risk in OIRA, the risk in OIRA Consolidated Information System, and it tracks all of the regulatory activity ongoing in the Government.
Twice a year we publish what's called the "Unified Agenda," which enables the public to see what regulations are being developed in the Federal Government and at what stage different regulations are at. We also publish that information and historical information about regulations on the website called reginfo.gov.
Recently, it was in 2007 we used to print this semiannual regulatory agenda, and you can imagine the volume of it. And a very effective doorstop. In 2007 we went to something called the e-agenda, and the vast majority of it is put online and very little is printed out in the Federal Register. This achieved a substantial cost savings of $800,000 annually in printing costs.
We get a lot of traffic on our reginfo.gov. I sit through the management reviews of the program, and I'm amazed when they come in and they show me statistics saying that there are millions of hits on the website, and who is interested in all these regulations, besides the people in the Government who work on them. But you have academics, researchers, lawyers, and businesses who want to know what the Government may be thinking about doing that might impact their business.
So the way it works is we have this ROKAS system that tracks everything, produces the Unified Agenda, publishes it mostly on the web twice a year. Puts it on the web on reginfo.gov.
If a citizen goes into there and sees a regulation that they're interested in that's in process and if the public comment period is still open, they can click on a link which will take them over to a website called "regulations.gov," which EPA manages under the e-rule making initiative. And they can go right in and comment on the regulation in process.
So all that has already been put in place and enables transparency of the regulatory process and collaboration with the citizens. However, the technology behind that is all what we would call Web 1.0 technology.
So what we're going to be doing in the near future is upgrading the whole process using the new Web 2.0 technologies, which will enable citizens to feel more comfortable and it will be more effective in them collaborating in the rulemaking process.
PAUL KAYATTA: Switching gears a bit, could you tell us a bit about the Financial Management Line of Business, or FMLLB, as it's called, and how it seeks to improve Government wide financial management system modernization? And, if you can, tell us a bit about the challenges facing the initiative, and what's the status today?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. The Financial Management Line of Business seeks to streamline and consolidate the Federal financial management process. You had a situation some years ago where you had a different financial management system for every agency in the Government, so obviously this is not a very cost effective way of doing things.
So what we've been striving to do over the years, first of all, consolidate that down to a number of shared service providers, drive agencies more towards using one of those shared services rather than using their own legacy systems.
But the next step is really to consolidate and streamline and standardize even further so that we can hopefully one day all be using the same Federal financial management system. This involves coming up with standards.
A big accomplishment of this initiative was a couple of years ago to publish what we call CGAC, or the Common Government wide Accounting Code. We continue to go through the process of standardizing the different business processes within Federal financial management to drive greater standardization.
The Financial Management Line of Business works on the same team with what we call the "Financial Systems Integration Office," which years ago under the Treasury Department used to be known as the "Joint Financial Management Improvement Program," and those folks work to test software to make sure it is compliant with existing financial management standards in the Government.
The biggest challenge with any effort to standardize in any area is always each agency thinking that they're special and they have to do their things their way. And there are reasons for that, but I would say in the Federal financial management area, that challenge is about as steep as I've ever seen it.
And it's not just uniqueness from agency to agency, but the uniqueness of the way the Federal Government does its financial management compared to the private sector which makes it difficult for us to readily adapt a commercial off-the-shelf software for use by Government Agencies in financial management.
PAUL KAYATTA: One of the provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is to provide economic opportunities and environmental improvements for citizens through the acquisition of motor vehicles. Does GSA manage indoor monitoring expenditures for this funding?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Yes, we are. I'd like to talk about that particularly in the area of fleet management. It's actually a good example of the difference between OGP's policy role versus Federal Acquisition Service's service providing role.
The Federal Acquisition Service are the people who actually order the cars and deliver them to the agencies, but how that money that was put into the ARRA to upgrade the fleet is spent and how it should be spent is more or less a policy decision of Fleet Management.
So we worked hand in hand with FAS and with stakeholders in the Administration to figure out the best way to spend the $300 million that Congress allocated to upgrade the fleet.
