Out in the commercial world, the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement has gained some traction: The terms "the 99 percent" and "the 1 percent" are understood by nearly everyone.
So who are the 1 percent in government? An Internet start-up called WikiOrgCharts has just released a list of the 1,000 highest-paid federal employees. No doubt, the list will add fuel to the fire in the argument over whether feds are overpaid. Those who say they are can truthfully point to a few federal employees who earn upward of $300,000 per year, while defenders of federal employees can point out that the highly paid feds are doctors, executives and other professionals who are highly paid in the private sector as well.
In fact, the first 30 names on the list -- the highest paid of the top 1,000 -- are mostly medical officers working for the National Institutes of Health or the Indian Health Service, as are many of the lower ranked people. The first position not tied to health care in some way is Robert Fenner, a general attorney with the National Credit Union Administration, who ranks 60th with an annual salary of $265,559.
Posted by Michael Hardy on Dec 16, 2011 at 12:18 PM29 comments
Will the release of Amazon's Kindle Fire start a new round of feds bringing personal devices to work?
The Fire is a pretty nifty gadget. The Insider is not always an early adopter, but he bought one of these the first day it was available. At $199, it serves as an Amazon content delivery tool and an Android apps-running tablet PC. It's not as fully featured as the iPad, but it's affordable to a wider range of customers, and therefore likely to become more plentiful over the next few months.
The Fire connects to WiFi, which means it's probable that at least some feds are going to ask to connect to an agency network. That, and the upcoming gift-giving season, make this a good time to revisit the issue of hooking personal devices into agency networks, a security challenge counterbalanced by demand. Is your agency reconsidering its approach to the question?
Posted by Michael Hardy on Nov 29, 2011 at 12:18 PM3 comments
A guest post from John Monroe, editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week.
It’s only human nature: An old clunker of a laptop computer doesn’t seem so bad when money is tight. Especially to the manager who has to watch the bottom line and who doesn’t mind waiting two minutes for a PDF document to load.
It might not be ideal, but it’s good enough.
Many of us use the same rationale when it comes to buying a car. Faced with our own tight budget, we are willing to put up with a growing number of glitches until the cash outflow becomes intolerable – or the junker simply breaks down.
The problem is that in the workplace, such decisions might have unintended consequences. At what point does old technology go from being an inconvenience to being a productivity problem?
Unfortunately, it’s tough to put a price on productivity, while the price tag on a new laptop is visible for all to see. Putting off the inevitable purchase might only save a nickel here and a dime there, but do that long enough and it all adds up.
Worse yet, in the current budget environment – which might be getting much worse in the months and years ahead – “good enough” is likely to be an evolving standard, and not for the better.
Is your agency cutting corners on IT operations? And what are the unintended consequences?
Posted by John Stein Monroe on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:18 PM2 comments