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DorobekINSIDER: GSA reorganizes, Interior shuffles – and the CIO moves

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These posts are often difficult to write because… well, the situation appears fluid and the facts aren’t all in place yet. And given the nature of the issues, people don’t really want to talk about it. That being said, it appears there are a number of changes afoot at GSA, where GSA Administrator Martha Johnson is continuing her broad reorganization of that agency, and at the Interior Department.

As I said, details are still sketchy and it doesn’t appear that everything is locked down yet, but… here is what we are hearing:

* GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications will be transformed into the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology. Dave McClure, the Associate Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration Office of Citizen Services and Communications, will have two deputies, we hear. Martha Dorris, the Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Citizens Services, will lead the citizen services part of the organization… and Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia, currently in the Interior Department CIO, will become something like the Deputy Associate Administrator for innovative technologies. In that role, he will be leading issues like cloud computing and

We hear that Bhagowalia’s last will be tomorrow — and he will start at GSA on Monday, May 24. Bhagowalia was testifying just this morning before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding the transition — or lack thereof — to the Networx telecommunications contract. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller tried to ask him about his shift, but Bhagowalia said he couldn’t answer questions. (So… we have tried to get this information from official sources.)

* Interior Department CIO organization… We haven’t been able to nail these down precisely either, but… we hear that Bhagowalia will be replaced by Bernie Mazer, who is currently the CIO at Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service.

* Interior Department’s National Business Center… There have also been changes at Interior’s National Business Center. Doug Bourgeois, Director of the Interior Department’s National Business Center, has left that post and is now at VMwar as the vice president and chief cloud executive. We hear there could be other changes. Donald Swain, who had been serving as NBC’s chief of staff, is the acting director.

Written by cdorobek

May 21, 2010 at 12:47 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Commerce quietly names Szykman as the new CIO

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Very quietly, the Commerce Department has named Simon Szykman as the agency’s new CIO.

Szykman previously served as the CIO of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)… and before joining NIST, he was the director of the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD).

Commerce Department sealSuzanne Hilding had been serving as the Commerce Department CIO since March 2008. Commerce Department officials were not immediately available with information about where Hilding had gone. Hilding never granted many interviews or spoke publicly often and therefore was not very well known within government IT circles.

Here is Szykman’s bio as posted on the Commerce Department OCIO Web site:

Simon Szykman
Chief Information Officer

Simon Szykman was named the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Department of Commerce in May, 2010. Prior to moving into this position, Dr. Szykman served over three years as the CIO of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Before joining NIST as CIO, Dr. Szykman served as the Director of the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD), where he was responsible for the coordination of planning, budget, and assessment activities for the Federal NITRD Program. In this role Dr. Szykman reported directly to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council.

Dr. Szykman arrived at the National Coordination Office from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, where he served as the Department’s first Director of Cyber Security R&D. At DHS he led the development of cyber security R&D plans, programs, and budgets in support of the Department’s mission, and led the development of the Government’s first interagency Federal Plan for Cyber Security R&D.

Dr. Szykman joined DHS after an 18-month assignment at OSTP. In the role of Senior Policy Analyst, his portfolio included a variety of information technology-related issues, including cyber security, high-end computing, and functioning as liaison for the NITRD Program, among others. Prior to joining OSTP, Dr. Szykman spent several years as a member of the technical staff at NIST.

Dr. Szykman received Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master of Engineering Management degree from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rochester.

Written by cdorobek

May 18, 2010 at 9:32 AM

DorobekINSIDER: The blog becomes a radio show… and programming changes at Federal News Radio 1500 AM

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There will be some changes coming to Federal News Radio 1500 AM.

We told you last week that Jane Norris, who has been one of the anchors on Federal News Radio 1500 AM for the four years, is moving into private industry joining Deloitte. We got to talk to her about her tenure here.

Federal News Radio Program Director Lisa Wolfe will join us next week to talk about some of the changes she is making to the station. Needless to say, Norris’s departure is leading a number of other changes. (And this is a bit of a preview — the official announcement comes early next week… and we will walk to Wolfe next week, but… )

Here is what will be happening starting Monday, May 17:

My co-anchor, friend and my “work wife,” Amy Morris, will join the Federal Drive working with Tom Temin… And the afternoon drive program will change — the Daily Debrief will go and, on May 17, it becomes the DorobekINSIDER… on the radio.

