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Archive for November 2011

DorobekINSIDER: What was the story that defined government in 2011?

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As we approach the end of 2011, we start to look back at the year that has been. GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek through December will look at the issues, topics and people that defined 2011 — and that will help define the year ahead. As always, we focus on six words: Helping you do your job better.

And it’s GovLoop, so we want your insights.

This is the initial list off the top of my head. Love to hear your thoughts — or add your own.

Written by cdorobek

November 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM

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DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: More budget

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Welcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week…
The full audio
There is really little doubt about what the big issue is for the third week of November — it has really been one of the most dominant issues this year.
But before we get to that, there were two other issues this week…And this week, we learned that feds are not quite as thrilled with their jobs. In fact, satisfaction among federal workers is down for the first time in four years, according to an annual Best Places to Work survey conducted by the Partnership for Public Service. Given the age of austerity, that probably isn’t a huge surprise. The Washington Post reports that 64 percent of employees were satisfied with their work across the federal government. That represents a slight drop of 1.5 percentage points from last year but the most pronounced dip in the history of the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings. Morale improved at just 31 of the 308 federal agencies, bureaus, departments and offices in the survey.
And, for what it’s worth: the best big agency to work for: the FDIC… small agency: the Surface Transportation Safety Board… and the best agency component: the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Read the full list — we have the link online — and You can read the Washington Post breakdown of the survey… hear audio from the awards ceremony from Federal News Radio… and, of course, it’s GovLoop — we want your insights. And people are discussing the Best Agency list. What do YOU think?

Another significant milestone this week — and it involves GovLoop. The up-start social network for government passed 50,000 members this week. GovLoop founder Steve Ressler said he remembers being a fed and being asked to do something that every agency was doing — yet being frustrated that there wasn’t an effective way to share what worked — and what didn’t. And GovLoop was created. It’s a remarkable platform and Steve deserves a lot of credit for having created it. Over the weekend, we’ll post my conversation with Steve Ressler about the creation of GovLoop.

And don’t miss the GovLoop/NASPAA scholarship contest — GovLoop asked if they only had $100 million to spend, what would they do. Read the answers — and vote for your favorites… we have the link online. To use a Steve Ressler term — awesome.

But the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week, as it has been so often this year — it’s the budget. First the good news, such that it is…

The House and Senate managed to pass a budget bill. The Washington Post calls it a detailed vision of the federal government on a diet.” The House and Senate late in the week approved a $130.4 billion measure to fund five Cabinet departments, the first big budget bill since this summer’s promise of greater austerity.

And this week, the Obama administration announced the winner for the third round of the SAVE awards — the Securing Americans Value and Efficiency awards. This is a contest to find the best way to save money. There were four finalist for the ideas they proposed — the person who proposed the winning idea gets to meet with President Obama. And the winner is… Matthew Ritsko of Crofton, MD, who recommended the creation of a centralized tool repository, or “lending library,” for NASA employees to use when developing and building space flight projects.

From the SAVE award page:

Create a tool “lending library” for NASA flight projects
Matthew Ritsko of Crofton, Maryland
Financial Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
At Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA employees purchase specialized tools and ground support equipment for developing and building flight projects. Many of the tools are not tracked once projects are complete, and as a result funds are wasted on duplicative purchases. In order to cut down on repeat purchases, Matthew suggests creating a centralized tool repository — or “lending library” — where these tools can be stored, catalogued, and checked in and out by NASA employees.
Despite a few steps forward, there is still broad concern that the budget process is still broken — and that there are still significant issues. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Journal said that “Washington is set to let down the nation yet again, as the supercommittee approaches its deadline with no real chances of a deal.”Of course, the deadline for the deal comes up next week.Rosalind Heldermanis a congressional reporter for the Washington Post. And she says that there are very important days ahead…Rosalind Helderman is a congressional reporter for the Washington Post.
And it’s GovLoop, so we want to get your thoughts… And on GovLoop, the questions has been posted: What would a supercommittee deadlock mean to you?
Weekend reading
Little Bets by Peter SimsBefore we head off, I want to note that there are a few extras that you can find online — including some great weekend reading. I have links to a story about how the Department of Veterans Affairs has worked to create an app to help people assess if they have PTSD. Very cool. And a story about 5 Government Procurement Practices That Stifle Innovation… three types of people that you should fire immediately… and a reading list from the Wall Street Journal of books for entrepreneurs. Among the books: a CJD fav: Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries by Peter Sims. An awesome book — particularly for government right now.
Some of the others:
The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast-Growth Firm by Verne Harnish
Street Smarts: An All-Purpose Tool Kit for Entrepreneurs by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham
Happy Thanksgiving!
Next week we will be seeking your thoughts on the issues of the YEAR. Throughout December, we will look at the stories that shaped 2011. And we hope you’ll help craft our list.
Finally, I just wanted to thank you for the work you do. I know times are tough, but having covered the government for a long time now, I know that you are the best and the brightest… and you will find the opportunities to make the changes. And I’m happy to help.

Written by cdorobek

November 18, 2011 at 10:09 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: The budget

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The GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek…  where each week we try to pick a issue… idea… person… or topic that defined the past 7-days… but also choose one that will define the days… weeks… and months ahead… As always, we focus on six words: Helping you do your job better.Generally we hold off telling you what the big story is, but… not this week. This week’s big story is the budget. And there was a lot of budget news this week…

But before we talk budget… some of the other stories that defined the second week of first week of November 2011…

After the break, we highlight some of the big stories of the week… including a fed jobs bill… USAJobs update… TSP’s October numbers…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

November 4, 2011 at 7:14 PM