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Halloween at Federal News Radio

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Halloween at Federal News Radio

Originally uploaded by cdorobek

Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief’s Amy Morris, right, and Dorothy Ramienski, our Internet editor… and yes, it is Halloween.

Written by cdorobek

October 31, 2008 at 4:53 PM

Posted in Federal News Radio

State CIOs name Pam Walker to head government affairs

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The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has named Pam Walker as director of government affairs. She will be responsible for directing the associations government affairs activities of the organization and ensuring that the views of state CIOs are heard in Washington, DC.

Here is the full release:

Walker Named NASCIO Director of Government Affairs

(Lexington, KY) – The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Pam Walker as Director of Government Affairs. In this newly created position, Pam will be responsible for developing and directing the association’s government affairs activities and advocacy to advance NASCIO’s strategic policy agenda. This role will include ensuring the perspectives of state CIO’s views are represented in the shaping of federal legislation and policies, working with state and federal lawmakers on key state IT issues and continued alliance building with strategic partners.

“This important announcement is the outcome of many months of serious deliberation by NASCIO’s leadership and we are very excited to welcome Pam Walker as the Director of Government Affairs”, said Gopal Khanna, Minnesota CIO and NASCIO President. “She brings a great deal of experience to the association and to the new DC office. Pam will work closely with Doug Robinson, NASCIO’s Executive Director, to develop and direct our advocacy agenda.”

Because of her knowledge of state government, Pam is well qualified to serve NASCIO and its members. Her experience includes over twelve years in high-profile government affairs positions including most recently as Senior Director of Government Affairs for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and Legislative Researcher with Billtrack, Congressional Quarterly. Pam has a M.A. in International Transactions and a B.A. in International Studies from George Mason University.

“Moving from part time to full time representation in Washington was a key goal established by the officers. Adding Pam as our full time representative in Washington will improve our visibility and effectiveness on issues of importance to state chief information officers. Pam is a great addition to our team and I look forward to her contributions.” said John Gillispie Iowa CIO and NASCIO past President.

Pam will be located in NASCIO’s new Washington DC office at the Hall of States, 444 North Capitol Ave, NW Suite 642, Washington, DC 20001. She can be reached at

Written by cdorobek

October 31, 2008 at 9:24 AM

Happy Halloween… by the numbers (Thanks Census)

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  First Family pets get in the Halloween spirit, Friday, Oct. 17, 2008, in a portrait on the Blue Room balcony on the south side of the White House. From left are Miss Beazley, Willie the cat, and Barney. The dogs are Scottish Terriers. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

First Family pets get in the Halloween spirit, Friday, Oct. 17, 2008, in a portrait on the Blue Room balcony on the south side of the White House. From left are Miss Beazley, Willie the cat, and Barney. The dogs are Scottish Terriers. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Happy Halloween — by the numbers… thanks to the U.S. Census

The observance of Halloween, which dates back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of witches, ghosts, devils and hobgoblins. Over the years, Halloween customs and rituals have young and young at heart take a more light-spirited approach. They don scary disguises or ones that may bring on smiles when they go door to door for treats, or attend or host a Halloween party.

Trick or Treat!

36 million
The estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters in 2007 — children 5 to 13 — across the United States. This number is down about 38,000 from a year earlier. Of course, many other children — older than 13, and younger than 5 — also go trick-or-treating.
Source: Population estimates

110.3 million
Number of occupied housing units across the nation in 2007 — all potential stops for trick-or-treaters.
Source: Housing Vacancies and Homeownership

Percentage of households with residents who consider their neighborhood safe. In addition, 78 percent said there was no place within a mile of their homes where they would be afraid to walk alone at night.
Source: Extended Measures of Well-Being: Living Conditions in the United States, 2003

Jack-o’-Lanterns and Pumpkin Pies

1.1 billion pounds
Total production of pumpkins by major pumpkin-producing states in 2007. Illinois led the country by producing 542 million pounds of the vined orange gourd. Pumpkin patches in California, New York and Ohio also provided lots of pumpkins: Each state produced at least 100 million pounds. The value of all pumpkins produced by major pumpkin-producing states was $117 million.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Where to Spend Halloween?

