The Circuit

Heading for the Door

'Tis the season for political appointees to head toward new jobs, and one of them may be Sally Katzen, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. Our sources tell us that she may be taking off within the next month, even before the dust settles from the presidential election. She has already stated her intention to leave government with the change in administration, but some officials are surprised that it might happen sooner than that.

The Bin Isn't Secure

The Office of Personnel Management received no funding in its fiscal 2001 budget for its part in the administration's Federal Cyber Services program to bring information security professionals into government and to provide more training for the ones already there. Agency officials have said they will do what they can to help the Scholarship for Service initiative, but they will not take on other new initiatives without funding.

Officials connected to the program are doing what they can to convince OPM that the agency needs to move on those programs, with or without new money.

Looking for a Few Good Leaders

As the shortage of information technology workers worsens in both the government and private sector, Jim Flyzik, the Treasury Department's chief information officer, has decided to start his own recruitment program to identify and train the next generation of IT leaders for his department.

The informal program, which begins in January, will select a dozen people to train and mentor. Close to half the IT managers at Treasury will be eligible to retire in the next five years, a fact that sends tremors through the halls of the IT-dependent agency.

"We want to build a cadre of internal talent...individuals who have demonstrated leadership qualities," Flyzik said in an interview. Meanwhile, hoping to make Treasury even more customer-friendly, Flyzik has initiated several name changes in various departments. Among the changes, the communications, seat contract and in-house IT sections will be gathered under a single umbrella name — Customer Solutions.

This, Too, Shall Not Pass

It was a good idea, but President Clinton's plan to give taxpayers a $10 credit for filing their taxes electronically got no attention in this session of Congress, and like many other e-proposals, it died a quiet death. The Internal Revenue Service is still thinking of new ways to gin up participation, so stay tuned.

Food for Thought

Worried about what to feed regiments of relatives invading for the holidays? Ask Uncle Sam. The U.S. military is selling a CD-ROM containing 1,300 convenient "surefire recipes" for whipping up chow for 100 or more. The recipes cover items from appetizers to desserts and "are ideal for scouting organizations, prisons, schools" and other groups, the military assures. The CDs are being sold through the National Technical Information Service ( for $79, plus $5 for handling. Credit cards accepted.

NIH Net Gets a Lift

The National Institutes of Health's Web site is the latest to get a facelift to make it customer-driven and not a bureaucratic blueprint. "By refreshing the look, you're letting people know that your site is evolving and healthy.... You want to avoid the impression that the site is old and stale," said Dennis Rodrigues, NIH's Webmaster.

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