We are still working on what exactly the DorobekINSIDER radio show will be — and thoughts are more than welcome.

The way that I have been describing the show is Charlie Rose, but on caffeine… and/or ‘the federal water cooler — but on the radio.’ The thing I love about PBS’s Charlie Rose Show is that it is almost always thought provoking. It is smart people having a discussion about important issues — and about issues that matter.

So we have gone through an exercise of coming up with the words that would describe the DorobekINSIDER on the radio. Among the words I’ve come up with: buzz… news… connected… innovative… thoughtful… helpful… celebrate success… embrace failure… curious… collaborative… information sharing… helpful… fun… 2.0 (or whatever)… assessing conventional wisdom… challenging conventional wisdom… community… and did I mention fun? Well, it is worth mentioning again.

Turning those words into a radio program is going to be an evolution. The DorobekINSIDER that airs on May 17 will probably be a different program a month later… six months later…

One of the remarkable aspects of Federal News Radio 1500 AM is that we are an ongoing evolution — in some ways, I think the station is really an experiment in radio. It is the first radio station in the world (as far as we know) to move from the dot-com world, to a relatively small frequency, to now blasting on one of the biggest AM frequencies in the Mid-Atlantic. And we are using that booming broadcast voice to reach a community — to you.

We want to continue to push those boundaries — while always keeping our eye on OUR mission: To help the government operate better.

There are a number of questions remaining… for example, I’d love for you to be involved. How do you WANT to be involved?

Yet I have always tried to operate in an open and transparent way. We will address those questions here as they arise… and I hope you will help create the show that accomplishes that mission: To help government operate better.

As we say in radio… stay tuned.

Written by cdorobek

May 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA clarifies the role of regional administrators

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Many GSA watchers believe that one of the longstanding systemic issues within GSA were regional administrators. The issue: Did the regional administrators report to the GSA administrator. Because the regional administrators are political appointees, it was a cloudy issue.

Earlier this year, GSA renamed the regional administrations as ‘regional commissioners’… and named regional senior executives

But last week, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson issued a memo titled “Regional Leadership Structure” — posted below — which seeks to define the role of the regional administrators.

The regional administrator is the GSA official in the region who represents the administrator, and is the face of GSA and the White House in the region. There is new significance to this role because GSA, for the first time, is in a limelight position with an administration. We are being asked to do much more and do it in a much more visible and governmentwide arena.

While previously, the regional administrators were expected to “run” the operational divisions of the region, that ends up being “somewhat foolish” as the expertise, situational knowledge, and functional clustering was in the Federal Acquisition Service and the Public Building Service, she said. “Asking a regional administrator to assume a knowledgeable oversight role did not regularly match their qualifications.”

Read the full memo here:

View this document on Scribd

Previous posts:

DorobekINSIDER: GSA renames regional administrators as ‘regional commissioners’ — the first step to a broader reorg? [March 18, 2009] Many changes at GSA – this week, it’s the regional senior executives [April 25, 2009]

Written by cdorobek

April 21, 2010 at 6:19 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of March 28-April 3: DOD CIO and the Guam capsizing question

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DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the week of March 28-April 3: DOD CIO and the Guam capsizing question

The most read stories for the week of March 28-April 3… on the, on the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, for Mike Causey, and for

…from the

  1. DorobekINSIDER: WH makes it official: Takai nominated for DOD CIO post
  2. DorobekINSIDER: The 2010 Fed 100 Awards Gala: Eagle winners, and I blush
  3. DorobekINSIDER: Is that a ‘for sale’ sign at market research firm Input?
  4. DorobekINSIDER: Off-topic: Back from a great visit to the Galapagos Islands
  5. DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO
  6. DorobekINSIDER: The Federal News Radio Book Club book announcement: Drive by Daniel H. Pink
  7. DorobekINSIDER: Get Federal News Radio on your iPhone
  8. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the month of MARCH 2010
  9. DorobekINSIDER: Jerry Lohfink, head of the USDA’s National Finance Center, to retire
  10. DorobekINSIDER: Federal News Radio Book Club: Daniel Pink’s Drive — the liner notes
  11. DorobekINSIDER: Listen to the Federal News Radio Book Club discussing Daniel Pink’s DRIVE
  12. DorobekINSIDER: Disconnecting from the grid with the Blue Footed Booby
  13. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  14. DorobekINSIDER: DOD issues its much anticipated Web 2.0 policy
  15. DorobekINSIDER EXCLUSIVE: GSA’s Jim Williams to retire from government after 30-plus years
  16. DorobekINSIDER explainer: That Census letter announcing the Census form is coming

