Federal Bytes

GORE'S 'POTATOE.' It's quickly becoming the comment that won't die.

Vice President Al Gore's unfortunate remarks concerning his involvement in the origin of the Internet have truly taken on a life of their own. Responding to comments made by President Clinton last week on the status of Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) as the only "bona fide scientist" in Congress, Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Science Committee, pointed out that there are at least two others: Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.).

"These two fine leaders might not have created the Internet, but in my book they are bona fide scientists," Sensenbrenner said in a statement last week. The joke might be wearing thin now, but just think how you'll feel by election time next year.

***

CROSSING OVER. Leaving government service has its ups and downs, as Ed DeSeve discovered after leaving his post as deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget in March to join KPMG LLP.

Speaking at the General Services Administration's Roundup '99 conference last week, DeSeve said he's had to come up with a whole new set of jokes. He used to be able to guarantee laughter at any speaking engagement by starting with the line, "I'm from OMB, and I'm here to help you."

Now when he says, "I'm from KPMG, and I'm here to help," audiences want to know how much—and they're talking money, not help, he said.

***HIRING FREEZE. It used to be that the federal hiring process moved slightly faster than the acquisition process, but maybe no longer. Gloria Parker, chief information officer at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, almost didn't end up as a federal employee, she disclosed last week at GSA's Roundup '99.

It took six months from the time she applied for the deputy CIO position at the Education Department to the day the agency notified her she had the job. "By that time, I had completely forgotten that I had filled out any paperwork for the federal government," she said.

So maybe it's more than a coincidence that Parker is now co-chairwoman of the CIO Council's Education and Training Committee, which helps find ways to recruit and retain federal IT professionals.

***

DOODAD ENVY. The prizes and doodads that get handed out at conferences can make fun additions to long talks and meetings. And Deidre Lee, administrator and acting deputy director for management at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget, said it was not easy to follow a presentation by the president of Funsulting, Etc., who tossed out smiley-face stress balls and other toys at the Roundup '99 conference last week.

Lee said that if she had known about the prizes, she would have brought with her condensed versions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. Just what the attendees always wanted, she said, "your own pocket-size copy."

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