Friday, May 20, 2011
Articles we found interesting from across the Web, the week of May 16, 2011

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

This week, my mind turns to physics and questions of energy and matter.

  • We  Meter what Matters. When I talk about social media for government, I always try to address the question of metrics.  Writing on FCW, Alan Joch takes the question head on in his article, "Metrics take the guesswork out of Gov 2.0."
  • Does Anonymity Matter? Paging David Brin! The question of transparency vs. anonymityhas been translated into Infographic form.
  • Real Name or Pseudo, Does Online Energy Matter? Over on Slate, Esther Dyson argues that all of our Gov 2.0 activities must be complimented by lots of offline effort.
  • Like the Large Hadron Collider? The CDC is trying to harness the vast energy not of subatomic particles, but of developers (some of whom, like quarks, are strange) to help them produce a Flu App.
  • Experiments in Social Media. On GovLoop, Andrew Krzmarzick writes about the city of Enid, OK, which has a new Web site that folds in a lot of social media tools directly into the site.  Also on GovLoop, Jeff Levy asks what makes a good social media professional and I offer an outline for a course in social media in government--with a reading list of 12 books, so clear your calendar if you enroll!
  • Two Words: Zombie Apocalypse.

John Kamensky

  • OMB Staff Want a Union.  ABC News broke a story about how about one-third of OMB career staff have petitioned for union representation through the American Federation of Government Employees.  ABC broke the story before OMB management learned about the effort.  Government Executive’s Emily Long reports that rank-and-file staff at OMB, like at other agencies, want to have a say about their work conditions.  If the petition goes forward, there could be an election as soon as August . . . .just in time for budget season, which for OMB starts in September!  
  • OSHA Launches “e-Laws” Advisor.  OSHA has long offered a series of on-line interactive guides for small business and other employers to help them understand federal workplace safety regulations – which can be complex – without having to hire consultants and advisors to make sure they are complying properly.  This past week, OSHA added to its series of Advisors, something called the “Recordkeeping Advisor” to help businesses understand what kinds of records and paperwork they need to be keeping so they don’t get fined.  The Advisor also helpfully provides the needed forms and instructions on how to fill them out!  
  • Will the Post Office Default in September?  Here’s an interesting story from Federal News Radio – will the Postal Service default on its obligation to make its scheduled $5.5.billion contribution to retired employee benefits, as scheduled in September?  The Postal Service is scheduled to hit its cumulative $15 billion debt limit by then, and not be able to make the payment (it’s projected to post a net loss of $8.3 billion this year alone).  Congress and Postmaster General Pat Donahoe offer various fixes, but there doesn’t seem to be agreement on how to proceed.  Maybe this will just get rolled into the broader debt ceiling debate!

Dan Chenok

  • A clearer day for government information?  Transparency moves to the cloud.
  • Small changes can lead to big things: on the horizon.
  • Government telco moves forward:  Beyond the Networx contract.


The Business of Government Radio Show: Alejandro Mayorkas

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations. Past government executives include Administrators, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Commissioners, Controllers, Directors, and Undersecretaries.

Alejandro Mayorkas is the director of the US Customs and Immigration Service, overseeing the administration of the world’s largest immigration service.

Each week, The Business of Government Hour interviews government executive who are changing the way government does business. The show airs four times a week on two radio stations in the DC Metro Area. If you can't wait, though, we also put it online. You can also search our audio archives for your favorite interview.