How do you say no to the president when he’s asking you to do another four years of public service, just when you’re about to retire? You simply don’t.
That suggestion came from Earl Devaney, retired chairman of the Recovery and Accountability Board, who spoke April 16 at the Federal Senior management Conference in Cambridge, Md.
Devaney spent 41 years in government, investigating white-collar crime and government waste, fraud and abuse as a Secret Service agent and as inspector general of the Interior Department. He joined the RATB when it launched in 2009.
Devaney described the day in 2009 when Vice President Joe Biden called and asked him to chair the new board. It was a proposal Devaney pondered over the weekend, but decided to turn down because he had promised his wife he would retire.
He practiced in front of the mirror all weekend the art of saying no: “Mr. Vice President, thank you very much. It’s a terrific honor, [but] let me give you some names of folks I really think would do a good job for you.”
When Monday came around, Devaney showed up at the appointed time at the White House to see the vice president.
“At some point, I think [Biden] sensed I was sort of moonwalking a little bit; he just watched and said, ‘Let’s go see the president,'” Devaney told the audience.
"So the president says, ‘So are you gonna to take the job?’ Despite his careful practice, Devaney answered the president immediately with a "yes, sir.”
As for the retirement promise Devaney made to his wife? “Needless to say, Mother’s Day, birthdays and Christmas were very expensive,” he deadpanned.
Posted by Camille Tuutti on Apr 17, 2012 at 6:59 PM0 comments
The National Security Agency's people are of a kind that's hard to find, said deputy Director Chris Inglis.
“If I lost my people today . . . it would take me probably 20 years to reconstitute the National Security Agency that I know and love today,” he said. On the contrary, Inglis speculated, to replace what he called all the “machinery” at the agency wouldn't take more than a few years.
The exact number of the agency’s employee is classified, but it’s “somewhere between 37,000 and one billion” joked Inglis, whose April 15 keynote on leadership kicked off the Federal Senior Management Conference held in Cambridge, Md.
Inglis also emphasized the importance of a diverse workforce in the federal government, saying NSA is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.”
“If you at their first encounter embrace [introverts], celebrate them . . you will get their best efforts forever,” added Inglis, a self-proclaimed introvert who said it took him many years to become comfortable in situations that required him to take on a leadership role and be more outgoing.
FedSMC is a joint effort by the General Services Administration, the Government Printing Office, the Interior Department, the National Institutes of Health, FedInsider, The George Washington University and the University of Central Florida.
Posted by Camille Tuutti on Apr 16, 2012 at 6:59 PM1 comments
David DeVries, DOD’s deputy CIO for information management, integration and technology, demonstrated another talent recently: a dry wit.
His sense of irony was in full flower when he suggested, jokingly, that the Defense Department is “a little, homogeneous corporation.”
“The secretary thinks of something and [DOD CIO Teri Takai] comes up with an innovative idea, she passes it along to the director, and we of course type up a quick memo and she signs it, and everyone says, ‘Hey, that’s a great idea, we’ll do this!’ And it gets done within a week or do,” joked DeVries. DeVries, Richard Spires, CIO at the Homeland Security Department and Casey Coleman, CIO at the General Services Administration participated in an April 13 panel discussion on how to secure the cloud with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program. David McClure, associate administrator at GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, moderated the event, which was organized by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management.
Taking on a more serious tone and addressing the topic of information sharing, DeVries highlighted governmentwide collaboration and said his agency rarely does anything by itself. "Every action we take out there involves our partners, whether it's the federal government or the state and local governments," he said. "Gone are the days when the Department of Defense just worried about the warfighting mission side of the house. We are now across the whole spectrum and heavily engaged, and it all comes down to information sharing."
Posted by Camille Tuutti on Apr 13, 2012 at 6:59 PM0 comments