The gift of diligence

The Connecticut General Assembly opened hearings last week about whether to impeach Gov. John Rowland for improper acceptance of gifts. The fallout from the investigation is already affecting information technology contracting, said state chief information officer Rock Regan.

After the start of the investigation, the state attorney general implemented a policy asserting that all contracts must include an affidavit signed by everyone involved in the contract. The affidavit will state that no government employees involved have been provided with illegal gifts, and it will list all legal gifts. That may not seem like much of an imposition, but the policy covered work during the past 10 years, which can be a problem for some larger companies doing business with the state, Regan said.

The General Assembly changed the policy to cover only the past two years, but "the last four months have been interesting," Regan told attendees at the State of the States conference sponsored by Federal Sources Inc.

Breathe easy — or not

Have you ever wondered how safe you are on the Metrorail in Washington, D.C.? Well, it depends on where you sit.

Homeland Security Department officials have been working to ensure that any biological or chemical attack in the subway is quickly detected and stopped, said Marc Hollander, deputy assistant secretary for plans, programs and budget, speaking at the recent Government Solutions Forum sponsored by FCW Media Group.

DHS officials have installed devices that detect chemical or biological attacks. If they detect a dangerous substance, officials can stop the trains and redirect fans inside the cavernous tunnels to contain the poisonous particles. That's good for people outside the subway system, but tough luck for those on the inside.

Disappearing act

If you had logged on to the Labor Department's Women's Bureau Web site in 1999, you would have found a list of more than 25 fact sheets and statistical reports on topics for women. That was then. This is now.

Those fact sheets no longer exist on the Women's Bureau Web site. The National Council for Research on Women said that is only one example of how the Bush administration is dismantling information on women's issues, including eliminating subjects such as information on pay disparities and reproductive health.

The council's report, called "Missing: Information about Women's Lives," chronicles what is no longer on the Web site.

"In my experience, I would say we are probably just seeing the tip of the iceberg with this report," said Martha Farnsworth Riche, a former demographer at the Census Bureau. "If we know about all these examples, that means there are many, many more."

The council is building a Misinformation Clearinghouse Web site on which people can find those examples and report information that is no longer available. Find a link to the site on the Download's Data Call at download.

The Duke rides again

Navy employees' eyes tend to glaze over when it comes to the intricacies of knowledge management, such as the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge. So Navy CIO Dave Wennergren has adopted what he calls the John Wayne School of Knowledge Management to better communicate the need to capture skills and expertise within the organization. Borrowing a line from the movie "Sands of Iwo Jima," Wennergren tells folks: "So life is tough. It's tougher when you're stupid."

"When you think about it, that's what knowledge management is all about," he said.

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