Federal Bytes

ALL TALK, NO ACTION. Talk about a day late and a dollar short. More than one month after President Clinton gave his first public speech on the Year 2000, the Executive Office of the President (EOP) finally announced last week that it will get its own house in order, Y2K-wise. The White House said it plans to award up to six contracts to women- and minority-owned firms to ensure that all EOP systems are Year 2000-compliant. A solicitation should be available by the end of the month.

It was nearly six weeks ago that Clinton declared that he had "made it clear to every member of my Cabinet that the American people have a right to expect uninterrupted service from government, and I expect them to deliver." With only 16 months to go before 2000, Clinton may not have been so clear in making the ultimatum to his own IT staff.

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GET THE SITE RIGHT. In a speech in Seattle in which he announced a new Commerce Department Web site last week, Commerce Secretary William Daly declined an opportunity to give his audience a demonstration of the site.

"If I were Vice President Gore, I would offer a demonstration," Daly said. "But I am a technically challenged Commerce secretary. So for those listening to us on the Internet, visit us at ta.doc.gov/go4it."

Well, he was right about being technically challenged. Not only was he unable to run through a demo, he couldn't even provide the proper URL. The real Web site is at www.ta.doc.gov.

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CONSPIRACY THEORISTS, TAKE NOTE. As a press organization covering the federal government— including super-secret agencies, such as the National Security Agency and the CIA— we thought we'd seen it all as far as paranoia was concerned.

But a policy relayed to us by the public affairs office of the Office of Personnel Management is much more restrictive than that at any other government agency we've come across so far. When our reporter called for details on an OPM program recently announced by agency officials— not controversial by any stretch of the imagination— we were told that all OPM officials speak only on background and cannot be directly quoted. An OPM official suggested we refer to the official as a "knowledgeable source," without saying the source worked for the agency.

We can only speculate that OPM's stated mission of handling human resource work is nothing but a front. Maybe the agency really has some other secret mission. You heard it here first.

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F2K NOT OK. Last week, when members of an RTCA Aviation Industry Committee met to discuss the Federal Aviation Administration's Flight 2000 program, they used F2K as an abbreviation.

However, concern over the possibility that people would associate F2K with the Year 2000 problem— abbreviated Y2K— was enough to convince the attendees that the program should be renamed. They decided that for now the not-too-catchy but safe "Free Flight Ops Enhancement Program" will have to do.

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