Dorobek Dose: Are you prepped for sequestration?

Happy monday!  I’m a bit under the weather today so you will have to bear with me.  Chris Dorobek is off celebrating his birthday this week. So I will be filling in. We are going to do the show a bit differently this week. Each day we will feature a Dose of Dorobek -- a shorter five minute interview that focuses on helping you do your job better and navigate around GovLoop. On today’s program
  • How is your agencies prepping for sequestration? Are you doing enough, too much -- we’ll get some tips from Tim McManus from the Partnership for Public Service.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday the 20th of August, 2012
  1. Federal IT could see big cuts in the next few years. The Office of Management and Budget is calling for a 10 percent cut in IT spending for fiscal 2014. NextGov says the reduction would take down the budget back to 2006 levels. The White House says the reductions should come from infrastructure, commodity products and business systems. OMB reiterated its emphasis on cloud computing, shared services and customer service improvement. OMB told agencies to send in detailed reports on what they'll cut.
  2. Two federal employees are serving suspensions for violating the Hatch Act's prohibitions on politicking while on duty. A technology specialist at the Social Security Administration has agreed to take six months' unpaid leave. Federal News Radio says he hosted a fundraiser and coordinated volunteers for local campaigns while at work. A second fed, a contracting officer at the General Services Administration, is serving a 30-day suspension without pay for inviting people to a fundraiser for President Obama. She sent invitations and distributed campaign material at work using her government email account.
  3. The largest federal employee union has a new president. The Washington Post report the American Federation of Government Employees - AFGE -- has elected 61 year old Jeffrey David Cox Sr. as its new president. Cox, a nurse from North Carolina, will take over from retiring John Gage. AFGE has 277,000 active members.
  4. The Transportation Department is planning to sidestep what it sees as a major roadblock: Congress. Secretary Ray LaHood will announce today more than $470 million to states that promise to use the money to create jobs and improve infrastructure. Federal News Radio reports the money comes from funds Congress set aside in past years for transportation projects. But since then, the Republican led House has banned earmarks. States will have to identify how they would use the funds by October 1st.
  5. We told you about the sex scandal at an Air Force training center -- now leaders are urging airmen to uphold standards of behavior. Federal News Radio reports Secretary Michael Donley says the service is helping sexual assault victims and increasing protection for trainees. He expected investigators to identify any systemic breakdowns. More than a dozen trainers at Lackland Air Force Base face charges of sexually assaulting students. One has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
  6. Is your manager monitoring everything you do on your computer? NextGov reports, virtually every arm” of the government is using sophisticated software that can intercept tweets and Facebook posts, take screen shots of monitors, and record keystrokes. Federal managers are defending the monitoring practice. They say they are taking necessary actions to prevent the illegal dissemination of information, such as leaks to the press
  7. And on GovLoop, have you signed up for our Government Innovator’s Online Summit? The virtual summit is on September 13th and will dive into hot topics facing the government community.  These interactive sessions will cover the State of Social Media in Government, the Mobile Government Movement, How to Advance Your Tech Career, How to Find the Best CMS for Your Agency and the Project Management Survival Guide.  Each of these sessions are free and will focus on current challenges, lessons learned and what’s next.  We have more information on our homepage.
A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
  • Times are tough right now at agencies. But the Wall Street Journal says yelling at your employees only causes more problems. They say managers should try to use short, seven- to 12-word sentences that start with "I," describe your emotions and state the problem.
  • Are national parks closing their gates? No, but the Washington Post says they are facing a huge budget problem. The Post says after more than a decade of scrimping and deferring maintenance and construction projects — and absorbing a 6 percent budget cut in the past two years — the signs of strain are beginning to surface at national parks across the country. Park managers say they are alarmed at the prospect of both next year’s budget and a possible 8 percent across-the-board cut if negotiators fail to reach a budget deal by January. The president’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal — which was largely adopted by the House Appropriations Committee — would cut 218 full-time jobs, or 763 seasonal employees.
 
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