The Circuit

Daily Grind

The new leadership at the Department of Housing and Urban Development isn't interested in giving managers a compressed work schedule. Beginning Sept. 9, all managers and supervisors at the GS-14 level or above will have to work five days a week, rather than working four 10-hour days with the fifth day off.

Deputy Secretary Alphonso Jackson, told managers to shape up. "The administration has made improving the management and restoring the focus of this department its No. 1 priority," he wrote in a July 19 memo. Although top managers may arrive from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., "supervisors must ensure supervisory presence during official business hours."

We hear that Jackson also wanted to eliminate "dress-down Fridays," but advisers talked him out of it. The Whole Truth

The FBI told only half the story, and that got the agency into hot water with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). During last week's confirmation hearing for FBI director nominee Robert Mueller, Leahy, the Judiciary Committee chairman, noted the slant in a recent FBI employee newsletter's coverage of the committee's July 18 hearing. "The newsletter reported only the testimony of the two senior FBI agents, who told us about what they were doing to fix the secu.rity and information technology problems at the FBI," Leahy told Mueller.

The FBI's newsletter — and the agency's Web site — ignored the testimony of four other FBI agents who highlighted a double standard in adjudicating discipline and retaliation when somebody comes forward with information. "Ignoring the testimony will not make it disappear," Leahy said. "This kind of attitude makes it much harder to make the changes that need to be made. If the FBI tries to suppress information that things have gone wrong, it will never get them fixed."

Too often, Leahy told Mueller, the FBI's culture of independence has "crossed the line into arrogance."

IT Toolkit

Within the next month, the CIO Council's IT Workforce Committee hopes to pick a tool that all agencies can use to create an "IT skills road map" — an assessment of the current and future skills for information technology staff. The committee then plans to work with the Office of Personnel Management to determine the appropriate job, family and competency data, and with the General Services Administration to solve the Web site and infrastructure issues, according to a committee report. A contractor likely will modify and test the tool, which should be available by year's end. Can You Haiku?

When Treasury Chief Information Officer Jim Flyzik waxes poetic, everyone listens. Or so it seemed at the July 31 Federal Sources Inc. breakfast. With Japanese- flavored music playing in the background, Flyzik showed off his staff's skill at communicating computer errors via haiku and similar poetry. Some examples: "You step in the stream, but the water has moved on. This page is not here." Or how about, "Yesterday, it worked. Today, it does not work. Windows is like that." And our favorite — "The file "My Novel' not found."

Got a tip? Send it to [email protected].


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