Letters to the editor

I thought that the DMS article in your March 5 issue was not very supportive of those of us at the grunt level.

DMS Success Stories?

I'm writing regarding your article by Bill Murray about the Defense Message System ["12 years, $1.6 billion and counting," FCW, March 5].

I have worked for the government for 35 years at the Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., and I have always seemed to get stuck with the systems no one wants. You can't imagine how many brick walls we run into from people who are not willing to help, assist and support a new system.

I thought the article was not very supportive of us at the grunt level. People normally dislike change. My team and I feel that change is a challenge. At my age and with the time I have left in government service, I will give 100 percent to supporting DMS!

So here at Rock Island, we will strive to make DMS a success story. It might be a good idea if you print some DMS success stories, or can't you accept change?

Name withheld upon request

Bad Press for NMCI

I just read the "Intercepts" column about the Navy Marines Corps Intranet in the March 5 Federal Computer Week.

It isn't really any wonder that NMCI is getting bad press. It's because NMCI is bad and very expensive. For instance, the cheapest seat available, the "thin client," leases for $194 per month. The thin client is an obsolete Dell Computer Corp. OptiPlex GX110. At the Dell Web site, an OptiPlex GX110 configured similarly to the NMCI thin client costs $1,434.

Therefore, the computer leases for 13 percent of the procurement cost every month — which means that every seven and a half months, the same computer is bought again.

A review of other vendors who lease computers shows that their monthly charge is only 3 percent of the procurement cost.

James Koss System engineer
Naval In-Service Engineering Activity for Radar Set AN/SPQ-9B

Falling Through FAA Cracks

I am FG-334 in the Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Standards District Office. Because the FAA is now considered excepted service, we are told that we do not qualify for the IT raise. We are not covered under the new core compensation pay system, and because of this, it appears that a small number of us will fall through the cracks for the pay raise.

The raise would have helped me for retirement purposes, but since it appears I will not be getting it, I plan to retire in the next few months. Not giving this raise will have an impact on retaining qualified IT people.

Name withheld upon request

Access to Information

I don't understand Carl Peckinpaugh's point in his column in the Feb. 19 issue of Federal Computer Week, "The Section 508 disconnect."

Section 508 requirements apply only to the accessibility of federal government information, not to that of private firms. And it's about providing access to information, not access to information technology.

The second sentence in Peckinpaugh's column should have stated that the Section 508 rules are "...intended to improve the accessibility of federal government information (delete "technology') to government employees and members of the public with disabilities."

Name withheld upon request

Comp System Broken

Thanks for Milt Zall's informative Bureaucratus column Feb. 5 on the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs. Based on a sample size of one, the system is absolutely broken.

I sprained my foot in August/September 1999 while on temporary duty. I hobbled back and talked to some others who had been handled by the workers' compensation process.

My choice was to either go on workers' comp or pretend it didn't happen on duty and go to my own physician and health insurance. I opted for workers' comp. Because the initial two weeks are apparently covered automatically, I got the X-rays and two weeks of therapy. When the foot didn't seem to be responding to therapy, two examining clinic physicians attempted to refer me to specialists for additional evaluation. Those referrals were sent to the Cleveland workers' comp office. The clinic, my agency and I attempted to follow up and were never able to contact anyone. After three to four months, everybody gave up.

Fortunately, the foot got better. But the lesson learned for the future was to either avoid the system or appeal immediately to my congressman or senators.

Name withheld upon request

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