Is Your Job ‘Inherently Governmental’?

Hey there. I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — and this is the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek. Thanks for joining us.

This is week number two for us. And as I said last week, our goal here each week, as I mentioned, is to look at an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… but that will also have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. As always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

There was no shortage of topics for us to choose during the past seven days.

Last week, we spoke about 9/11 — and the impact the day that changed everything had on government. You can find that discussion online — insight.govloop.com — and it is right hand corner under Issue of the Week.

It was more difficult to decide the defining issue for the second week of September. There were a lot of significant stories.

For example, with just weeks left in the fiscal year 2012, it is all but clear that — yet again — there will be no budgets for agencies again for fiscal 2013. The Hill reports that the House Appropriations Committee introduced a nearly $1.1 trillion stopgap measure to keep the government running through Nov. 18.

The measure includes $3.65 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Irene, recent wildfires, floods and tornados throughout the country and other natural disasters.

Just the first step for a temporary funding measure.

Meanwhile the budget super committee held its first meetings this week. The 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was formed by legislation in early August and it has the unenviable task of finding $1.5 trillion in savings by Thanksgiving. Federal Computer Week reports that feds are watching the committee carefully, given that many recent proposals to reduce federal spending have involved salary freezes, staff reductions and other measures that affect feds.

And if you want to look at reinventing government, there was a wonderful story this week from NextGov about eDiplomacy — specifically the State Department’s Office of eDiplomacy. For years — maybe generations — the State Department took pride in its lack of technological advancement. But the Office of eDiplomacy is bringing the power of information sharing to the State Department’s stayed culture.

We give our quote of the week to career diplomat Richard Boly, who says, “We’re really not talking about pie-in-the-sky expensive futuristic stuff, but things that are readily available today–mobile technology or Web-enabled technology. Technology that is readily available, and that people know about,” says Boly.

There were a number of big, important stories out there.

But GovLoops Issue of the Week is one that has been debated for decades: what is inherently governmental.

What jobs should be done by feds? And what can be contracted out?

The issue is one of the more important — and most debated — in government.

The Obama administration this week issued it’s long awaited final guidance on what work is Inherently government.

The memo from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, issued on Monday, has the exciting title:  Performance of Inherently Governmental and Critical Functions [PDF or Flash version]. And, at 75 pages, it is hardly on any best seller lists.

The wonky title belies the importance of the issue — what work can be done by government and what can (or should) be contracted out.

This week, we’ll assess that issue — and what it means for feds — and government contractors.

Joining us is somebody who has been watching — and shaping — that issue for years. Rob Burton was the deputy administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy — the organization that issued the guidance this week. He is now a partner with the Venable law firm.

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