Weekly Round-up: June 13, 2014
- Open data can save your life. Really. Alex Howard has the "backstory of the openFDA platform, which gives the public access to adverse drug event reports." He writes that "[t]he FDA's open data initiative will add APIs for product recalls and product labels soon. " Related: re/code writes that "The Cure for Health Care Is in Big Data. . . "
- But Was It an Aristotelian Confluence? A really great, if long, read: "Small (City) Pieces, Loosely Joined" Great pull-quote: "The confluence of these two trends — the development of reusable open components and the emergence of civic startups—presents a compelling opportunity for cities thinking about changing their approach to technology." Example: Ripe Near Me.
- Vacay ProTip via NYTimes: Don't let tech sabotage your summer vacation.
- New guidelines would simplify treatment of sensitive unclassified information.
- Proposals from outside advocacy groups would make FOIA friendlier to requesters.
- Former DOD Deputy Secretary argues for greater leveraging of commercial technology.
- Encouraging Confirmation Hearing for New OMB Director. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, reports that the confirmation hearing for Shaun Donovan to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget had a heavy emphasis on management. Miller writes: “Donovan said during his five years as secretary of HUD, he grew frustrated, at times, over the silos or lack of coordination among agencies. He said, if confirmed, he would use OMB's special position in the government to ensure more and better coordination on programs and projects.”
- Success? Hard to Tell, Says GAO. Shefali Kapadia, Federal News Radio, writes that a new Government Accountability Office report on the progress of the implementation of cross-agency priority (CAP) goals during the 2012-2014 period could not be assessed: “Of the 14 CAP goal reviews that GAO studied, six of the reviews did not have the quantitative data necessary to measure progress.” Why were there no rigorous metrics?: “OMB said it gave goal leaders flexibility in their approaches, because it wanted to encourage agencies to take ownership of the goals.”
- The Perils of Performance Measurement. Joe Davidson, Washington Post, offers an insightful perspective on the use of performance measurement for all agencies, based on his read of the recent Inspector general audit report of the recent Veterans Affairs scandal around the timeliness of hospital appointments for veterans: “Too much of VA’s paperwork contains bogus information. That was driven by a system that turned a laudable goal into an object of deception. Metrics are important, but too much emphasis on them is dangerous.”
- New: ISO Standards for City Government. Neal Pierce, CitiScope, reports: “the first-ever set of ISO standards for world cities has been created. And the implications are dramatic. City policymakers will have objective standards to compare their services and performance with other cities around the world.” Take a look at ISO Standard 37120 – how does your community rate?
- New OMB Watch Word: “Effectiveness.” Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, reports that OMB deputy CIO Lisa Schlosser said at a conference: "We revised PortfolioStat a bit this year. We aren't just focused on creating efficiencies, but effectiveness. How do we really look at the outcomes that we are driving from our investments? How are we better serving the customer? You will see a lot of emphasis on measuring customer satisfaction."
- Feds Attend Webinars vs. Conferences. Brittany Ballenstedt, NextGov, writes about “a new study by Market Connections that found less than half (42 percent) of the more than 3,700 federal employees surveyed have attended conferences, trade shows or industry events in 2014, down from 49 percent in 2013 and 62 percent in 2011. . . . But while conference attendance has decreased, webinar participation rose this year, with 66 percent of federal employees saying they have participated in a webinar in 2014, compared to 62 percent in 2013 and 51 percent in 2011.”
- Feeling Left Out. Stephanie Wasko, Federal News Radio, reports that a new GAO report concludes: “The fragmented community of agency human-capital professionals is too often left out of important agency decisions,” and that: “ GAO auditors found human-capital workers lack opportunities to communicate with each other and coordinate across agencies. The report also noted a lack of support from the Office of Personnel Management.”
- White House Designates a Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Implementation. Dan Nather, Politico, reports that when the Healthcare.gov website crashed, the White House brought in a temporary team to lead the fix. Phil Schiliro recently left the White House team overseeing the fix, and in his place, the White House created a new permanent deputy chief of staff position for policy implementation – broader than just healthcare – and named Kristie Canegallo to that position.
Inside the Reporter's Notebook: OMB's word of the year: Effectiveness
In this edition of Inside the Reporter's Notebook, FedRAMP compliance results are still months away, and OMB's word of the year is "effectiveness."
'Significant' structural damage shutters NIH leased facility
A leased National Institutes of Health building in Rockville, Maryland, has been closed for three weeks after employees reported feeling the building tremble.
Steve Cooper to become Commerce CIO
The former Homeland Security Department and Federal Aviation Administration chief information officer is coming back for a third tour of duty as the Commerce Department CIO. Commerce sources confirmed that Cooper will be named the new CIO and more details will be available next week. The Washington Business Journal first reported Commerce's decision to hire Cooper. Cooper currently is a principal at Deep Water Point consulting, a guest lecturer at the National Defense University's iCollege and a partner with the Strativest Group, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The Business of Government Radio Show: Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.)
The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government.
Maj. Gen. Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., (USMC-Ret.) was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 12th Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He began his duties as head of the agency on July 17, 2009. As Administrator, Bolden leads a nationwide NASA team to advance the missions and goals of the U.S. space program.
Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED