- By Judi Hasson
- Mar 04, 2001
O'Neill Goes to Work
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill wants to make sure that the 150,000
department employees are not hurt at work. The number of on-the-job injuries
has been far too high, he told Congress recently. As a result, he ordered
a system set up similar to the one installed when he was the chief executive
officer at Alcoa Inc. All employees will be able to tap into a computer
database and find accident reports posted within 24 hours, along with recommended
changes to keep similar accidents from recurring. "We need to get closer
to zero [accidents] than Alcoa, and it should not take years to do it,"
Meanwhile, O'Neill is on the warpath over other problems in his domain.
He told members of the National Treasury Employees Union it's unacceptable
that the Internal Revenue Service is able to answer only 65 percent of its
phone calls. "If you called the airlines, and they only answered two out
of three times, you would stop calling," he said. O'Neill said he will address
the problem and wants recommendations on his desk by November. Welcome to
Washington, Mr. O'Neill.
How better to tout the benefits of high technology than to have a prominent
pollster use an online discussion to announce his latest findings that 73
percent of U.S. adults favor making electronic government a top federal
priority. Or so thought the Council for Excellence in Government, which
is promoting e-government as "the next American revolution."
But when pollster Peter Hart tried to speak from Los Angeles to a roomful
of reporters and technology advocates in Washington, D.C., his head jumped
around the screen and his words were choppy and scrambled. The demonstration
perhaps better illustrated another of Hart's findings"the majority of
people said "go slow.' " The poll results were disclosed Feb. 21 by Guy
Moilyneux, a Hart employee who took over the briefing when the electronics
The vocabulary gaffes President Bush became known for on the campaign
trail have, of course, followed him into the White House. Now they are entering
into official administration policy, as shown by a recent memo from the
Office of Management and Budget. OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr. issued
a memo on the plans to improve the federal government's record on performance
and management. In listing major reforms that Bush outlines in his 2002
blueprint budget, the memo leads off with "delayering management levels."
OK. We were unable to track that new synonym for "removing layers" in any
dictionary we found, but maybe the White House has a different edition.
What About Budget Stuff?
Speaking of OMB, President Bush's nominee for the position of deputy
director, Sean O'Keefe, spent nearly all of his confirmation hearing in
front of the Senate Governmental Affairs committee last week fielding questions
about the management side of the agency. But he's supposed to direct the
Several senators noticed the trend in questioning, and committee chairman
Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) even took time out to apologize for asking
questions that would normally be aimed at the deputy director for managementa position, as Thompson pointed out, that the White House has yet to fill.
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