There was a number of policy -- competing policy considerations versus we want to have a stimulus, we want to spend the money as soon as possible to stimulate the economy, versus the provisions that were in the Act to invest in new technologies, new fleet technologies in this case.
So currently there's a total of $300 million that have been allocated to upgrade the fleet. We've obligated $200 million of that already, mostly for hybrid vehicles, and we have another $85 million of orders projected.
But we've held back $15 million to buy plug-in electric hybrids. The reason we're holding it back is the vehicles are not available yet.
So, again, there was this tradeoff between we want to spend money now, because it's a stimulus, but we do want to invest in new technologies that are not quite there yet, so we want to be the leaders and encourage the industry to go down that path, so we worked pretty closely with everybody to come up with the best approach.
PAUL KAYATTA: As you know, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires accessibility tools to be provided to disabled citizens, to provide access to essential information.
Can you tell us a little bit about the technical assistance provided by your Office in this area and how does this effort improve the accessibility of Government information and technologies for citizens with disabilities?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: One of the areas where we do have responsibility for ensuring compliance with existing law is the Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires the Federal Government to provide citizens with disabilities equal access to technology.
We're talking about things such as screen readers and brail devices. When people set-up websites everything works at lightening speed these days, and they're thinking about the content, they're thinking about user friendly. They're not necessarily thinking about people who need assistance with using that technology.
So and there are products that are 508 compliant and that will enable citizens of all types to be able to use these technologies, but you have to know they exist and you have to build that into your procurement otherwise you're not going to get it.
So one of the things that we do is we have a tool called "Buy Accessible Wizard," which can kind -- when you put it together your solicitation for technology, it will kind of walk you through the steps of how to make sure that what you're buying is going to be 508 compliant.
Another thing we've done is we've been monitoring agency use of that by going to Fed Bus Op and looking at the solicitations that have posted there and kind of examining them to see if they are 508 compliant. And we're pleased to say that over the last couple of years of doing that that the percentage of solicitations that are compliant has been rising.
ALBERT MORALES: Stan, as we talk about technology, it goes without saying that today it's critical to protect data and manage the access to electronic information.
Could you elaborate on your Office's efforts in providing an identity management infrastructure for the public? Specifically, can you address how this infrastructure provides a common and secure means for the Federal Government to authenticate the public and gain trusted access?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. Identity management is a very critical area in OGP and in the Government, and there are several levels of authentication. Just signing into a website with your user name and your password is one of the lowest ones, and then actually having -- using digital certificates to make sure that you really are who you are is one of the higher ones.
So we work with the various committees and agencies, such as NIST on developing the standards for authentication. We actually test products to make sure that they're compliant with those standards, and that they're compliant with what's called "FIPS 201," which is the Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 201, the latest from NIST.
And we actually operate what's called a "public key infrastructure," and this is a system comprised of hardware, software, and policies that enable people to authenticate themselves to the Federal Government when they do business with the Federal Government.
ALBERT MORALES: So switching gears a bit, could you tell us more about GSA's federal asset sales or EFAS initiative? What types of property are included in this initiative and how does it maximize the public's access to these assets that are for sale while increasing efficiency and reducing cost?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Be happy to. Federal asset sales, which is -- you can access through a website which is actually called govsales.gov is a one-stop portal that pulls together all of the surplus property that's for sale by the Federal Government.
As you know, when the Government no longer needs, and this applies to both real and personal property, the first thing we do is to look to see if another Federal Agency can use it, and then it goes, at least in real property it goes through state and local. And then eventually if nobody wants it, it goes -- it's surplus, and it goes for sale to the public.
So this portal pulls together everything that's for sale. It's, the concept is that everything is one place, makes it easy for the citizens to find what they're looking for, and it increases the competition by putting it on the internet so that the Government gets the best price for its surplus property.
It's a very successful effort. 2008 was the first year that we really have a full year's worth of data for. In 2008 we sold $4 billion of surplus real property, and $333 million of surplus personal property. The portal, itself, in 2008 had over a million unique visitors, generating 1.7 million visits.
This initiative has been very successful. It's won a number of awards, including Steve Rosen, who is the Manager, Project Manager of the initiative, was one of the winners in 2009 of the CIO Council Individual Awards, recently given out at IRMCO.