Some places around the country that may put you in the Halloween mood are:
Transylvania County, N.C. (29,984 residents). Source: Population estimates 2007

Tombstone, Ariz. (population 1,562). Source: Population estimates 2007

Pumpkin Center, N.C. (population 2,228); and Pumpkin Bend, Ark. (population 307).
Source: Census 2000

Cape Fear in New Hanover County, N.C. (15,711); and Cape Fear in Chatham County, N.C. (1,170).
Source: Census 2000

Skull Creek, Neb. (population 274). Source: Population estimates 2007

Candy and Costume

Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2006, employing 39,457 people and shipping $13.9 billion worth of goods. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 128, followed by Pennsylvania, with 116.
Source: 2006 County Business Patterns and 2006 Annual Survey of Manufactures, Value of Product Shipments

Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured nonchocolate confectionary products in 2006. These establishments employed 18,733 people and shipped $7.2 billion worth of goods that year. California led the nation in this category, with 72 establishments.
Source: 2006 County Business Patterns and 2006 Annual Survey of Manufactures, Value of Product Shipments

24.5 pounds
Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2007.
Source: Current Industrial Reports, Confectionery: 2007

Number of costume rental and formal wear establishments across the nation in 2006.
Source: 2006 County Business Patterns

Other government Halloween related sites…

Happy Halloween!

Written by cdorobek

October 31, 2008 at 12:05 AM

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Another Oracle buy… this time Haley

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Another Oracle buy — the computer giant announced today that it has agreed to purchase the parent company of Haley, which provides policy modeling and automation software for legislative and regulated industries. Haley does work in the public sector.

The move expands Oracle’s move into the social services and adds enterprise policy automation for legislated and regulated industries.

Here is Oracle’s announcement:

RuleBurst Holdings Limited, the parent company of Haley Limited (Haley), a leading provider of policy modeling and automation software for legislative and regulated industries such as public sector, financial services and insurance. The transaction is subject to stockholder and governmental approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of 2009. Until the deal closes, each company will continue to operate independently.

Haley has over 20 years experience in delivering complex policy automation software for industries that are a focus for Oracle, including public sector, financial services and insurance. Haley’s leading applications empower business users to translate legislation and policy into automated business rules using natural language to enable self-service, automate advice, ensure compliance and mitigate risk for policies enterprise wide.

The combination of Haley’s products with Oracle’s ERP, Siebel CRM, and Oracle’s industry applications is expected to create the first packaged software solution for social services agencies with an enhanced case management application utilizing Haley to drive eligibility determinations. Financial services customers are expected to more effectively manage the business rules that govern trading, lending, underwriting, claims, origination and fraud prevention. Insurance customers are expected to be able to optimize complex underwriting through multi-variable “what-if” capabilities, apply business logic to highlight high-risk claims and make improved claim adjustments.

Written by cdorobek

October 30, 2008 at 11:30 PM

Posted in Industry

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Dee Lee wins ACT/IAC’s prestigious ACT/IAC Mendenhall award

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The 2008 Mendenhall award -- all we're missing is Dee Lee

The 2008 Mendenhall award -- all we are missing is... Dee Lee

One of the big parts of the ACT/IAC’s annual Executive Leadership Conference is the awarding of the annual Janice K. Mendenhall Spirit of Leadership Award, the highest tribute that ACT/IAC can bestow on a member of the government IT community.

The actual award was a funny experience. ACT/IAC had given out all of its awards — read all the winners after the break — and the Mendenhall award is the big one of the evening. The late Mendenhall was a long-time GSA leader. I knew her in passing, but she is still well respected — even years later. And the Mendenhall award is one of the highlights of the Executive Leadership Conference each year. And last year’s winner, Ellen Glover, had very nice words to say about Lee.

Dee Lee has a distinguished 30-year government career serving in a wide range of political and career positions and agencies. Throughout her career, she has led by example, thus serving as a role model, mentor, and source of inspiration to other rising stars among the ranks of government and industry. A “straight shooter,” Dee has engendered the respect of both industry and government colleagues by going “above and beyond” to make a difference to others. She has a passion for government, government acquisition and excellence as illustrated by her government career which includes the positions of director of management and chief acquisition officer for FEMA, assistant commissioner of integrated technology services for GSA’s FAS, and director of defense procurement and acquisition policy at DOD.

And when they called Lee to the stage, everybody was on their feet giving a standing ovation. Fortunately or unfortunately, Lee didn’t know she was the winner, so she had gone to her room to work on a presentation she was giving later on in the week.

They ended up giving out the award to Lee on Tuesday morning.

The photo is of the previous Mendenhall award winners who were at ELC holding Lee’s award.

The full list of Mendenhall award winners are:

Previous winners have included:

  • Ellen Glover (2007)
  • Renato (Renny) A. DiPentima (2006)
  • Marcella Banks (2005)
  • Kevin Carroll (2004)
  • Howard Ady (2003)
  • Sandra Bates (2002)
  • Ginny McCormick (2001)

Earlier this eyar at FCW’s 2008 Federal 100 Awards Gala, we gave Lee a special recognition for her outstanding service.

Lee is beyond well respected having served a distinguished government career. After the break, I will post the full ACT/IAC release, but… soon after Lee retired, I wrote FCW’s editorial praising Lee.

