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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Support the Katrina Relief Effort

This post is intended to provide links to information regarding the Huricane Katrina Relief effort and associated organizations.

Internet Information Resources:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
National Weather Service: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/graphicsversion/bigmain.html
Hydrologic Information Center (river flooding): http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/hic/index.html
Federal Emergency Management Agency: 1-800-621-FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/
Louisiana Homeland Security: http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/
City of New Orleans: http://www.cityofno.com/portal.aspx
Louisiana Governor's Office: http://www.gov.state.la.us/
Mississippi Emergency Management: http://www.msema.org./index.htm

Relief Organizations:

FEMA Charity tips: http://www.fema.gov/rrr/help2.shtm

Red Cross: 1-800-HELP-NOW or http://www.redcross.org/
Episcopal Relief & Development: 1-800-334-7626 or http://www.er-d.org/
United Methodist Committee on Relief: http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor/emergency/hurricanes/2005/
Salvation Army: 1-800-SAL-ARMY or http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/
Catholic Charities: 1-800-919-9338 or http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster: http://www.nvoad.org/
Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: http://www.la-spca.org/

For Federal Employees:

Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund: http://www.feea.org/
Postal Emergency Relief Fund: http://www.apwu.org/dept/human-rel/hr-perf.htm

Hurricane takes toll on federal payroll facility

The New Orleans finance center that processes paychecks for hundreds of thousands of federal employees is flooded from Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and is unlikely to recover in time for the next pay cycle, an Agriculture Department spokesman said Wednesday. Checks for the approximately 500,000 employees whose pay is usually processed at Agriculture's National Finance Center will be sent from a backup facility in Philadelphia.

A New ERP Market: The Federal Government

Federal ERP spending is expected to grow 33 percent, from $5.8 billion to $7.7 billion, by 2010, according to a report by analytics firm INPUT. According to the report, in the government sector the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the administration's Financial Management and Human Resources Management initiatives, will be the financial drivers of these investments in the ERP market, due primarily to the Management Agenda, a presidential strategy designed to improve the management of the federal government. In the past the federal ERP market has been dominated by spending on large supply chain management programs in the Department of Defense. Now agency focus is shifting, placing importance on areas of financial management and human resources management in the government. At a 6 percent annual growth rate, the ERP market is growing slightly faster than overall IT spending.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Transportation Department names Neff deputy CFO

The Transportation Department has named Lawrence Neff as its deputy chief financial officer. Neff replaces Tom Park, who retired last month. Prior to his appointment Aug. 7, Neff, who joined DOT in October 2000, helped initiate the department’s efforts to implement integrated financial systems using Oracle Corp.’s Federal Financials. That financial management system has helped the agency receive clear audit opinions in each of the last four years.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Federal Payroll Protected

Feds concerned about Hurricane Katrina's impact on their wallets have one less worry: payroll processing for 130 organizations and administrative support for the federal Thrift Savings Plan is safe, and the NFC is in the process of bringing up back up systems at recovery sites in Philadelphia and also in Texas.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Making Sense of Shared Services

On paper, the idea behind Lines of Business is simple. Rather than numerous agencies maintaining separate systems for payroll, financial management and human resource management functions, why not consolidate these into a few systems or "centers of excellence" operated by select agencies or outside vendors that pass due diligence criteria? These providers must offer industrial-strength security and capability to meet the customer agencies' requirements.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

OPM selects five human resources service centers

The five agencies are the Agriculture Department’s National Finance Center, the Defense Department, Health and Human Services, the Interior Department’s National Business Center, and the Treasury Department. OPM’s announcement is the latest step in an ongoing effort instigated by the Office of Management and Budget to shift to third party providers a variety of back office functions currently being performed within an agency. Phased transition to a human resources service center is set to begin in fiscal 2006, although the number of agencies will “really accelerate in 2007 and beyond,” Enger said.

INPUT Expects Federal ERP Spending to Grow 33 Percent Over Next Five Years

OMB's Financial Management and Human Resources Management LoBs are Key Drivers of Growth -- Federal ERP spending is expected to grow 33 percent from $5.8 billion to $7.7 billion by Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10), according to a report released by INPUT, the authority on government business. The initial Lines of Business (LoB) initiatives identified by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), most significantly the Financial Management and Human Resources Management LoBs, and the President's Management Agenda will be the major financial drivers of investment in the ERP market.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Appian Showcases Federal Internal Controls Solution at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Annual Conference

Appian Corporation, the leading provider of business process management (BPM) suites, will unveil its Federal Internal Controls Solution on August 22-23 at the annual AICPA conference in Washington DC. The solution enables agencies to meet the tight deadlines mandated by OMB Circular A-123, which was recently revised based on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Feds seek new judge in Indian trust case

Government lawyers have requested a new judge in a nine-year class-action lawsuit over the Interior Department’s failure to protect data from hackers. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth has presided over the case, which challenges Interior's oversight of Indian trust funds. But last week, Justice Department lawyers filed a motion with an appeals court for reassignment to a different judge.

