The Circuit

Managing Chaos at OMB

Clay Johnson III, nominated as deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, would not have it easy as the person in charge of the President's Management Agenda.

But he told lawmakers at a Senate hearing on his nomination last week that he likes "to bring method to madness, order to chaos, structure where there may not be any. I like getting people around a table and clarifying what it is we are going to do and who is responsible."

As deputy director for management, Johnson would be responsible for overseeing and bringing better management practices to agencies and programs. He would replace Mark Everson, nominated to be the Internal Revenue Service's commissioner.

"We're here to provide leadership in the management arena," Johnson said of the OMB position. "It's a facilitator to provide them with the direction and hold them accountable to sound management practices."

Johnson said he would work to meet the goals of the expanded e-government initiatives and told lawmakers he supported the $500 million Human Capital Performance Fund to reward employees based on performance. He said such a move would attract and retain good government workers.

"I believe it is very important to reward good performance," he said. "Right now, our pay systems don't do that. They reward longevity."

E-Gov Enhanced

Get ready for the latest version of the president's E-Government Strategy.

OMB plans to release the final plans for implementing the E-Government Act of 2002 on April 17, said Mark Forman, the agency's associate director of information technology and e-government.

The strategy will move beyond the 24 initiatives to examine how e-government plans in the fiscal 2004 budget request will align with the act, signed in December 2002.

The new strategy will include plans for better use of enterprise licensing for buying software governmentwide and also for use of the extended authority for share-in-savings contracts, Forman said last week at the Secure E-Business Summit in Crystal City, Va. Under those contracts, government and industry share the cost of a service or system, and the contractor is reimbursed through the savings.

Retirement Protection

Wartime has many agencies thinking about protecting their systems and the data on them. A case in point is the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which manages the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees.

At a board meeting last week, James Petrick, acting executive director of the board, assured other board members that TSP data is protected. The National Finance Center, which runs the TSP system, has backup and recovery procedures in place in case of an emergency, he said. The TSP system is based in New Orleans, but there is a backup system in Philadelphia.

The way the stock market is these days, this may be a mixed blessing.

Comings and Goings

Edward "Pete" Aldridge Jr., undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics announced March 31 that he will retire from government, effective May 23. Michael Wynne, principal deputy undersecretary, will become acting undersecretary when Aldridge leaves.

"Now it is time, for personal reasons, to move on to a more relaxed period of my career," Aldridge said in a statement.

We hear that Rose Parkes, the acting chief information officer at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which now is part of the Homeland Security Department (DHS), may be heading to the Small Business Administration as the CIO. Sources tell us that a number of career CIOs, including Parkes, have been interviewed for the job Lawrence Barrett is retiring from. She would join Ron Miller, former CIO at FEMA, who is moving on to become the senior adviser to the SBA administrator for e-government.

Under Construction

The design process for creating the personnel system for DHS began last week.

Janet Hale, undersecretary for management at the new department, said in a memo to employees that a team of representatives from DHS, the Office of Personnel Management and the major unions will help create the new human resources management system. Also, a Web site will be set up so that all employees can send e-mail messages to the team with their suggestions for the system.

"We want this process to be very inclusive, and we will seek out and listen to DHS employees and managers, and experts both inside and outside of government," Hale said. The new personnel system must be able to attract, motivate, reward and train the best and the brightest, she said.

The team will present its options to DHS Secretary Tom Ridge and OPM's director in the fall, and implement any changes beginning in 2004.

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