ALBERT MORALES: That's great.
How does GSA manage the adoption of Government wide policy? We will ask Stan Kaczmarczyk, Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Government wide Policy at GSA to share with us when our conversation about management continues on The Business of Government Hour.
ALBERT MORALES: Welcome back to The Business of Government Hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales, and with us today is Stan Kaczmarczyk, Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Government wide Policy at GSA.
Also joining us from IBM is Paul Kayatta.
Stan, GSA has long been a strong advocate for increasing the practice of telework across Government. Also, GSA is known for leading by example, and I understand that you're in your second year of an aggressive Agency wide initiative to increase teleworking.
Tell us a little bit about GSA's telework challenge? What is it, how is it progressing, and what's making it work, and what can other agencies learn from this effort?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: I'd be happy to talk about the GSA telework challenge. It's a GSA Agency Program to increase telework participation in our Agency.
In OGP we have a role in coordination with OPM to provide guidance for Government wide telework programs. This is an internal program, but we partnered very strongly with our internal folks because we were interested in practice, in having GSA practice what we preach, at least from a Government wide standpoint, and to really get telework up to speed in the Federal Government.
Plus I was making a lot of presentations on telework and I got tired of talking about the patent and trademark office and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration case studies all the time. And I said, "We need another case study, let's do it ourselves."
So we came up with a very aggressive program where we were going to -- we set some goals and we wanted to increase the number of participation, number of people participating in telework who were eligible, whose positions are eligible for telework.
And at the time we started in 2007 our participation rate of our eligible folks was about 10%, so we set some aggressive targets and we said by the end of calendar year 2008 we want to have 20% people, of our folks participating. By the end of calendar year 2009 double that to 40%. And then by the end of calendar year 2010 or 2010, 50% of those people who are eligible to participate in the telework program will be teleworking at least one day a week.
Currently, and we're sitting here in calendar '09, the number is 43%, so we have well exceeded and almost closed the gap on our ultimate goal for the end of 2010.
I think the keys to our success in this area were top level leadership and support, which is not just talking about it but putting it right into our performance plans.
Using a strategy that a colleague of mine in the British Government calls "name and shame," every month we report on our internet the progress that the various staff offices and regions are making towards the goal, so you can see who is on track, who is behind. And that was very effective.
Another thing we did was used IT effectively to promote this, and by that I mean we replaced everybody's laptops during the normal IT refresh cycle with -- everybody's desktops, rather, with laptops.
And if you participate in the program you have documentation and you take the laptop home with you and use the same laptop, so that takes care of, you know, economics, you don't have to pay for two computers. It takes care of security, the same security is in place at home because it's the same laptop and you're going into your system or your LAN over the internet using a virtual private network.
So it solved a lot of problems, and I was kind of worried that people wouldn't want to take their laptop back and forth but it didn't turn out that way. They're making them lighter and lighter these days. I don't have to tell you guys that. And the cost has come down. So it's been a very effective program.
We've been promoting it for reasons of it's good for the environment. It's good especially in the Washington area to reduce traffic congestion. Its flexibility, continuity of operations. The more people that can telework, will be able to telework in the event that people cannot get downtown or get to the GSA building or something happens there. And it's a good work/life balance program, and people like it.
Down the road if we get to 50%, 60%, 70%, who knows where, I think we can actually do some stuff in our workplace to make it more effective or even to reduce our space holdings and reap some other economic benefits from it. So it's been a very successful program for GSA.
PAUL KAYATTA: That's real progress in an area I think that will have great dividends.
Hey, Stan, can you tell us a bit about how your office collaborates with Federal, State, local Governments on policy development and implementation? And to what extent do interagency working groups assist you in those efforts?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: We do quite a bit of that, in all of our program areas, our major program areas; we generally have some kind of Executive Steering Committee set-up with agency executives from across the Government to develop policy in a collaborative fashion with them.
Less so with the State and local Governments, but that ties back to the resource challenge, I said before, but we need to do more with them.
We do a pretty good job keeping track with the private sector as far as what are the best practices are. But, as we know, some best practices that work for the private sector may not work for the Federal Government.