… from the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

  1. Congressman Hank Johnson worried about Guam’s stability
  2. March TSP snapshot!
  3. Is your job in danger of being outsourced?
  4. Where is the money? We track misallocated funds in the federal budget
  5. Monday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  6. First TSA nominee foresees tough confirmation process
  7. Wednesday Afternoon Federal Newscast – March 31, 2010
  8. Bill introduced to allow annual leave contributions to TSP
  9. How Driven are you? We find out during Federal News Radio’s Book Club
  10. Bill requires all agencies to have COOP/telework plan
  11. How the health care law will affect FEHBP participants
  12. Debate over cyber warfare intensifies
  13. TSP participants could soon invest unused annual leave
  14. How will health care reform impact you?
  15. Section: Daily Debrief Blogs
  16. WH looks at changing federal financial management
  17. DHS aims to strengthen U.S. – Mexican border
  18. OPM Director Berry furious over federal pay editorial
  19. Timeline for TSP’s Roth option discussed
  20. TSP launches plan to help financial fitness
  21. ‘Inherently Governmental:’ Has the Debate Changed?
  22. Your ID card could soon be much more valuable
  23. Will House healthcare bill affect the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program?
  24. DHS headquarters at St. Elizabeth’s making progress
  25. NRC open bids for its biggest-ever contract
  26. A cutting-edge Web technology for federal financial reporting
  27. White House launches transparency dashboard
  28. Lessons learned, best practices on telework examined after blizzard
  29. Sen. Reid’s amendment would shield FEHB from public option
  30. Reinventing Security at the Pentagon
  31. White House scrambles to find new TSA nominee
  32. Bob Peck is GSA’s new Commissioner of Public Buildings
  33. Jim Williams visits WFED on last day in office
  34. USPS plan would make dramatic changes
  35. Va. Gov wants to lure Northrop to NoVa
  36. Opportunity Tracking: ITSS 4
  37. Earnings down for many TSP accounts in January
  38. IBM develops new way to protect FAA from cyberattacks
  39. Feds, on average, earn more than their private sector counterparts
  40. TSP measures up to private sector funds
  41. Cybersecurity risks exist when filing income taxes
  42. OMB kicks of Tech-Stat program to watch troubled IT programs
  43. Secret FBI files and safer Toyotas
  44. Tips for staying safe at work
  45. Agency heads prepare for FY 2011 proposals
  46. How broadband technology could enhance cybersecurity
  47. FOSE 2010: What the future might hold for the General Schedule system
  48. Feds take a back seat to WMATA in Metro security
  49. Cybersecurity bill changes government response to threats

…for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. Health Care Reform & Your FEHBP
  2. Who’s on FERS?
  3. Accidents Happen: CSRS vs. FERS
  4. About Those Buyout Rumors…
  5. What’s Your Minimum Retirement Age?
  6. Guestwriters in the Sky
  7. FEHBP: 26 is the New 22
  8. Cadillacs, Dependent Kids & the FEHBP
  9. Federal Pay/Inflation: Who’s Ahead
  10. Federal Pay Cut: What A Good Idea!

