Net Log - John Makulowich
Fed Discussion Group a Gem Amid the JunkWhile many of us bemoan the torrent of electronic trash that inundates our e-mail in-boxes, the truth is there are valuable resources on the Internet, especially in discussion groups. One of the better ones I came across recently is named FEDWEB-ANNOUNCE.
To subscribe, send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the body of your message, type SUBSCRIBE FEDWEB-ANNOUNCE and your first and last name. (You also can go to www.itpolicy.gsa.gov/mke/fedwebm/mailist.htm and follow the directions.)
The discussion group, which began in November 1997, has about 500 subscribers. Targeted to those interested in the federal community, the group is hosted by Richard Kellett, a division director and an attorney in the Office of Governmentwide Policy in the General Services Administration.
That unit, set up July 1, 1949, is one of three central management agencies in the federal government. (The others are the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget.) Its mission is to provide "expertly managed space, supplies, services and solutions at the best value to enable federal employees to accomplish their missions."
GSA negotiated contracts for $40 billion of goods and services from the private sector last year. It employs about 14,500 people. Its annual budget is nearly $13 billion.
ÊÊThe discussion group reflects its ownership. For example, a recent message from Kellett was a 56-page document listing conference rooms in the Washington area located in different agencies. Given the number of meetings systems integrators and solution providers are required to have with government customers, I found the information valuable. The document included items such as room number, location, contact, phone number, capacity, arrangement, available equipment and often pros and cons about a room's setup.
ÊÊAt the other end of the spectrum was a post carrying a request from staff at the Transportation Department asking for volunteers to assist in developing a creative logo or graphic for its home pages.
ÊÊIn between, the subscriber to FEDWEB-ANNOUNCE is likely to find job announcements for federal positions, the status of selected legislation, requests from colleagues for examples of executive information systems, announcements of important meetings and more.
ÊÊAmong those that especially impressed me was a reference to a new report (policyworks.gov/intergov/; click on the document name in the "Reports and Presentations" section), published by the GSA Office of Governmentwide Policy, Office of Intergovernmental Solutions.
ÊÊTitled "The Challenging Road to the Government of the Future: Intergovernmental Management Issues and Directions," the report highlighted the emergence of intergovernmental management as the new form of management for the future.
ÊÊSeveral reasons were cited, including citizen demand for seamless, integrated services; government recognition of efficiencies from adopting IT; introduction of new legislation, such as welfare reform, which mandates responsibilities requiring intergovernmental cooperation and collaboration; and downsizing by governments at all levels.
ÊÊAs Kellett notes, the report provides an overview of intergovernmental management, highlights the issues, identifies potential challenges and barriers and offers guidelines for achieving success.
You can send John e-mail at email@example.com; his Web address is www.cais.com/makulow