So we -- but we definitely do a job, a good job with collaboration with the Federal Agencies because it's a lot easier if you get buy-in early on in the policy development process, it's a lot easier for the agencies to comply with them down the road.
PAUL KAYATTA: In your opinion, what have been some of the more innovative ideas and constructive solutions that you and your team have developed and implemented? And how does the OGP cultivate a culture of innovation and performance?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Well, you always get in trouble here when you talk about the successes you're the most proud of, and I've got five staff offices and I don't know if I'm going to cover them all, but I just have really just a sampling of some of them, but some of the major conferences that we managed, the IRMCO conference and also the Fed Fleet Conference.
We actually stood up the first version of the website, which is Today at usa.gov, which is now operated by the Office of Citizen Services in GSA. We do tend to develop a lot of things upfront that then get spun-off into an operational area.
On the HSPD 12 initiative, the smartcards, we did all the upfront work on developing the standards and testing the products for compliance with the standards and then helped the Federal Acquisition Service set-up a managed service offering so they could actually provide the cards to Federal Agencies.
In the area of the Federal Fleet we talked about already, but the Federal Fleet is operated by the Federal Acquisition Service but we do all the policy for Fleet management and it goes back to that Fed Fleet Conference.
The e-travel initiative is also managed now by the Federal Acquisition Service but we developed that as a pilot. The Government, similar to the situation we talked about with the financial management, you had a different travel management system for every Government Agency in town, so now we have three, and they're commercial vendors.
We talked about the Federal asset sales, that's been a great success for us. We have a motor vehicle registration system that we put in for the Federal Government because if you get pulled over, somebody can look-up your license but not so yet with the Federal Government, but we're working on that.
Some of the work we've done in aircraft safety we're very proud of. The work that we've done with the Federal real property inventory to support the real property asset management initiative that was kicked off by Executive Order 13327 and the performance measures and the feedback that we've gotten and, again, the rightsizing of the Federal inventory that's occurred as a result of that, and various other things.
The thing about a culture of innovation is, and we do have a culture of innovation at OGP, is people get very excited and very motivated, and you're developing something new and it's important and it's innovative.
And once it gets developed and successful and it's up and running people get comfortable with it and they want to keep running it themselves. But our job is, like I say, if it's a success move it on somewhere else into its operational phase and then move on to the next thing.
So if you're busy holding on to what you've already innovated you can't innovate something else, so it's kind of sometimes a difficult management decision to wean people off of things, but if I don't do that then there'll be no further innovation.
ALBERT MORALES: There is certainly a life cycle there. So, Stan, you've mentioned IRMCO now a few times, and I understand that you've held the 48th Annual IRMCO Conference. What was the theme of this year's conference, and how does the conference promote partnerships, facilitate dialogues, and motivate collaborations across multiple disciplines and communities, both within and outside the Government?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Well, we had a good opportunity this spring and IRMCO was sold out. IRMCO is held in April, and we had a new Administration come in, in January, and we had a theme of "Transformational Leadership, Steering a New Course."
So we were fortunate to get some of the new Administration people, such as Vivette Kunja and Beth Noveck to come speak, so there was a lot of interest, obviously, in hearing what the new direction is.
But IRMCO is the Interagency Resources Management Conference, and it pulls together what we call the "CXOs" in the Governments, the CFOs, CIOs, Chief Acquisition Officers, the Chico's, the Human Capital Officers. And this year some of the Inspector Generals, also.
It pulls together the senior leaders of the Government to share information, hear -- learn about best practices and hear about policy directions, both from us and from the Administration Officials.
This year, like I say, there was a lot of interest in the new directions that are coming, particularly in the IT area but actually across the Government and acquisition reform and things of that nature.
ALBERT MORALES: Are there other conferences or workshops in policy areas that you host?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Yes, there are, particularly in the area of our biggest office is the Office of Travel, Transportation, and Asset Management. They have responsibility for about seven different administrative programs.
I mentioned Fed Fleet. We do the Government's policy for fleet management, and that's both in terms of the automotive fleet and the aviation fleet.
