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On the holiday party circuit... the Input bash

Last night was something of the government IT unofficial kick-off to the holiday season – the holiday party put on by market research firm Input. It is always a great event – a good opportunity to touch base with folks and it is usually a who's who of the government IT community.

Among the buzz from the annual gathering:

* GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy… There was much discussion about the seemingly sudden move to make OGP a part of GSA's Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. Under a draft memo put out by GSA Administrator Lurita Doan, the office would be renamed the Office of Congressional and Governmental Affairs. Apparently the reason is that Doan wants a political to head OGP. I have to say that I don't really get it. And, in fact, there was some discussion that OMB didn't even know that this was coming. If true, that would be interesting. One person suggested that Doan seems to be spending a lot of her time reorganizing. I guess I don't get why the organization's policy branch needs a political head. Apparently Kevin Messner, who has been heading GSA's congressional affairs office, is a FOD (friend of Doan). It seems to me that the policy shop was one of the few places at GSA where there were not problems, so I just don't understand the shift.

* GSA CFO Kathleen M. Turco was at the Input party, so we got to meet face-to-face for the first time and I got to apologize – again – in person this time… But I also got to again stress the importance of transparency. Broken record time – I just don't understand how a public entity can not provide the public with a look at its operations, particularly an organization where there are real concerns. And, of course, one person said that Turco doesn't ususally attend these kinds of events and speculated that she is looking for a private sector job. I just assume that most feds are looking for private sector jobs.

* 'Tis the season… for passbacks… I spoke to one senior government official who was saying that agencies are in the midst of budget passback season. The passbacks are very important but are very secretive. The term refers to OMB's literally passing an agency's budget back to them. So it gives the agency it's first peek at what the administration will propose for the coming fiscal year. But you will find hardly anything about it in the pages of FCW or anywhere else. (You'll find only one reference on FCW.com, for example.) That is usually because we would be interested in what agencies are getting, and nobody wants to scoop the President, who releases the budget in February. That generally isn't a great career move. Who says there are no secrets in Washington?

* The Army's draft RFP for its program management support services contract created quite a buzz for Input folks. The story originally incorrectly left out "draft," which resulted in many calls to Input, apparently, from vendors asking for details on the RFP. The FCW.com story was corrected fairly quickly, but...

* Despite leaving Input earlier this year, Alan Balutis was in attendance at the holiday bash. Balutis left Input to join Cisco Systems as a distinguished fellow and director of North American Public Sector Consulting for Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group. So there were no hard feelings.

* Something refreshing to see: a government IT power couple going on a date night. Paul Brubaker, who is now CEO of his own company, Procentrix, and his wife, Carolyn Brubaker, Microsoft director of business development for civilian government, were at the Input festivities for awhile before going out to spend time with each other – a night out. Very nice.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Dec 01, 2006 at 12:16 PM


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