Welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek… where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.
It wasn’t a great week for public servants. There were congressional hearings into the General Services Administration Public Building Service 2010 Western Region conference -- and plenty of lawmakers heaping aghast horror... then there were the stories of the Secret Service agents who were accused partying with prostitutes just before a Presidential visit to Latin America... and then there were the gruesome photos out of Afghanistan of soldiers posing -- seemingly gleefully -- with the body parts of Afghan rebels. Not a week highlighting the best and the brightest.
We can’t solve the problems here, but we’ll try see how the best and the brightest can rebuild in order to do their jobs better. Our issue of the week looks at GSA... that conferences... what happens now... and what it means for contractors...Larry Allen has been following GSA for decades. He is the President of Allen Federal Business Partners. He said told Chris Dorobek this is a difficult situation because it really knocks GSA on its heels -- again...
- It is sometimes remarkable how quickly we forget painful situations -- and I sometimes feel that way about the 2008 economic crash. Sometimes it feels like we are looking to move on -- and time does move so quickly -- that we haven’t taken a step back and looked at what caused the near cataclismic crash... what we learned... and what we can do to prevent it from happening again. This week, BusinessWeek magazine has a story about the Securities and Exchange Commission that essentially talks about how the SEC got its groove back. The story chronicles the recent series of enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and it argues that there is a new era at the agency. They are working hard, even though they are outmanned and outgunned.
- The Pulitzer Prize awards were handed out this week, but Atlantic Media also handed out its Michael Kelly award for a writer who went above and beyond. The story they selected is from The New Yorker -- it’s headlined the "The Invisible Army." Reporter Sarah Stillman tells the story of ten Fijian beauticians who were recruited for lucrative jobs in a posh Dubai salon, only to end up in Iraq giving manicures and massages to U.S. soldiers. It tells of their mistreatment, and talk about the scandal of thousands of foreign workers on U.S. military bases reduced to something like indentured servitude. It is a remarkable story that I missed at the time and was pleased to read this week.
- Finally, how do you get agencies to be innovative, whether it be some gov 2.0 application -- or some different kind of procurement process? Craig Thomler writes this week about convincing risk advisers management to yes to social media initiatives -- but I think it applies to more than just social media. My take: focus on doing the job better... and keep pressing.