With the Bush administration's emphasis on performance management and
accountability, the stick, rather than the carrot, certainly seems in vogue
this year. But e-government appears to be fertile ground for new ideas.
Earlier this month, both Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and e-government maestro
Mark Forman suggested that good work on e-government projects might be fostered
The notion of rewarding "the federal managers of the two most successful
e-government projects with a substantial bonus pool if the projects succeed...may
be an effort that is worthy of some form of emulation in all government
agencies," Davis wrote in a letter Feb. 8 to Office of Personnel Management
Director Kay Coles James.
"Rep. Davis believes that, like the private sector, government should
reward those employers who bring greater value to their organization," said
David Marin, Davis' press secretary.
The Office of Management and Budget is developing incentives for the
interagency teams that lead the 24 e-government initiatives, with bonuses
coming from the $45 million requested for the fiscal 2003 e-government fund,
Forman noted at a press briefing Feb. 5.
DOD's generous spirit
The Defense Department, which is engaged in an ongoing battle to protect
its share of radio airwaves from encroachment by commercial interests, sees
things in a different light when it comes to firefighters, law enforcement
personnel and other public servants.
DOD maintains that freeing its reserved portion of the radio spectrum
to wireless phone traffic and other industry applications could interfere
with its own satellite-based systems.
But the department is willing to share portions of the 138 MHz to 144
MHz band on a case-by-case basis with the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA), state and local governments, and public
safety agencies "for the common good," said Steven Price, deputy assistant
secretary of Defense for spectrum and command, control and communications
DOD made the offer after a DOD Joint Spectrum Center engineering study
identified ways of sharing the band without interfering with DOD operations.
Going, Going, Gone
A high-profile federal grants program that aimed to bring technology
to the nation's have-nots is a have-not itself in President Bush's fiscal
2003 budget proposal.
The budget for the NTIA practically zeroes out the Technology Opportunities
Program (TOP), which aims to close the digital divide by helping state and
local governments, schools, libraries and other organizations build networks
and buy technology.
NTIA received $42.5 million in funding in fiscal 2001 for TOP, which
NTIA administers for the Commerce Department, and in fiscal 2002, the program
received $12.4 million for matching grants. For fiscal 2003, however, the
administration is requesting only $224,000 for TOP to help close out those
TOP "was meant to be a laboratory of sorts, to show individuals how
to better use technology," NTIA administrator Nancy Victory said at a press
briefing Feb. 4. "Clearly that awareness campaign was successful, but awareness
is not the issue any more."
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