Monday, August 22, 2005

FAA undertakes acquisition reforms

The Federal Aviation Administration recently implemented procurement reforms aimed at stemming mismanagement of services contracts. Under the new acquisition procedures, outlined by Administrator Marion Blakey earlier this month in an internal memorandum to FAA managers, contracting officials no longer are permitted to award support service contracts worth $1 million or more on a sole-source basis unless they receive permission from the agency's deputy administrator. The FAA's chief financial officer must approve requests to buy services worth more than $10 million, and program and contracting officers must undergo "mandatory, in-depth" training on procurement integrity.

The Decision Makers: Office of Management and Budget

The Office of Management and Budget assists the president in overseeing the preparation of the federal budget and supervises its administration in executive branch agencies. OMB evaluates agency programs, procedures, and policies; assesses funding demands among agencies; and sets funding priorities. It also oversees and coordinates the administration's procurement, financial management, information, and regulatory policies.

Friday, August 19, 2005

OPM signs up with Bureau of Public Debt for financial services

The Office of Personnel Management has become the first large agency to move to a center of excellence under the Financial Management Line of Business Consolidation initiative. Agency officials signed an agreement with the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Public Debt to use their Administrative Resource Center’s core financial management and procurement systems. ARC is one of four financial management centers of excellence named by OMB in the fiscal 2006 budget request. The others are the General Services Administration, the Interior Department’s National Business Center and the Transportation Department. OPM will transfer its data and integrate its feeder systems into ARC’s Oracle Federal Financial System 11i by Oct. 1, 2006.

Federal Financial Management News Log

Federal Financial Management News Log

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

SmartBuy may get FAR blessing

A proposed change to the Federal Acquisition Regulation would make the General Services Administration's SmartBuy enterprise software licensing program "mandatory consideration," said Tom Kireilis, SmartBuy's senior program manager. That means that agencies would have to consider any relevant SmartBuy agreements when making software purchases, he said. The SmartBuy license would become part of the agency's procurement strategy.

DHS officials detail plan to unify IT acquisitions

The Homeland Security Department Tuesday began the process of consolidating $6 billion worth of information technology acquisitions into two programs with the purpose of creating a departmentwide IT infrastructure. Addressing industry representatives in Washington, DHS Chief Procurement Officer Greg Rothwell said the consolidation will create a support services program known as EAGLE and a commodities initiative called FirstSource. The programs will bring the eight procurement shops in DHS under one roof, he said.

Homeland Security financial management project in limbo

Andrew Maner, Homeland Security's chief financial officer, suspended BearingPoint Inc.'s work on eMerge2, a project to connect financial data across the department, in June to make sure he had the "right vision" for the integrated system. The delay isn't ideal, but is necessary to ensure that taxpayers' money is spent wisely, he said in an interview last week.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sam Mok, Change Agent: Labor CFO is at no loss for words on how to lead transformation

Mok, chief financial officer at the Labor Department, draws from a quiver of images and analogies to illustrate points about issues facing government executives today.

Friday, August 12, 2005

DoD needs financial reform

Today, we at GAO continue to report that DoD’s substantial, long-standing management problems adversely affect the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of its operations and, as the major noted, has affected the morale of our fighting forces.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

OMB finalizes charge card guidance

The Office of Management and Budget finalized updated purchase card rules last week, requiring agencies to develop a charge card management plan, perform credit checks on cardholders and use strategic sourcing for card purchases. In a memo dated Aug. 5, OMB Director Joshua B. Bolten instructed all executive branch agencies to implement policies in an updated circular to include the latest governmentwide rules for charge cards.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

HHS pushes forward with IT consolidation

Asset-tracking, financial, e-mail and grant systems are some of the applications that HHS is standardizing and consolidating, CIO Charles Havekost said at a luncheon sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council in Washington, D.C.

Navy gives new office IT budget authority

The Navy has established a new office to manage spending for enterprisewide information technology systems both afloat and ashore. Such systems account for $2 billion of the Navy's $6 billion IT expenses each year.

