Circuit

A partner worth having

Members of the Industry Advisory Council's Partners Program raised more than $60,000 to help wounded soldiers returning from Iraq who are recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Ward 57.

Every Friday, the soldiers enjoy free, all-they-can-eat dinners at Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse in Washington, D.C.

This week, at the group's annual holiday party, Mike Nigro, chief executive officer of Project Performance Corp., will give a $20,000 check to help support the event.

"This is something on the minds of everybody at this time of year," Nigro said. "It's something we want to stay close to."

Where to plug in

Officials at the Center for Digital Government recently unveiled their list of the most digitally advanced cities in America.

Topping the list for big cities was Virginia Beach, Va. Washington, D.C., came in ninth. The top city in the 30,000 to 75,000 population category was Redmond, Wash.

Find a link to the list on the FCW.com Download's Data Call at www.fcw.com/download.

Good news for program managers

Everyone knows program management is not the most glamorous job, but some say that being a government program manager these days has its advantages.

Those include the versatility to move from agency to agency and job to job, and a flexible background requirement.

At a recent Government Program Management Summit sponsored by FCW Events, program managers set out to explain what they do and why they do it.

Among them was Charles Havekost, chief information officer at the Department of Health and Human Services. He compared the job of program manager to the TV character MacGyver.

"Many of you, as you get designated as a program manager, you feel you are the piñata that everyone is going to whack on," he said. "It feels hard, and it feels like you don't have the resources. As program managers, our careers are collecting these packs of matches and teapots and shoelaces" to jackhammer program managers out of difficult situations, like MacGyver drilling himself out of a basement, he said.

Read the fine print

An item buried in the fiscal 2005 omnibus spending bill allowing legislative branch employees to examine citizens' tax returns threw a monkey wrench into final passage of the bill. The House staffer who inserted the provision said he was only trying to inspect the Internal Revenue Service's troubled Business Systems Modernization effort firsthand.

Rich Efford, a staffer for the subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that is responsible for the IRS, told The Washington Post that tax agency officials refused to let him tour the buildings where the project is under way because he might glance at a computer screen showing taxpayer returns, which are protected by privacy laws.

IRS officials told him that the authority to enter such buildings could be granted by the House Ways and Means Committee, which is exempt from the privacy laws related to taxes.

However, Efford told the Post that he shouldn't "have to go beg another committee for the right to review how appropriated funds were being used."

Instead, he asked IRS officials to supply legislative wording that would grant Appropriations Committee staff the same right.

The IRS' language was inserted almost verbatim into the omnibus legislation during a marathon bill-writing session. That chain of events led IRS Commissioner Mark Everson to write a letter of apology as lawmakers scrambled to remove the offending language.

Got a tip? Send it to jhasson@fcw.com.

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