Leave them at home

The Department of Veterans Affairs hosted a leadership conference last week for 72 VA officials. The group, Leadership VA, gathers regularly to learn how to succeed.

The group spent the week in Washington, D.C., visiting Capitol Hill and learning about government. And to get their undivided attention, they were advised to leave their handheld computers at home to avoid distractions.

Send in the whales

If Capt. Kirk wants to make a pitch to find more whales, he'll have to make it to the Interior Department.

The department's Minerals Management Service intends to award a sole-source, four-year contract to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Regulations to obtain research permits, tag bowhead whales with satellite transmitters and monitor the whales' movements.

Principal investigators Lori Quakenbush and Robert Small will collaborate with the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, Alaska native subsistence whalers and the North Slope Borough's Department of Wildlife Management to keep an eye on the endangered mammals.

Cohen-Clinger Act?

If you've ever wondered how the Clinger-Cohen Act got its name, insiders at last week's event sponsored by market research firm Input gave us the scoop. Former Rep. William Clinger (R-Pa.), now teaching at Johns Hopkins University, credited Ellen Brown, who was one of Clinger's key staff members and who now works for Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) as the House Government Reform Committee's legislative director and senior policy counsel.

Paul Brubaker, who worked for former Sen. William Cohen (R-Maine) at the time, said he got a call from Brown saying that she had submitted "Clinger-Cohen" as an attachment to a Defense bill and adding that the House had already approved that bill.

Let them see light

When David Safavian, head of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, first entered his digs in the Old Executive Office Building, he learned almost immediately the powers attached to his office — specifically, to his light switch.

He soon realized that he could control the overhead lights for himself and neighbor Karen Evans, OMB administrator of e-government and information technology. Electricians had neglected to split the circuit when partitions were built to add more office space to the venerable building next to the White House.

"I think that's a great example…of the critical role acquisition plays," Safavian said. "If the acquisition system breaks down, everything else goes awry."

A new slate

The Industry Advisory Council announced the results of its 2005 Executive Committee election for six positions with terms starting July 1. Bill Piatt, IAC's vice chairman who oversees the shared interest groups, has been elected to fill the executive vice chairman position that Ellen Glover will vacate when she becomes chairwoman of the board. Other newly elected committee members who will serve until June 30, 2007:

  • Vice chairwoman for communications: Karen Smith, Smith Associates.
  • Vice chairwoman for professional development: Leslie Barry, Computer Associates.
  • Vice chairwoman at large: Deirdre Murray, Sprint.
  • Vice chairwoman at large: Sally Turner, CGI-AMS.
  • They will join the current Executive Committee members, who are in the middle of two-year terms that end June 30, 2006:

  • Chairwoman: Glover, Dynamics Research Corp.
  • Vice chairman for management and finance: Paul Cohen, Pragmatics.
  • Vice chairman for programs: Joe Draham, GTSI.
  • Vice chairman for outreach: Bruce McConnell, McConnell International.
  • Vice chairman at large: Daniel Chenok, SRA International.
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