- By Judi Hasson
- May 08, 2000
Who's That in My Parking Space?
The National Institutes of Health is taking e-government to heart. It
announced plans to establish a new system of recording information about
every person who works for NIH. The one-stop information shop is expected
to be operational beginning May 24. It will include data such as registered
users of NIH computers, home fax numbers and cell phone numbers. It will
also include individuals' parking space numbers. So beware if you slip your
silver Jaguar into a spot that isn't your own at the sprawling Bethesda,
CIOs on Stage
Never let it be said that chief information officers can't give a good
presentation. At last month's Information Processing Interagency Conference
in Orlando, Fla., Treasury Department CIO Jim Flyzik's presentation kept
audience members entertained with wry commentary, special effects and video.
Flyzik included a clip with Federal Public Key Infrastructure Steering Committee
chairman Rich Guida, who declared that there will be a paperless federal
government only when someone invents a paperless bathroom.
The biggest hit of Flyzik's presentation came thanks to his assistants.
They figured out how to morph headshots of council members onto pictures
of TV stars. Energy CIO John Gilligan became Jean-Luc Picard of "Star Trek:
The Next Generation," replacing Patrick Stewart as captain of the starship
USS Enterprise. Department of Housing and Urban Development CIO Gloria Parker
became Tess from "Touched By An Angel" (Della Reese).
This Ol' Census
Those of you who are tired of this year's census stories, be forewarned there's more coming in 2002. Statistical abstracts of census data become
available as soon as the numbers are crunched. But by law, there is a 72-year
embargo on the release of personal data captured by the federal census.
So, while you can find out the average number of TV sets in a given census
tract for the 1990 census right now, the names of the people living in U.S.
households in 1930 won't be available until 2002. And then, you'll find
a few questions that are no longer asked, including whether the household
has a "radio set" and whether a person being counted could read or write.
The data is in the hands of the National Archives, but it will be available
only on microfilm because it is too expensive to put it online. So much
for the Information Age.
It couldn't have been an encouraging sign for hundreds of business operators
invited to Washington, D.C., on April 27 to discuss how government might
become less burdensome. The group converged on the lobby of the new Executive
Office Building for sessions on "Collecting Information in the Information
Age." But a half-dozen security guards couldn't get their computer terminals
to cough up the names of those approved for admission to the building. After
several attempts and phone calls, the guards were handed a long, faintly
printed list of names, which they proceeded to search by hand. The snag
made most attendees at least 40 minutes late for their sessions.
As federal agencies try to transition to new telecommunication vendors
under the FTS 2001 and Metropolitan Area Acquisition contracts, they are
being caught in a tug of war over who owns what equipment. Former contract
holders claim that telephone lines and other equipment installed at area
agencies in the past 10 years belong to them, and no one else may use them
without paying a price. Agencies believe the equipment is theirs, and a
new vendor should have the right to use it.
The arguments, according to sources, have gotten petty, with both parties
arguing over who bought the wires. Because records have been kept on everything
from scrap paper to McDonald's wrappers, it's difficult to determine exactly
who owns the equipment. Until a decision is made, new vendors have the option
of installing new equipment or standing by as the government and former
contract holders decide who owns what.
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