… and from

  1. OFPP defines ‘inherently governmental’
  2. White House ready to reveal identity management plans
  3. Agency pilots help cultivate ‘inherently governmental’ changes
  4. Lieberman calls for more staff at OMB
  5. National Finance Center defaulting to e-pay stubs
  6. Postal Service prepares to move to five day delivery
  7. Accountability? There’s a dashboard for that!
  8. Obama nominates three key administrators
  9. White House pushing agencies toward better customer service
  10. OMB’s Werfel outlines future for financial managers
  11. DHS may not have the funding to work together
  12. Agencies taking different paths to transformation
  13. OPM’s Berry considers turning telework on its ear
  14. Legislation could spur XBRL use in government
  15. GSA’s Johnson is passionate about teleworking
  16. Care of Gulf War vets gets second look
  17. White House works to change online transactions
  18. Fitzgerald readies the CIO University for the next generation
  19. Census reminds us all to fill out that form
  20. Federal News Radio Reports
  21. OFPP to refine agency-contractor relationship
  22. OPM to submit hiring reform advice to White House next week
  23. Berry lays out priorities in OPM budget
  24. GSA releases FY 2010 per diem rates
  25. OMB shutting down financial systems office
  26. Health care reform and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program
  27. Obama nomiates three key administrators
  28. OMB outlines shift on FISMA
  29. FOSE 2010: Your benefits and the future of the General Schedule
  30. Care of Gulf War Vets Gets Second Look
  31. OMB’s Zients stakes out acquisition reform plans
  32. OPM’s strategic plan sets roadmap to HR reform
  33. FY 2011 budget work on hold
  34. Coast Guard HQ at St. Elizabeths gets full speed ahead
  35. Senators want to tighten up inherently governmental definition
  36. Mobile apps, TechStat lead OMB’s IT evolution
  37. OMB to give agencies plan to modernize services
  38. Bureau of Labor Statistics responds to federal pay in the media
  39. Administration to set new vision for ID management
  40. Agency cybersecurity reporting to get makeover
  41. GSA reorganizes to better green the government
  42. New standards for federal building security coming
  43. Contractor integrity, performance to face higher level of scrutiny
  44. DHS marks new milestone with St. E’s campus groundbreaking
  45. GSA’s Johnson wants more customer intimacy
  46. OMB’s Kundra stakes out new e-gov approach
  47. What’s next for Open Government Initiative
  48. Congress turns up heat on DoD business systems
  49. OPM culling telework data from snow storms
  50. NMCI to NGEN = 43 months Navy says

Written by cdorobek

April 4, 2010 at 2:30 PM

DorobekINSIDER: WH makes it official: Takai nominated for DOD CIO post

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We told you about it back in February — it is official this afternoon: Teri Takai has been nominated to be the Defense Department CIO and Defense Department Assistant Secretary for Networks and Information Integration.

The DOD CIO post has been vacant since John Grimes retired in April 2009.

Here is the write up from the White House:

Teresa Takai, Nominee for Assistant Secretary (Networks and Information Integration), Department of Defense

Since December 2007, Teri Takai has served as Chief Information Officer for the State of California. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, she advises him on the strategic management and direction of information technology resources as the state works to modernize and transform the way California does business with its citizens. Prior to her appointment in California, Takai served as Director of the Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT) since 2003, where she also served as the state’s Chief Information Officer. In this position, she restructured and consolidated Michigan’s resources by merging the state’s information technology into one centralized department to service 19 agencies and over 1,700 employees. Additionally, during her tenure at the MDIT, Takai led the state to being ranked number one four years in a row in digital government by the Center for Digital Government. Before serving in state government, Takai worked for the Ford Motor Company for 30 years, where she led the development of the company’s information technology strategic plan. She also held positions in technology at EDS and Federal-Mogul Corporation. In 2005, Takai was named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine. She is Past-President of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and currently serves as Practitioner Chair of the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government. Takai earned a Master of Arts degree in management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan.

Written by cdorobek

March 29, 2010 at 5:06 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA’s Johnson on Williams: ‘I’m sad to see Jim go’

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The DorobekINSIDER told you earlier that Jim Williams, the commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, is retiring after more than 30-years of government service.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has sent out a note to GSA staff:

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I’d like to share some news with you.

Jim Williams, FAS Commissioner, announced today that he is retiring from government after more than 30 years of service.

Though I’m sad to see Jim go, I am excited for him as he starts the next phase of his life and career.

Please join me in congratulating Jim on his retirement, and thanking him for his service to GSA and our nation.

The note he sent to FAS employees is below.


Written by cdorobek

March 9, 2010 at 4:07 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA’s Johnson speaks to employees – here is what she said

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Martha Johnson is finally the GSA Administrator — both technically telework style as a result of snowpoclypse, but then this week more formally at GSA headquarters auditorium. And Johnson spoke to GSAers for the first time.

“Before I begin formal remarks, I want to say that this is not MY day. This is GSA’s day. And to that end, I want us all to know how GSA is represented in this room,” she said.

Martha Johnson sworn in (Photo: GSA)

You can read her full speech here, but… she laid out three big areas:

  • The sustainability of our environment.
  • Second is transparency.
  • Taking our performance to the next level.