So Fed Fleet is a big conference, thousands of people. This year's conference is going to be held from July 28th to 30th in Chicago, and it is really the premiere event for fleet management in the Government. It offers training courses and networking opportunities, and the opportunity to learn from vendors and to exchange best practices within the Government and with the private sector. It really is a unique opportunity.
We also hold a Mail Forum every year, and we just recently held one this spring. And the GSA Mail Forum, some of the subjects we discussed were intelligent mail, digital mail, green mail, and mail security.
Now, mail management may not sound very sexy but in 2001 after the anthrax attacks it was -- mail security was a big issue, and it continues to be so. So we continue to hold that conference every year.
Every two years we hold the National Travel Forum because we do the Government's travel policy. In fact, we're the office that publishes the per diem rates every year, which is always of great interest, and Travel Forum is another well attended event.
ALBERT MORALES: So with so many programs, how does OGP reward Federal Agencies for their significant accomplishments and achievements and innovation? And can you give some examples of these awards and perhaps the process involved in achieving these awards?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Sure. Our general areas and doing policy, you know, is guidance, there are regulations, there are performance measures, Government wide databases, and best practices.
And we determined early on that one of the best ways to find out what the best practices are and to disseminate them on the Federal Government is to run awards programs. And they generally set-up, usually annual programs, you get a panel of independent judges from across the Government and the private sector, they review the submissions and then we annually award, usually with monetary rewards associated with it.
We have a total of 12 awards programs that we run annually. We have the IRMCO Awards, given out at the IRMCO Conference for leadership across, leadership in the IT sector. We have the Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Award, which is in financial management. We run a big Financial Management Conference every -- once a year, and Federal financial management professionals get continuing education credits for attending the day-long conference, and that award is given out at the conference.
We also have the CIO Council Leadership Awards, which are also represented at IRMCO. We have the Bob Baker Fleet Manager of the Year Award, which is presented at Fed Fleet. And the Federal Aviation Program and Professional Awards, also presented at Fed Fleet.
In the area of personal property management, which is another one of our policy areas, we have the Miles Romney Award. And we have mail awards and travel and relocation awards.
Our longest running award, I believe, I say with a sense of pride having come from that Office, is the GSA Achievement Award for Real property Innovation which has been given out annually since 1997.
ALBERT MORALES: Great. What does the future hold for GSA's Office of Government wide Policy? We will ask Stan Kaczmarczyk, Acting Associate Administrator for the office of Government wide Policy at GSA to share with us when the conversation about management continues on The Business of Government Hour.
ALBERT MORALES: Welcome to our final segment of The Business of Government Hour. I'm your host, Albert Morales, and today's conversation is with Stan Kaczmarczyk, Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Government wide Policy at GSA.
Also joining me from IBM is Paul Kayatta.
Stan, there is a lot in the press about new social networking models and technologies that are redefining the relationship of citizens and their Government.
In the past year many Federal Agencies and communities have launched their own versions of a Wikipedia or a blog and, in fact, I think you mentioned that this was a direction that GSA was heading in.
Could you talk about the efforts within OGP to leverage these new social networking ideas and technologies? And how can these tools support your operations and mission?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: We've done a number of things and we'll continue to do so. We've been a longtime supporter and contributor to a Government wide Wiki called MAX, which is hosted by OMB.
And, as I mentioned, we're developing an internal Wiki to -- from a knowledge management standpoint to capture all the processes and history of OGP before people walk out the door.
Another thing that we started is our own blog, and been trying to get people to participate and blog along with me. I actually had to order the middle managers to blog, they're the only ones I had control over, and they begrudgingly did it and found it was fun.
But we will continue to work with the Administration on developing policies for using social networking tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. I, myself, use some of these tools, so I shout out to all my Facebook friends and my Tweeples, and I have found them to be useful as far as business applications and making connections with people and also a lot of fun.
PAUL KAYATTA: As you certainly know, most work and accomplishments in the Government is a team effort, so with this could you elaborate on your approach to empowering employees? And how do you, more specifically, lead change and enable your staff and those within the organization to accept the inevitability of change, embrace it, and make the most of it?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: I consider myself a good delegator, but I'm a delegator who never forgets. So as long as it gets done you won't hear from me again, but if it doesn't get done I'll probably remember that I delegated it to you.
