Circuit

More turnover at USDA
Two more officials are leaving the Agriculture Department.

Late last month, Paul Brubaker, administrator of the Transportation Department’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, sent an e-mail message to his employees informing them that Cheryl McQueary would be joining the organization as deputy administrator.

McQueary had served as USDA’s assistant chief information officer for information technology transformation programs.

Meanwhile, Lynn Allen, USDA’s associate CIO for cybersecurity, announced he is leaving to take a job at the Housing and Urban Development Department.

These are the latest in a series of departures from USDA’s CIO organization, which has lost Bob Suda, Chris Niedermayer and Jerry Williams in recent weeks.

March (government movie) Madness
March Madness will be on us soon, and many people will be tuned in to college basketball.

In that spirit, we have decided that March is going to be Government Movie Madness on FCW.com.

We got the idea from a book titled “The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything,” edited by Mark Reiter and Richard Sandomir.

The book compiles March Madness-style brackets on just about everything.

In the bracket for the best chief executive officer, Warren Buffett beat out Jack Welch. There are brackets for celebrity sports couples (Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe beat out Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf). The item most likely to survive past the 21st century (shoelaces beat out silk) and talk show hosts (Johnny Carson bested Oprah Winfrey).

Taking a page from that enjoyable book, FCW will host a bracket of the best government- themed movies. We will make the pairings, but you will do the voting at FCW.com.

Find more information, including links to the latest FCW.com poll, the list of movies and the brackets, at FCW.com’s Download at www.fcw.com/ download. We will also print the list in the March 24 issue of Federal Computer Week. The initial rounds will be fast — two to three days — so visit the site often.

Evans’ GPS woes
The government IT community is famous for its breakfast meetings. So when Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for e-government and IT, agreed to appear for her annual post-budget presentation at AFCEA International’s Bethesda, Md., chapter breakfast, it was no small sacrifice.

Evans lives in the panhandle of West Virginia, which is a healthy commute, particularly given the Washington area’s traffic.

This year, however, Evans was late. She had travel problems that were so bad she joked she almost called somebody at the Transportation Department. Apparently, construction in the area caused problems for her car’s GPS device.

“We all get so dependent on technology, don’t we?” Evans asked.

It’s not the A list
No agency wants to find one of its IT project on OMB’s watch list, which means the project has problems and OMB has concerns about it.

However, the agency seems to be concerned about one of its own projects. One of its two Exhibit 300 business cases landed on the watch list — and it’s the IT administrator’s project.

Speaking to reporters after a budget briefing, Evans revealed that the project was hers, but she wouldn’t say what it was. However, Evans said she was confident that the project would be erased from the watch list by March. Getting Evans’ project off the watch list will free more time for OMB to keep an eye on other agencies’ activities.

Facebook: More than a dating service
The government’s youngest workers grew up with the Internet, and now young feds are changing how agencies operate, said Dave Wennergren, the Defense Department’s deputy CIO. He made his comments at the Federal Networks 2008 conference in McLean, Va.

Members of the Net Generation — those post-baby boomers who don’t know a world without the Internet — work hard and enthusiastically, Wennergren said. However, their managers must adjust to the way that generation works and lives. For example, young people rarely use e-mail. Instead, they chat with one another online, send text messages and communicate through social networks, such as Facebook.

“If you think Facebook is a way to get a date, you’re wrong,” Wennergren said.

The new workforce uses Second Life for real-life issues.

“If you think Second Life is a game, you’re getting old,” Wennergren said.  

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