Buzz of the Week: Dorobek joins Doan on the airwaves

Christopher J. Dorobek, Federal Computer Week’s editor-in-chief for the last two and a half years, has found a new way to cause a stir in the federal information technology community: He got a new job.

Dorobek has been a highly visible — and vocal — presence in the IT community in recent years with his frequent speaking engagements, daily blogging, and weekly appearances on the radio and TV. He is not known for an understated style, favoring a pit bull-like approach to topics such as the Web 2.0 revolution, the rumblings from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and the short, stormy tenure of Lurita Doan as head of the General Services Administration.

As the FCW Insider, Dorobek was relentless in reporting on Doan’s travails as GSA administrator. For example, last year, Dorobek heard that Doan had donned a witch’s hat on Halloween and ridden around the halls of GSA on a Segway. He immediately posted a plea for a photo, got it and posted it on his blog.

That brings us to his new gig. Dorobek is joining Doan as an on-air personality at Federal News Radio, which is available on the radio dial in the Washington, D.C., area and everywhere else online. He will co-anchor the afternoon show with Amy Morris and start a new blog. Wouldn’t you love to be there the first time Dorobek and Doan cross paths in the lunchroom?

But that is not why Dorobek’s job change caused a stir. Instead, it led to speculation, in some circles at least, that his departure was an indication of trouble at Federal Computer Week. Such concerns are common whenever an organization loses someone with such a high profile as Dorobek.

There is no doubt FCW will feel Dorobek’s loss. However, FCW and the 1105 Government Information Group, its parent organization, have no lack of talent. In fact, three former editors-in-chief remain on staff. FCW will grow and change with the market.

BUZZ CONTENDERS

#2: I just want to bang on the drum all day
Looking out for the best interests of the government community, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) would like to give feds the option of working four 10-hour days a week.

OK, we get the practical advantages. One less daily commute every week, fewer cars on the road, offices can shut down three days instead of two to save on power consumption and other costs, and so on.

But having three days off each week sounds good, too. Just ask the National Treasury Employees Union, which endorsed the idea.

#3: Hire more vets
The Veterans Affairs Department has proposed to revise its acquisition regulations to boost federal dollars that go to businesses owned by service-disabled military veterans, according to a notice last week in the Federal Register.

The vets have had a tough time of it in recent years. After fighting for years to create a set-aside category for their businesses and a General Services Administration contract specifically for them, they’re still getting little contracting business, according to some experts.

According to the proposed changes, VA contracting officers would be able to restrict competitions for contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and veteran-owned small businesses. They also could award sole-source contracts to those companies.

We’re not sure how much it will help when the earlier measures have fallen short, but it can’t hurt.

#4: No bugs in Carolina
A North Carolina group is no longer sure it wants the state to be the home to a proposed $450 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas are also in the competition.

The federally funded lab would identify and research the most dangerous pathogens that infect or are transmitted by animals and plants. The Nort h Carolina Consortium for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which had been the chief supporter of North Carolina’s case for hosting the facility, is backing off. Some of its members are concerned that people in Butner, N.C., where the center would be based if the state gets it, have raised legitimate and serious concerns that the Homeland Security Department has not adequately addressed.

Ever read “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston? It’s about how the ebola virus almost got loose in Montgomery County, Md., in the 1990s. Maybe Butner’s residents should be worried.

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