The circuit

PEBES Redux?

The Social Security Administration plans to take another crack at its Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement (PEBES), which allowed the public to view benefits information via the Internet. SSA pulled the plug on PEBES about four years ago amid concerns that the sensitive data was too easy for unauthorized users to access.

Within the next year, SSA hopes to have a PEBES pilot program up and running, said Tony Trenkle, deputy associate commissioner of SSA's Electronic Services. Properly authenticating and identifying people online is something the agency will tackle, Trenkle said. SSA is hoping for a better reception this time. Working in its favor is the growing acceptance of online business, he said.

Twice the Patriot

When Wyandotte NetTel signed a telecom and information technology contract worth up to $100 million earlier this month with the Interior Department — one of the largest ever to an American Indian-owned firm — Jim Madden, director of sales and marketing, said the pact should help the Wyandotte Nation-Oklahoma reach its ultimate goal: economic self-sufficiency. "We're trying to be off the dole" of the federal government, he said.

And now, the rest of the success story: Chief Leaford Bearskin, company president — and tribe leader since 1983 — also has a distinguished military record. He commanded 46 combat missions on a liberator bomber during World War II and was squadron commander for 29 missions during the Berlin Airlift in 1948. He retired from the Air Force in 1960, then served in other governmentpositions for 19 more years. It's not often you see someone serve one nation so well, much less two.

Dressed for Success

When retired Rear Adm. John Gauss, former commander of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, left the military, he didn't spend a lot of time thinking about his civilian wardrobe.

So as chief information officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Gauss found his closet was a bit too bare. Now the nattily clad Gauss — he prefers grays and blues, naturally — enjoys a prime piece of real estate at the VA, where his office has a fine view of the Washington Monument.

Floating Offshore

It turns out that the Internal Revenue Service awarded a $33.6 million contract to Accenture, whose parent company, Accenture Ltd., is incorporated in Bermuda. The Chicago Tribune reported that the company is the first major professional services firm to take up residence offshore. Tax experts say companies in Bermuda — a locale with no income tax and few business regulations — can legally defer U.S. taxation on foreign income. But Accenture spokeswoman Barbara Hohbach said the company is just one of many multinational corporations incorporated in Bermuda. "Accenture continues to be a U.S. taxpayer company," she said. The IRS had no comment.

Speaking of the IRS, it looks like the largest tax-rebate program in history is going off without a snag. The Treasury Department's mass mailing to 91 million households has experienced only a couple of minor glitches.

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