The Circuit

This week's Circuit looks at the 21st annual Federation of Government Information Processing Councils (FGIPC) Management of Change Conference, held in New Orleans last week. It was clear that folks attending the conference liked their host city. The riverboat festivities were full, and no one moaned that the conference ended each day at 5 p.m.

Suited for the Occasion

There were only a few signs that top government information technology executives were in New Orleans, and you had to look hard. Only one official wore a white suit at the conference. But the Army's chief information officer, Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, a luncheon speaker, looked dapper as he stood before 300 people and told them he had left his Army uniform in hot, sticky Washington, D.C. He told the audience that he's had 19 jobs in 32 years, and "I'm still with the same company." He also had a few words of advice for the brass back in the nation's capital, saying, "If you don't have a computer on your desk, you don't know what we're talking about."

Who's in the Bayou?

What would happen if you were the boss and had a choice between the FGIPC conference in New Orleans and a health care acquisition conference in Orlando, Fla.?

We asked Leamon Lee, associate director of the Office of Administration at the National Institutes of Health. Turns out Lee big-footed his second-in-command, Elmer Sembly, who is associate director for communications and outreach at the office. "Rank got pulled," Lee laughed. "Elmer is in Orlando. I'm senior, and I'm here."

Steve Perry, the newly confirmed administrator of the General Services Administration, made a brief, 12-hour appearance. Perry spent just enough time to catch a bit of shut-eye, unveil the latest expansion of FirstGov, talk to a few reporters and head back to the airport.

Winners' Circle

It's hard to imagine that loquacious Treasury Department CIO Jim Flyzik could be speechless, but he came close when he received an award honoring his distinguished career in information management.

"I get a lot of credit for a lot of things," Flyzik said. "I really do the vision stuff, and there are hundreds of people who do the real work, and they make Jim Flyzik look good. And they know who they are."

Finally, our hats are off to Alan Balutis, FGIPC's executive director, for running a smooth and informative conference—"Digital Government: Portal for Change"—and keeping his sense of humor while racing from one event to another with cell phone in pocket. As he noted, the job is ever-growing. There are 35 billion Web sites in the world, and 7 million new ones bloom daily.

Forman Steps Out

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the Office of Management and Budget gave Mark Forman an e-mail address June 25—his first day on the job. It's a key tool for the new head of federal information technology. But agency officials missed another key item: an assistant.

In spite of the OMB communications office's stated intent to keep Forman away from public appearances his first week, he popped up at an e-government summit June 27—minus an accompanying public-affairs officer. We suspect that may be the first and last time that happens in his tenure as associate director for IT and e-government at OMB.

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