Healthcare.gov Contractors Head to the Hill – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Back in the 1800s the US passed legislation that created the civil service. The civil service was meant to be a group of people that were performing for the country and because that could put them into all sorts of political crosshairs they were afforded some protections. To this day the civil services retains some of those protections. However, in part three of our interview with former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson we learned how the culture of rights in government it butting up against the new trend of performance.

But up front: HealthCare.gov contractors on Capitol Hill

  • Contractors Assign Blame, but Admit No Faults of Their Own, in Health Site

  • Read the testimony of the HealthCare.gov contractors from the House Energy and Commerce Committee

  • Clay Johnson: Here are the 3 questions I would ask if I were in charge of asking questions at tomorrow's hearings

  • Remember that open source code for portions of HealthCare.gov’s front end that the government posted to GitHub but then removed a few days after the site’s rocky launch? Officials said it was creating confusion. Curious developers have figured out how to get the code back, anyway, Wired reports.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Federal employees of the IRS and Customs and Border Patrol will receive today either a portion or all of their backpay from the recent government shutdown. The Washington Post notes that though Monday is the next regularly scheduled pay day for both organizations, IRS and CBP officials are attempting to pay their employees earlier, given that they had to work without pay during the shutdown.  

  2. Lt. Gen. Edward Cardon, the head of the U.S. Army Cyber Command, stated that an evaluation of the size and capabilities of the army cyber force should occur every two years given the rate at which technology is advancing and the growing threat of cyber attacks. Cardon further commented that evaluations every two years will help the army to improve its hiring processes and ability to procure the latest cyber defense technology, as reported by the Federal Times.    

  3. A federal audit by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General this week found that 691 IRS contractor employees in 2012 owed money to the federal government. Specifically, these employees last year accumulated $5.4 million in tax debts. The Hill reports that the reason for this oversight is that the IRS more closely monitors the tax status of its employees, than it does its contractors, reviewing whether employees are up-to-date on their taxes three times a year, and contractors only once every 5 years.

  4. The CIA has filed classified documents with the U.S. federal courts describing the harm that IBM’s injunction against the CIA’s cloud contract with Amazon Web Services will have on U.S. national security. In addition to jeopardizing national security, the CIA states that further delay will create future challenges for the creation of a commercially developed cloud infrastructure for the intelligence community, which FCW reports the CIA has been attempting to obtain for the past two years.     

  5. The Office of Management and Budget has shifted financial management systems from Circular A-127 to Appendix D in Circular A-123. Federal News Radio observes that the agency has also released new guidance for employees regarding the timely reporting of financial information and recommendations on how to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. These two efforts have slimmed down OMB financial system regulations from 500 to 70 employee requirements.

  6. The senior vice president of CGI Federal, Cheryl Campbell, stated today that though CGI was not responsible for the technology that allowed citizens to register for health insurance on Healthcare.gov, the organization does share some of the blame. Preparing for her testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Campbell shared that since the launch of Healthcare.gov, more and more users have been able to enroll in insurance plans. There remains, however, system performance issues caused by the high amount of traffic. The Federal Times notes that both the House and its Energy and Commerce Committee will be continuing with an investigation into the site’s functionality.

  7. Robert Luba, the owner and general manager of Allied Components in Sparta, New Jersey, has plead guilty to sharing sensitive data overseas without first receiving federal government approval. Luba has also admitted to violating his contract with the Defense Department by placing faulty aircraft parts in F-15 fighter planes. The Air Force has since had to ground 47 of its planes for inspection, costing the military approximately $166,000. The New Jersey Herald reports that Luba’s violations carry the following two sentences respectively: a maximum 20-year prison sentence and $1 million fine and a 5-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine.  

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • Steve Rattner: The Biggest Economy Killer: Our Government

  • Gov Tech News: 8 Stats for Leaders: From the Retirement Gap to Cloud Spending

  • Washington Post: SEC proposes ‘crowdfunding’ rules for start-up businesses--Entrepreneurs could use the Internet to sell a stake in their businesses to anyone in the country under rules proposed Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The “crowdfunding” plan would dramatically open up an investment landscape now dominated by Wall Street firms and wealthy people, allowing fledgling businesses to gather small sums from mom-and-pop investors. The SEC unanimously approved the proposal after grappling with how to balance the needs of cash-strapped start-ups with the desire to protect unsophisticated investors from fraud.

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