The Circuit

Down and Dirty

In an effort to keep it clean, the General Services Administration is on a mission to ferret out dirty words on federal Web sites. It has been using the portal FirstGov to find the infamous seven words that comic George Carlin identified in 1973 as "the words you couldn't say on the public airwaves...ever." Marty Wagner, GSA's associate administrator for government-wide policy, discussed the topic in a Nov. 20 speech to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association.

GSA searched for the seven words and then alerted agencies if any showed up on their Web pages. The agencies then were expected to remove the offending pages, Wagner said. FCW conducted its own spot check and discovered that in almost all instances, the nasty words were not used by government workers. Rather, they came from citizens who used the Internet to vent anger about the strong arm of government.

High Court, Semi-Low Tech

The Supreme Court's resistance to new technology was underscored last week when the justices refused a request by CNN and C-SPAN to televise the most important oral arguments since Watergate in 1974 — the review of the Bush-Gore Florida Supreme Court ruling. But Chief Justice William Rehnquist caved — sort of — when he decided that the court's new Web site (www.supremecourtus.gov) would post a transcript within hours of the Dec. 1 hearing.

Even in this Digital Age, it takes the court 10 to 15 days to get a transcript online, but the importance of the hearing prompted an exception.

In another bow to the Digital Age, Rehnquist ordered an audio version of the arguments to be released the same day, but did not go so far as to put it on the court's Web site. It will only be available through network news outlets.

A Big Blue CIO

The call for a federal chief information officer rises in pitch, but who should serve is unclear. Even top government information technology managers have a hard time giving anyone a mandate. That's the message from more than 100 local, state and federal CIOs who attended the Government CIO Summit, a conference held in Florida last month by FCW Government Technology Group. IT managers nominated and then voted for six candidates for IT czar. The winner? A tie between Jim Flyzik, Treasury Department CIO and co-chair of the federal CIO Council, and Charles Rossotti, Internal Revenue Service commissioner (each got 24 percent of the vote). In a runoff of the top three vote-getters, IBM boss Lou Gerstner won with 47 percent of the vote, followed by Flyzik with 27 percent and Rossotti with 25 percent. Naturally, there were calls for a recount.

The Revolving Door

David Goldberg, an ex-deputy CIO who helped lead the modernization effort at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, is the latest official to hang up his federal hat and join the private sector. Goldberg, most recently the deputy associate commissioner for Information Resources Management at INS, has joined Electronic Data Systems Corp. as vice president and director of knowledge services business portfolio. He'll be responsible for all service deliveries across the federal government, both civilian and military.

Have a tip? Send it to circuit@fcw.com.

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