Acquisition institute plans share-in-savings training

The General Services Administration is gearing up to provide procurement professionals with training on share-in-savings contracts. Should Congress extend a section of the 2002 E-Government Act that gives agencies limited authority to use the contract vehicle for technology projects, GSA will offer classes through the Federal Acquisition Institute at no charge to interested government employees, said Ken Buck, director of GSA's share-in-savings program office.

Senator mulls cutting Pentagon's $474 million travel system

The chairman of a Senate financial management subcommittee is considering an amendment that would block funding for the Defense Department's Web-based travel reservation system because of the way the contract with Northrop Grumman Corp. was negotiated. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., believes that $40 million to $50 million could be saved by putting the Defense Travel System up for re-bidding.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

GSA gets new inspector general

Brian Miller, former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has been appointed as inspector general at the General Services Administration.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Zen and the art of ERP maintenance

Performance management tools can help keep enterprise software humming, but the job is getting trickier all the time. Last year, market analyst Input estimated that the U.S. government's spending on ERP for fiscal 2004 was $5.6 billion, driven in large part by efforts to consolidate systems at the Homeland Security Department.

Cofoni joins CACI

Paul Cofoni was appointed president of CACI International Inc.’s federal division, just days after his former employer, Computer Sciences Corp., announced that he would retire as head of its federal sector business Aug. 12.

OMB assigns CIOs new homework

Federal chief information officers received an eight-page “room for improvement” memo last week from the Office of Management and Budget asking them to focus on executing project management plans. The memo compliments them for improvements they have made in planning and justifying federal information technology projects.

Lawmakers rap OPM on underpaid retirement annuities

Nine members of Congress have lent their weight to the issue of underpaid federal retirement annuities, in a letter sent to the Office of Personnel Management last week.

Charting an organization

It is important to understand why financial management matters. Having clean, auditable books is all well and good, but that is a byproduct of good financial practices. The real benefit is having accurate data that managers can use to make decisions about running their agencies and programs. It is an essential management tool.
That is also why the detail about the

Friday, August 05, 2005

IRS picks webMethods as part of modernization

Led by the bureau's Modernization and Information Technology Services division, the modernization project will use the webMethods products to fully integrate existing and future IT systems deployed throughout IRS.

Treasury secretary promises green, sees red

Treasury earned red lights (a failing grade) for "financial performance" under the President's Management Agenda scorecard. A department spokesman said that it may be years before Treasury removes the red, because the department is responsible for the persistent flaws in the accounts of the other federal agencies that write checks on the U.S. Treasury.

CFTC taps Leiss as CIO

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has chosen Wayne Leiss, currently chief of the federal financial systems branch in the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Financial Management (OFFM), to become the commission’s new chief information officer. At OMB, Leiss has been the driving force behind developing a governmentwide financial reporting systems architecture and policy. Leiss is scheduled to begin at CFTC Aug. 22.

OPM approves direct-hire authority for acquisition jobs

The Office of Personnel Management this week granted federal agencies direct-hire authority for certain acquisition positions. The regulations, published in the Federal Register Thursday, give non-Defense Department agencies the ability "to recruit and appoint highly qualified individuals" for these jobs.

E-gov and E-Travel

GSA's portal for information on the Government's plans to integrated and streamline ancillary systems such as Travel.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Homeland IG singles out ICE financial mismanagement

Ongoing financial management problems at ICE and the Coast Guard are hampering work throughout the department, acting IG Richard Skinner said at a July 27 hearing held by the House Government Reform subcommittee on government management, finance and accountability.

GSA releases final reorganization plan

The General Services Administration’s final plan to reorganize the Federal Technology and Federal Supply services into the Federal Acquisition Service tries to instill the right balance of management controls and customer service needs, senior agency officials said.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Agencies seek to iron out student loan repayment details

At a forum held Wednesday at Office of Personnel Management headquarters in Washington, more than 50 representatives from various agencies met with OPM officials to share ideas and establish an ongoing discussion on how best to implement the government's student loan repayment benefit.

Homeland Security agency begins hiring after lengthy hiatus

The federal agency responsible for capturing terrorists, busting street gangs and investigating money laundering has started hiring new agents after almost a year and a half in limbo, marking a turning point for a bureau that has been riddled with financial problems.

Crisis Management

Within federal agencies, there are crises in staffing, technology management, financial management, procurement, asset control and, predictably, budgeting.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Share-in-savings contracting regulations at least a month away

Regulations implementing a law that gives agencies limited authority to enter share-in-savings contracts are expected to be completed less than a month before that authority expires.