Letters to the editor
Ethics Information Available on Web Site
I am concerned by a recent column written by Carl Peckinpaugh regarding the public availability of information from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (USOGE) ["FOIA on the block," FCW, Oct. 14].
Mr. Peckinpaugh writes that USOGE is egregiously reducing the availability of information to the general public. He states that the new USOGE Ethics News and Information E-Mail List Service limits access to general information by limiting subscriptions to government employees, and that this information was previously made available to the general public through the USOGE Government Ethics Newsgram, which was recently discontinued.
We have not reduced the amount of general information available to the public. The Ethics Newsgram was a hard copy publication of articles and items of general interest. Rather than continue this publication, which was made available three times a year, USOGE has chosen to make available all these materials, including timely and relevant articles, on our Web site (www.usoge.gov).
The e-mail list, however, has a different purpose. It was created as a communication tool to provide executive branch ethics officials with working information that will help them in their jobs. Much, though not all, of what is on the e-mail list goes on the Web site.
I hope that you will agree that this restructuring actually allows USOGE to provide more timely and relevant information to the public and ethics officials.
United States Office of Government Ethics
Dealing with Cybersecurity
I have several thoughts in response to your editorial titled "From the ground up" [FCW, Sept. 2].
First, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers is not composed of state security officers. In fact, most states do not have a designated security officer, but instead have designated security contactors who do that job in addition to everything else. NASCIO, to its credit, has been attempting to fill the gap, but security is an add-on, not a priority and rightly so given the organization's mission.
Second, the National Cybersecurity Strategy will likely not address state and local government issues. This has been one of the weakest links in the proposed strategy.
This past year, Colorado created an IT risk management division in its Office of Innovation and Technology (www.oit.state.co.us). This division houses the information security and privacy functions and is dedicated to managing and mitigating IT risk. This is a model that all levels of government should emulate, including the federal government.
In the meantime, the main issues holding up effective security/privacy initiatives in this country are leadership, governance and dedicated resources. To seriously address IT problems, security officers need enforcement and compliance authority and dedicated resources.
To date, I know of no state that has the proper tools to do the job. And quite frankly, we must think outside the box and be prepared to create innovative governance structures if we are going to deal effectively with cybersecurity and cyberwarfare.
No information security officer can successfully monitor his facilities, man the stations, investigate intrusions and try to figure out who's on first all at the same time.
Missing Out on Pay
We are sort of in the same boat as the Federal Aviation Administration workers in your article "FAA pay raise issue lingers" [FCW, Aug. 19].
I work for a nonappropriated fund organization that is part of the Army. I, along with my fellow programmers, did not benefit from the 7 percent to 12 percent pay raise that most of the government people in our field received.
Military officials decided that nonappropriated fund employees should be in so-called "bands." There is a minimum and maximum wage for a band, and theoretically, a worker can negotiate his wage anywhere within that band.
This was done sometime in the early 1980s, and since that time, our pay has fallen behind the scale that we were equivalent to, the GS pay scale.
Since this pay band schedule went into effect, I know of only two people who were able to negotiate for a higher wage.
If the FAA people feel like they are second-rate, this makes us third-rate.
Name withheld upon request