As we all know, leadership doesn’t depend solely on one’s title. True leaders are beacons no matter what position they hold, and that has always been the case with Lee. She also is universally liked and respected, which puts her in a small club these days.

Lee is one of those rare people who can build consensus and be forceful at the same time. She listens, yet she manages to keep the ball moving down the field. She has always looked out for what was best for the agency, the government and the citizens of the country for whom she worked.

After that, I got a note from another well-respected fed who has worked in government procurement:

You all know Deidre Lee, or Dee, and I am sure you all know her history as the head of NASA Procurement, where I first met her, then, head of all DOD procurement, then the head of all federal government procurement policy as the Administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at OMB, then at GSA as an Assistant Commissioner in the old Federal Technology Service, and last as the Director of Management and Chief Acquisition Officer at FEMA within DHS. Dee has not only been an exceptional leader in all of her jobs, but she has been a great voice for the acquisition community everywhere she has been. She is well-liked and respected by everyone who knows her and by thousands more who have not had the specific pleasure yet of getting to know her. I don’t expect to see another person ever who will have been a leader at NASA, DOD, GSA, DHS, and a political appointee leader of OFPP, with a comet’s trail of successful experiences, and the government, the taxpayers, her employees and co-workers are so much better simply because of Dee.

I couldn’t agree more. She is, in short, simply remarkable.

Get the list of the other ACT/IAC ELC award winners after the break
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

October 30, 2008 at 7:51 AM

Posted in awards, Circuit, community

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What are the big issues for state and local CIOs??? (And what isn’t!)

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What are the big issues for CIOs at state and local governments? Well, NASCIO asked ’em and here is their list [PDF]:

1. Consolidation: centralizing, consolidating services, operations, resources, infrastructure
2. Shared Services: business models, sharing resources, services, infrastructure
3. Budget and Cost Control: managing budget reduction, strategies for savings, reducing or
avoiding costs, activity based costing
4. Security: security safeguards, enterprise policies, data protection, insider threat
5. Electronic Records Management/Digital Preservation/E-discovery: strategies, policies, legal
issues, opportunities for shared services, emergency preparedness
6. ERP Strategy: acquisition, implementation, expansion, upgrade
7. Green IT: policies, energy efficiency, power management, green procurement, e-waste
8. Transparency: open government, performance measures and data, accountability
9. Health Information Technology: assessment, partnering, implementation
10. Governance: improving IT governance, data governance

I’m really surprised budget isn’t number one, to be honest. But I’m also surprised by something that is missing: government 2.0 didn’t seem to even make the list? (Transparency, maybe?)

Hat tip: Government Technology’s Public CIO

Written by cdorobek

October 29, 2008 at 7:18 PM

Posted in CIOs, State and local, strategy, Technology

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More food from ELC — Monday lunch

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This was Monday lunch — I lost the card that said what it was, but… chicken.

Written by cdorobek

October 29, 2008 at 9:26 AM

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Mintz’s daughter on The Daily Show

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Mintz's daughter on the Daily show -- in the back row


Transportation Department CIO Dan Mintz’s daughter, Miriam, is an actress in New York. And this political season, she got a big break — to play an undecided voter on Comedy Central’s fake news program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Yes — one of those people who are undecided.

Miriam Mintz on The Daily Show

Miriam Mintz on The Daily Show

Daily Show “correspondents” Samantha Bee and Jason Jones brought together a focus group to try and figure out what eight undecided voters are waiting to hear. Remember — she’s acting! (More information on Miriam Mintz on her Web site: Being a good and proud father, Dan Mintz let me know that she is going to be in a Shakespeare play next month in Flushing, and that Miriam works at Lure Fish Bar restaurant in SoHo.

You can watch The Daily Show focus group for yourself here.

Written by cdorobek

October 29, 2008 at 8:57 AM

Posted in Circuit, community

Happy birthday to… Karen Evans

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Dorobek and Evans

Dorobek and Evans

A very happy birthday to… none other then Karen Evans, administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology (IT) at the Office of Management and Budget.

Evans has been enormously influential over the years — particularly in this role, which services as the de factor government CIO. And, agree or disagree with her — and I have done both — and while even she acknowledges that she can be a difficult boss sometimes. All of that aside, there is no doubt that she is passionate and dedicated to government service and agency missions. And, as I have grown to know her better personally, she is a very honest and honorable person.

Unfortunately, the biggest event on this date in history… well, this event strikes just a bit too close to home these days — it is the stock market crash of 1929. Any idea the percentage that the market dropped on that day? I’ll give you part of the answer — it dropped some 38 points.