In the 1990s, the Clinger Cohen Act gave us a gift. It pushed GSA out of being the mandated company store for the government. At the time, it was a shock. Many of you probably remember that over 5,000 people took the buy-out in the wake of our tremendous realignment. But it has helped us grow up and made it necessary for GSA to play in the competitive arena and the real market. Our challenge now is to WIN in that market. Why should other agencies divert resources from their core missions in order to set up procurement and contracting staffs? I was asked exactly that question in my Senate hearings. Why indeed! We have tremendous skill, this is our core capacity – delivering solutions – and we should be hands down the best.

Some highlights of her speech:

It is a great honor to have been asked to serve GSA as your Administrator by President Barack Obama. Joining his administration gives me great pride. His leadership, tone, and agenda inspire and teach me. As I step into the role, I hope to do the job effectively and from the bottom of my heart. I thank the president for this opportunity.

I would also like to take this moment to thank Paul Prouty, who has served you as the GSA Administrator for the last year. Paul has brought energy and humor to the office. He has been a voice for the regional perspective. He has tried new things and stirred the pot. I salute his courage and his service. Thank you, Paul.

In the early 1990’s a simple notion was floated by two guys, Fred and Mike. Actually, Fred Treacy and Mike Wiersema. They explained that great organizations are great because they excel at one of three things: The first is innovation. Take Google or Apple as archetypes. Both are wildly and consistently innovative. They take risks. They are curious. They like change. And they’ve built their business models and reputations on that.

The second is customer intimacy – being astonishingly in tune with the customer – which brings to mind great service companies like Nordstrom.

And the third is operational excellence, which is all about getting results, getting problems solved, and getting it done. Think Fed Ex. Think Wal-Mart.

Over the last 15 years, their theory has morphed. It is now argued that, frankly, being good at one of these three isn’t quite enough. A great organization must be all three: Innovative. Intimate with customers. Operationally excellent.

So, where does that put GSA?

For six decades we have been a huge operational machine, in the business of supplying to and housing the federal government. There isn’t a corner of the government that we haven’t touched – from serving the war fighter in Afghanistan, equipping the scientists measuring climate change, assuring that judges in courthouses have a venue that enhances justice, supporting our former President, housing the members of Congress in their home districts, and supplying state and local governments in times of disaster. The Executive, the legislative, the judicial, state, and local.

Read her full speech here.

Written by cdorobek

February 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Johnson sworn in as GSA administrator — telework style

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GSA — the long wait is over.

The General Services Administration now has a new administrator. The DorobekINSIDER has confirmed that Martha Johnson was sworn in as GSA administrator on Sunday — by phone. The phone swearing was first reported by the Washington Post’s Federal Eye.

GSA officials confirmed that Acting Administrator Steve Leeds called Johnson at her Annapolis home on Sunday to administer the oath of office. Johnson’s husband, Steve, served as the official witness.

Johnson was confirmed by the Senate last week. And she was scheduled to be sworn in today. DC’s snowpocalypse delayed that to Thursday. All of that created this odd situation where Johnson was confirmed — but not yet in that job.

Somewhat curiously, GSA decided to do the phone swearing in on Sunday night.

GSA officials say that the phone oath is legal — and was necessary because of the snow.

GSA last had a permanent administrator nearly two years ago when Lurita Doan stepped down from that post.

Written by cdorobek

February 9, 2010 at 4:02 PM

DorobekINSIDER: DC snowpocalypse delays swearing in ceremony for GSA’s Johnson

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DC’s snowpocalypse has delayed the swearing in ceremony for GSA’s newly confirmed administrator Martha Johnson. The DorobekINSIDER told you last week that the swearing in ceremony was scheduled to be Tuesday at 2p ET at GSA HQ. But given that there is yet another storm eying the Nation’s Capital, GSA officials have decided to delay that ceremony to Thursday, Feb. 11 at 2p ET at GSA HQ.

The note to staff:

Martha Johnson Swearing-In Moved to Thursday Good Afternoon GSA

Due to the inclement weather in and around the Washington, D.C. metro area we have decided to postpone our welcoming for Martha Johnson. The
Swearing-In Town Hall event has been tentatively rescheduled for Thursday, February 11 at 2 p.m. For employees in Central Office, we will continue to keep you updated on details for attending the event. For employees in the regions, we will be sure to update you on how to watch the ceremony on InSite.

Thank you for your patience!

Frankly, I’m not sure what Johnson is able to do pre-swearing in — whether that is a formality. I’ve asked, but if you know…

Written by cdorobek

February 8, 2010 at 4:55 PM