The circuit

Wanted: A Few Good CIOs

As the Clinton administration draws to a close, chief information officers are heading out the door. The latest is John Gilligan, CIO at the Energy Department. He's going back to the Air Force, where he came from, to become the first principal deputy assistant secretary for business and information management.

He definitely won't be the last CIO to leave government. But that hasn't stopped Transportation Department CIO George Molaski from trying to fill CIO slots in every Transportation agency responsible for IT policy. Within DOT, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard and the Federal Highway Administration are the only operating units that currently have CIOs.

"We've got a long way to go," Mola-ski said. To find people to fill those other key slots, DOT is making connections with the CIO programs at Carnegie-Mellon and George Mason universities. Good luck, George. We hear the job market is tight these days.

OSHA, Don't Hold Out on Us

In a barely noticed action, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has made it easier for big business to crawl out from under the burden of a federal regulation. In April, OSHA sent a letter to DaimlerChrysler that said it would be acceptable to use managers' electronic signatures on em-ployee training records required by the federal government. Those documents are kept on-site and must be produced in the event of an OSHA inspection.

The letter, ironically, was posted on the Web site of NetCompliance Inc. (www.netcompliance.com), which helps businesses comply with federal, state and local regulations via the Internet. This may not be a bad idea in the Paperless Age, but we can't help wondering why OSHA decided to maintain such a low profile.

Who's Minding the E-Store?

All of the big names involved with FirstGov, the governmentwide Web portal, were at the Interagency Resources Management Conference in Williamsburg, Va., last week, including Dave Barram, administrator of the General Services Administration. He's been supporting his FirstGov baby since it was called WebGov. The portal is scheduled to be launched by Sept. 22, only 90 days after President Clinton announced its creation.

But with all the federal CIOs, deputy associate administrators and secretaries, and other officials involved and with final testing of the portal going full steam ahead, one message became pretty clear even to Molaski, co-chairman of the CIO Council's E-Government Committee: They may be the ones with the titles, but they're not the ones doing the work.

Anyone Out There?

E.T. may want to phone home, but radio astronomers and the National Science Foundation don't want him using a cell phone. Even spark plugs in cars and trucks emit signals that can interfere with sensitive telescopes, according to Morris Aizenman, senior science associate with the NSF directorate for mathematical and physical sciences. That's why em-ployees at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's radio telescope site in Green Bank, W.Va., drive diesel cars.

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