I believe in managing by our results, and my experience early on managing the Government wide Telework Program, which I used to do more directly, showed me the value of that because that's the only way you can manage people that are not in the office, you have to manage by results and not by what they're doing.
As far as change goes, I try to maintain a consistent structure and tradition within the Office of Government wide Policy, so that even though there are changes in the work or the programs that we're doing it's still the same place. I don't believe in making a lot of extraneous changes in the way we do things. I try to keep some consistent core structure there as far as the management of OGP.
A lot of people tend to react to what if scenarios I think way too strongly, so when change is in the wind I think it's good to discuss it. I think it's good to analyze it, but I don't think it's good to react to it emotionally as if it's already happening because a lot of times things are discussed and never happen and there's no point in investing all that emotion upfront over things that are just being discussed.
So if anything, if anybody was to reorganize GSA or OGP, all these things would have to be done anyway, they just -- and you lose all the efficiencies of having them in one place, so it's a good way of reminding people that change will come, change is inevitable but the office will go on.
ALBERT MORALES: So, Stan, let's transition to the future, can you give us a sense of some of the key issues that will affect GSA and Government wide policy over the next few years? And within these issues, how do you envision your office will need to evolve over these years?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: And as the leader of an organization that has five staff offices, it may not surprise you that I have a list of five challenges to discuss, each one corresponding to an office.
But I think in the information technology area, the biggest challenge is the tension between more transparency and more security. So as we open up more of Government process to the public and put more things on the web, at the same time we need to be securing that even more.
Then there's also the big picture, cyber security, all the stuff that's not open to the public, but everything is web enabled these days. Everybody is using the internet, and that includes, you know, the people who are protecting us and the military and security agencies. So it's a lot of vulnerability there, which I know the Administration, the last Administration and the current Administration are addressing.
In the area of transportation, travel, and asset management, the office that does the seven different administrative programs, that's the office that has real regulatory authority. You must, the rest of the Government must follow those regulations of fleet management and travel management, mail management, et cetera.
We have been moving slowly over the years to a mindset where we are going to be developing performance measures, collecting data -- I mentioned the vehicle registration system -- and providing, using that data to provide feedback and evaluation to the agencies, themselves. So this is a way of managing, self-managing kind of feedback loop, what's the best in class and how am I doing compared to it.
It's a completely different mindset from saying, "Okay, we're OGP, we're going to put the regulations in place in a collaborative manner, but here we're going to tell you how it's going to be done versus we're going to tell you how you're doing and let you compare that to the best in class and improve further."
So it's not just a matter of putting the technology in place to do it, but it's a matter of shifting the culture of the organization.
In the real property area there's been a lot of talk about the state of the Federal real property inventory. GAO has been upset with it. We're on the high risk list for a number of years. It's been a real property initiative under Executive Order 13327. A lot of stuff has been done under that initiative.
Recently, the Recovery Act allocated $5.5 billion for GSA to upgrade a number of its buildings, and it allows us to get through a lot of our backlog of renovation projects, which is good. There's other money floating around the Government under the Recovery Act, which is good.
Unfortunately, from where I'm sitting, looking at the whole 3.4 billion square foot Federal real property inventory that the problem is really big. We need to do more to renovate the buildings that we need, continue to have a need for.
We need to do more to dispose of the buildings that we don't need or that need too much money to fix-up, and we need to do more in employing alternative work strategies, such as telework and hoteling to reduce the amount of space that we need.
We need to do that as a Government, we need a Government wide approach. GAO calls this "a need for a transformation strategy in the Government". So that's the biggest challenge in that area.
In the area of the regulations and the Regulatory Information Service Center that we talked about, as I said, there has been transparency and collaboration in that area already. We're going to be employing more Web 2.0 technologies to increase that. As we do that, we're going to have the public growing in importance as stakeholders in the regulatory process.
And, again, it's a culture shift, and it actually is a theme here and that the technologies are tools but it's how they impact the way we do business and the culture shift that's needed to get from 1.0 to 2.0 is the real challenge.
And, in this case, you know, the folks in the regulatory arena are used to dealing with each other. This is kind of a technical, analytical process, and they're not as much used to dealing with the public as more active vocal stakeholders in the process, so that's going to happen as employees, new technologies.