Here is the write-up from the public radio’s Writer’s Almanac

It’s the anniversary of Black Tuesday, which happened in 1929 — the worst stock market crash in the history of the United States. The economy had been so good during the 1920s that people kept speculating in the markets, so stock prices were too high, much higher than the stocks themselves were worth. When they suddenly fell, it was a snowball effect. People had borrowed money to buy stocks, thinking that they could turn around and sell the stocks at a profit, and now they went bankrupt. On Black Tuesday, stock prices fell so fast that by the end of the day many companies couldn’t sell their shares at any price.

Black Tuesday was the beginning of the Great Depression. By 1932, more than 100,000 businesses had failed and 13 million people had lost their jobs.

This from Wikipedia:

On Black Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 38 points to 260, a drop of 12.8%. The deluge of selling overwhelmed the ticker tape system that normally gave investors the current prices of their shares. Telephone lines and telegraphs were clogged and were unable to cope. This information vacuum only led to more fear and panic. The technology of the New Era, much celebrated by investors previously, now served to deepen their suffering.

Black Tuesday was a day of chaos. Forced to liquidate their stocks because of margin calls, overextended investors flooded the exchange with sell orders. The glamour stocks of the age saw their values plummet. Across the two days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23%.

By the end of the week of November 11, the index stood at 228, a cumulative drop of 40 percent from the September high. The markets rallied in succeeding months but it would be a false recovery that led unsuspecting investors into the worst economic crisis of modern times. The Dow Jones Industrial Average would lose 89% of its value before finally bottoming out in July 1932.

Want to find out more — which Simpsons star was born today… which senator was born today… and earlier we told you about the birthday of one of Charlie’s Angels — another “Angel” shares Evans’ birthday today… Find out more after the break…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

October 29, 2008 at 8:19 AM

Posted in birthdays, community

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Worth watching — A National Dialogue: OMB taps into the power of us

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There is an amazing program that deserves to be watched carefully because of what it might mean for other agencies.

Everybody has their own definition of Web 2.0 — and, by extension, government 2.0. My definition is that Web 2.0 is the theory that all of us are smarter then any one of us individually — it is the wisdom of crowds. There are other cases of this theory — markets, for example, seek to tap into the power of us… so does brainstorming. Web 2.0 takes those experiences and adds the powers of the Internet, which makes the power of us possible on a much larger, networked scale.

OMB is conducting a wonderful test of these Web 2.0 tools in a test case that could offer some real lessons learned. And OMB found a partner with the National Academy of Public Administration, which has been way in front helping provide government with ways to implement collaboration with their Collaboration Project.

This week, NAPA and OMB launched what they are calling a Web 2.0 National Dialogue , which you can find at This specific “dialogue” will focus on health IT and privacy around the question: How should we expand the use of information technology and protect personal privacy to improve health care?

Earlier, we had Lena Trudeau, program area director for strategic initiatives at NAPA on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris recently. You can hear that conversation here [MP3].

Some more information from The National Dialogue’s FAQ:

This national discussion will engage a diverse group of voices in tackling one of the key issues confronting the nation’s health care system: How can we use information technology to improve the way patients interact with the healthcare system, while safeguarding their right to privacy? Participants will have an opportunity to discuss challenges, generate breakthrough ideas, and recommend principles that will be presented to the next Administration.
How can I participate in the National Discussion?

The National Discussion is open to everyone. It’s easy to submit and rank ideas. To learn more, please read our tutorial on using this site.

How will my participation in the National Discussion make a difference?

The National Discussion will produce concrete, actionable suggestions for government leaders. A panel of Fellows from the National Academy of Public Administration will distill the results of this dialogue into a report that captures “citizen-centric” recommendations. The report will be presented to the transition team for the new Administration, as well as OMB, the United States General Services Administration, the Federal CIO Council, and other relevant Federal agencies.
Who is hosting the National Discussion?

The National Discussion on Health Information Technology and Privacy is being hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration, in partnership with AmericaSpeaks and Delib. Established in 1967 and chartered by Congress, the National Academy is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of top public management and organizational leaders who tackle the nation’s most critical and complex challenges. As the home of The Collaboration Project, the National Academy is uniquely positioned to host this discussion. We are proud to be working in partnership with AmericaSpeaks and Delib, non-partisan experts in online and face-to-face citizen engagement and public deliberation.

You can also get more information here and here. [PDFs]

There are all sorts of ways that this kind of idea can be used. For example, why can’t an agency put its regulations out in this form — let people offer their comments by writing how they think the regulations should be. (To be honest, I don’t really get e-government initiative. In the end, all it does is put regulations online — and not in a particularly usable form. More on this later.) Agencies could do the same thing with an internal policy — tap into the knowledge in your agency. Or use it on HR policies — what a way to get buy-in.

So… let’s watch and I hope we all learn.

Written by cdorobek

October 28, 2008 at 8:16 AM

Posted in Uncategorized