The Circuit

Morella Gets an IT Stay

Technically, her six-year term as chairwoman of the House Science Committee's Technology Subcommittee is up, but Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.) may not have to vacate her post. The lawmaker will almost certainly be granted an extension if she asks to stay in the job, a subcommittee staff member said. Morella is among the first to have subcommittee hearings broadcast via the Internet, and she has championed legislation on a range of technology subjects.

An aide to Morella said the congresswoman has not decided whether to seek a term extension. There are possible committee reorganizations and other changes in the House to be considered, he said. "And we still have to finish the 106th Congress, too," he retorted.

All's Right, by George

George Molaski, chief information officer at the Transportation Department, is beginning to fill vacant spots in his office even in the waning days of the Clinton administration. Dennis Hupp, who had worked on the Year 2000 rollover effort at the Federal Aviation Administration, will join DOT as the CIO's chief of staff on Nov. 20. Molaski also secured approval for a Senior Executive Service slot to lead information security efforts at DOT.

No Phoning It in

As the Dec. 6 deadline for the transition to the FTS 2001 telecommunications contract approaches, the General Services Administration honored more than half the 165 federal customers for crossing the finish line early. A Nov. 6 ceremony in Washington, D.C., hailed 89 agencies for successfully switching their circuits to those provided by WorldCom or Sprint Corp.

Robert Bubniak, acting chief information officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs and chairman of the Interagency Management Council for FTS 2001, stressed the complexity of switch-ing long-distance voice and network service providers.

"They didn't just move over like-for-like services," Bubniak said. Agencies evaluated the technical contract options, then picked a contractor and worked in partnership with that vendor to find the best route to transition, he said.

Eager or Wishful Thinking?

Assistant Commerce Secretary Greg-ory Rohde perhaps got a little ahead of current events Nov. 2 during a meeting with wireless industry leaders in Washington, D.C. After twice remarking on the importance placed on telecommunications by President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, Rohde finally emphasized that "no one has put as high a priority [on it] as the Gore administration." That proclamation sounded a bit premature in the post-election uncertainty.

A Joke Falls Flat

It was all a joke, the operators of now say. The Web site set up last summer by a New York graduate student to allow citizens to "sell" their votes was filled with satire, but it seemed real enough to elicit cease-and-desist orders from judges in New York, Illinois and Massachusetts and investigations in California and Nebraska.

In an election-day e-mail message, site operator Hans Bernhard, an Austrian businessman who claims to have bought the site from grad student James Baumgartner after New York shut it down, declared that the site was not a real vote auction site. "The real dealers do their businesses quite openly in Washington," he said.

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