In the area of the Committee Management Secretary, again, as I say, they've always been about openness and transparency but, again, as we modernize with the 2.0 technology we're going to have to learn how to deal with what I call the "gray areas".
The FACA was passed in 1972, there was no such thing really as the internet the way we know it today, but certainly Web 2.0, social networking back then. People are interacting using these tools right now, and I often look at it and say, "Are they doing something similar to an Advisory Committee or not and how do we put policy in place to differentiate that?"
So, again, it's kind of a culture shift, and maybe we need to modernize the Act, because 1972 was a different world from 2009.
ALBERT MORALES: So, Stan, that's wonderful, a wonderful perspective there. As you reflect on your career and your transition from the private sector what advice might you give to someone who is out there considering a career in public service?
STAN KACZMARCZYK: I would say particularly to the younger people, if you're considering a career in public service, do it now rather than wait till later. I know when you're younger you say, "Well, the starting salary is higher in the private sector." And you kind of take the short-term perspective. But I would say do it now, you can always go to the private sector later on when you get some experience.
And if it turns out you like the Federal Government, you make a career of it, that's where you'll reap the most benefit of working for the Federal Government with a long-term career and full realization of the benefits that are involved.
I'd also say to people that I think in my experience I find that you learn more from others that you work with than you learn from an organization, itself, and I've always found the quality of people that I deal with in the Federal Government to be impeccable, and particularly in GSA, I've worked with a number of wonderful people and smart people and dedicated people over the years. And you'll learn more from those folks than you will from any culture or from any school really.
Finally, I think the Government, especially GSA, in particular, is a place where you can be a generalist or you can move around, you can learn different things, and if you're not sure of what you want to do and if you're looking for a career change maybe that applies.
It's a good place to find yourself, if you just come in and be flexible and be open to different things and new ideas, and you can find your career.
ALBERT MORALES: That's wonderful advice. Thank you.
Unfortunately, we have reached the end of our time. I want to thank you for fitting us into your busy schedule, but, more importantly, Paul and I would like to thank you for your dedicated service to our country over the past 18 years in your role at GSA.
STAN KACZMARCZYK: Thank you. I'd like to take this opportunity actually to thank my Leadership Team at the Office of Government wide Policy.
We've had a couple of acting leaders over the last couple of years, including me now, and sometimes an organization can drift in that situation, and just waiting for the next permanent leader, but we have such a solid Leadership Team in place that that has not happened. We have continued to move forward and make great progress on behalf of the Government and the American people.
I'd like to thank my Acting Deputy, Jim Deans, who is doing a fantastic job. I didn't think I needed a Deputy and Jim proved otherwise. Now I couldn't live without him.
I'd like to thank Tony Butcher, who is my Chief of Staff.
Becky Rhodes is the Senior Executive in charge of the Office of Travel, Transportation, and Asset Management. She's kind of the heart and soul of OGP.
I'd like to thank or acknowledge Carolyn Austin Digs, who is the head of the Real Property Policy Office, the Senior Executive who took over that office behind me, enabling me to move on to the front office and not worry about the old shop.
Peter Altman is the head of our IT Policy Office.
John Thomas, the head of our Regulatory information Service Center.
And Bob Flack, who is the Committee Management Secretary.
This is an impeccable Leadership Team, and I couldn't get anything done without them.
ALBERT MORALES: That's great. Thank you.
This has been The Business of Government Hour, featuring a conversation with Stan Kaczmarczyk, Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of Government wide Policy at GSA
My Co-host has been Paul Kayatta, Partner in IBM's Public Sector, General Government Practice.
As you enjoy the rest of your day, please take time to remember the men and women of our armed and civil services abroad who may not be able to hear this morning's show on how we're improving their government, but who deserve our unconditional respect and support.
For The Business of Government Hour, I'm Albert Morales. Thank you for listening.
Announcer: This has been The Business of Government Hour. Be sure to join us every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. And visit us on the web at businessofgovernment.org. There you can learn more about our programs, and get a transcript of today's conversation. Until next week, it's businessofgovernment.org.