- By Judi Hasson
- May 14, 2001
Out of Sight and Sound
Turn 'em off. If you're testifying before the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee and you have a wireless phone, make sure you leave
home without it because Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has banned them from his
Young is chairman of that panel, so you can be assured that when the
Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association and other communications
industry representatives testified May 9 before Young's Highways and Transit
Subcommittee, their cell phones were out of sight and on vibrate.
He's Only a Temp
The Office of Management and Budget wasted no time getting temporary
management chief Robert O'Neill into his new position as counselor to the
director. OMB moved the still-president of the National Academy of Public
Administration into his new office at 17th and Pennsylvania three days after
announcing his appointment May 4. But they're not letting him out in public
until he's had a chance to fully absorb the administration's position on
the issues he will be handling.
For at least the next four months, O'Neill will be filling in for the
missing deputy director for management at OMB. This means, according to
the agency, that he has oversight of the CIO, CFO and Procurement Executives
councils and will "perform critical and sensitive reviews and evaluations
of OMB initiatives." Despite this high-sounding charge, the silence could
be because he won't be staying long. As one OMB official said with conviction,
the chances that O'Neill will permanently fill the vacant slot are "less
Shocking, Just Shocking
Internal Revenue Service employees are spending far too much time surfing
the Web for personal entertainment, including sports, gambling and checking
out pornography sites, according to a report spotlighted May 8 by the Senate
Finance Committee. The panel's chairman, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa),
said many IRS employees are "clearly goofing off." He cited a report that
said slightly more than half of IRS time spent on the Internet was for personal
use. Almost half of 82,000 incoming e-mails reviewed were personal, including
an online travel magazine and daily jokes. "Are taxpayers sitting on hold
while IRS employees are surfing the Internet instead of answering the phone?"
Meanwhile, a General Accounting Office study released last week said
taxpayers often were unable to even reach an IRS toll-free help line, and
when they did, they may have received inaccurate information about filing
taxes. Perhaps IRS workers were distracted.
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