The Circuit


GSA's picklegate

Attendees at the GSA Expo, held last week in San Antonio, said the event was much toned down compared to previous years, with fewer government attendees and fewer parties.

That's a natural reaction to the recent scandal the General Services Administration has weathered regarding egregious overspending at a conference in 2010, detailed in a recent Inspector General report. But perhaps one very telling sign of the new frugality was in the box lunches.

They had no pickles. Apparently, the cost of the pickle pushed the price of the box lunch over the limit.

Posted on May 22, 2012 at 12:11 PM1 comments


NRC commissioner to resign; accused of intimidating staff members

 Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman and Commissioner Gregory Jaczko has announced he’s stepping down after nearly eight years at the agency. The resignation comes a few months after an inspector general report alleged Jaczko had bullied some of the commission's staff and, according to an Associated Press report published at Fox News, ahead of a "potentially blistering" report that follows up on the earlier one. 

“After an incredibly productive three years as chairman, I have decided this is the appropriate time to continue my efforts to ensure public safety in a different forum,” Jaczko wrote May 21 on the NRC blog. “This is the right time to pass along the public safety torch to a new chairman who will keep a strong focus on carrying out the vital mission of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

Jaczko outlined some of the work the agency had done under his leadership in the last year, including responding to the accident at the Fukushima reactors in Japan, and multiple other incidents at U.S. reactors ranging from flooding to an earthquake and tornadoes to damaged plant structures.

Sworn in as commissioner Jan. 21, 2005, Jaczko’s role has involved conducting administrative, organizational, planning, budgetary and certain personnel functions. He became chairman May of 2009.

Before assuming the position as commissioner, Jaczko served as appropriations director for Sen. Harry Reid. He began his Washington, D.C., career as a congressional science fellow in the office of Rep. Edward Markey. Additionally, Jaczko has taught science and policy at Georgetown University as an adjunct professor.

In 2011, an inspector general report said Jaczko had intimidated staff who disagreed with him. Women at the agency felt especially targeted, according to four NCR commissioners who sent a letter to the White House on Oct. 13 complaining how Jaczko's actions had created "grave concern." The same commissioners "sat next to Jaczko last December and told Congress he was an intimidating bully whose actions could compromise the nation's nuclear safety," according to the AP report.

Jaczko denied any wrongdoing at the time and did not mention the controversy in his blog post..

Jaczko said his resignation will be effective upon the confirmation of his successor. There is no word yet on what he plans to do next.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM0 comments


Privacy expert to join FTC

Privacy expert Paul Ohm is reported to be joining the Federal Trade Commission this summer as a senior policy advisor on the Web and mobile, according to a May 21 news article in the Wall Street Journal.

Ohm is a law professor and privacy expert at the University of Colorado who has written extensively on information privacy. His job at the FTC is expected to begin in August.

Posted by FCW Staff on May 21, 2012 at 12:11 PM0 comments