FEDERAL BYTES

The new IRS? As if the Internal Revenue Service were not having enough trouble explaining to the politicos just what it wants to do with Tax Systems Modernization Bob Dole's vision of a more user-friendly tax agency might change the plan some more.

Ending filing for millions of taxpayers as the Republican presidential challenger proposed surely would reduce the need for some of the systems designed to process tax forms.

One TSM insider surmised that the idea would be technically feasible as long as the IRS (or its contractors) was given the time and money to reprogram all the data in the computers.

The question is Do folks really want to get a bill from their least favorite government agen-cy? Could be fodder for yet another TSM study.

Dole for Year 2000 czar

Federal Computer Week has received its first nomination for Year 2000 czar. A reader who responded to our invitation to anoint a federal Year 2000 honcho recommended the same Bob Dole.

"He's unemployed now and this [czar-dom] would give him some measure of job security for at least three years while ensuring the highest level of government bureaucracy " the reader wrote. "We would experience typical political delays due to the need to conduct every type of study known to man thereby ensuring the availability of three-year contract work for some five to 20 small businesses."

Guide to open government

Federal statistical policy is apparently so sensitive these days that a "senior administration official" won't talk about it on the record.

OMB Watch's quarterly magazine Government Information Insider contains the transcript of an interview on the subject with a source identified only as "X."

In response to a question about the "health" of the federal statistical system X noted "I try to be careful when I talk about this partly because I mean what I say and partly because it is so easy to have people misperceive what you are saying about this."

We'd like to get that clarified but we don't know who to ask.

Ideas for holiday presents

Looking for ways to improve relations with vendors without changing the Federal Acquisition Regulation?

Federal Aviation Administration acquisition director Gib Devey had a suggestion at a recent contracting "best practices" forum: Don't set proposal due dates for the day after New Year's.

Devey related to a room full of government and industry contracting officers that his agency had a habit of issuing RFPs on the day before Thanksgiving and demanding bids on Jan. 2 - forcing vendors to give up their holidays to their jobs while government workers enjoyed a lighter workload.

"Does that make sense?" Devey asked. "Why not give them a few more weeks?"

Now there's commonsense government.

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