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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Report details errors in Agriculture financial disclosures

"Report details errors in Agriculture financial disclosures

The Agriculture Department's 2003 financial statements were error-filled and potentially misleading, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

The review (GAO-06-254R) identified accounting system problems that led to major errors in four of the five central statements in USDA's financial filing for that year, for which the agency originally received a clean audit. GAO also found that notes and discussions in the agency's 2004 financial statements downplayed the restated results in ways that could be misleading.

The GAO report is the first in a series that will discuss problems that led to financial restatements by 11 of the 23 agencies required to submit financial statements in fiscal 2003. GAO intends to focus on the nine of those agencies that originally received unqualified audits: the departments of Agriculture, State, Justice, Transportation, and Health and Human Services, and the General Services Administration, National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Office of Personnel Management."

Monday, January 30, 2006

Forum: DHS disaster management solutions

"Since the Hurricane Katrina disaster, federal and state and local governments have begun examining what went wrong with the Homeland Security Department response.

Secretary Michael Chertoff told Congress DHS needs to look at a FEMA automated logistics management capability and do what the private sector does 'to make sure we get things to people who need them quick.'

DHS should embrace supply chain management standards and use business process modeling tools and business rules that enable network redirection of assets as conditions change.

The lack of financial systems interfaces also left senior DHS management without up-to-date spending data. This lack of financial control will worsen as reconstruction funds are spent. It is also a contributing factor to DHS late payment problems, which severely impacts small businesses in the disaster area.

An integrated and adequately interfaced logistics system would effectively link acquisition and financial management systems and eliminate this problem. "

Friday, January 27, 2006


"The National Institute of Standards and Technology is recruiting a Chief Financial Officer.

Application instructions and job information can be found at www.usajobs.com (vacancy announcement NIST-06-2733/SES) or by contacting Susanne Porch at Susanne.Porch@nist.gov. The position closes Feb. 13."

EPA IG steps down raises concern over pay scale

"Nikki Tinsley, longtime inspector general at the Environmental Protection Agency, told President Bush she will leave her post in early March.

In a letter to the president today, Tinsley said that although she is proud of her service, she fears that the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2004 will prevent qualified IG candidates from accepting similar appointments.
The act changed the pay scale for Senior Executive Service employees by making raises contingent on performance reviews, an EPA Office of Inspector General spokesman said.

For IGs, this is problematic because they are independent of their agency heads and are not subject to peer review—meaning that an IG’s salary is essentially frozen.

Tinsley becomes the second federal IG to step down this week, following Transportation Department IG Kenneth Mead, who will leave his position Feb. 11. "

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Agency CIO councils perform offstage

"Federal insiders expect larger role for internal councils

The CIO Council, a mandated product of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, is well-known for its influence on governmentwide information technology projects, but relatively little is known about its cousins at the departmentwide level.

Yet those CIO councils, many of which predate Clinger-Cohen and the federal CIO Council, could have a greater impact on their department's IT developments, particularly as agencies tackle endeavors such as creating an enterprise architecture. The key to the councils' success is their structure, said David Powner, director of IT management issues at the Government Accountability Office.

Agency CIO councils' ability to guide IT development largely depends on the clout that the agency's CIO has in the executive hierarchy, said Jim Flyzik, a partner at Guerra Kiviat Flyzik and Associates, former Treasury Department CIO and former chairman of the federal CIO Council.

Flyzik said he believes the role of CIO councils will expand as the role of IT moves from being a support function to one that encompasses an agency's entire operation.

To keep pace with that change, he expects CIO councils to eventually merge with other bodies, such as human resources and CFO councils, and to become hybrid organizations with a wide range of skills."

Agency attitude affects modernization efforts' success

"Four panelists at an AFCEA International breakfast agreed that modernization must be recognized and supported by departments' executives. The chief information officer in particular must be involved in the effort, the panelists agreed."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Transportation IG Mead steps down

"After serving two presidents, Transportation Department inspector general Kenneth Mead will leave his post next month.

Mead submitted his resignation Monday in a letter to President Bush, adding that serving as IG has been an honor.

'The opportunities to see positive outcomes and results for the traveling public and taxpayer have been enormously satisfying,' he told the president.

Mead came to Transportation in 1997 under former secretary Rodney Slater - a 'substantial tenure for an inspector general at a cabinet-level agency,' he said."

Federal XML group starts strategic markup language

"The CIO Council's XML Community of Practice has started building an extensible markup language-based schema that agencies could use to encode their strategic plans.

The Strategic Markup Language (StratML) pilot is seeking volunteers to help complete the task.

StratML could be used 'to standardize agency strategic plans and IT strategic plans,' said Adam Schwartz, project leader for the XML CoP. Schwartz, a program analyst in the program management office at the Government Printing Office, outlined the pilot at last week's XML CoP meeting.

The group will identify a set of common terms used across all strategic plans, according Schwartz, and will try to build interagency consensus on the precise definitions of terms such as mission, vision, values, goals and stakeholders.

The group plans to talk with the Chief Financial Officers Council to encourage its participation, as many CFOs are in charge of crafting agency strategic documents. The XML CoP’s parent body, the CIO Council’s Architecture and Infrastructure Committee, hasn’t formally endorsed StratML, though pilot organizers will meet with them as well. Eventually, the team may submit the schema to an internal standards body, such as the International Organization for Standardization. "

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

OMB updates core financial-system requirements

"The Office of Management and Budget has updated core financial-system requirements that agencies must fulfill to meet federal guidelines to better manage their programs under the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act.

The updates reflect recent changes in regulations and central agency reporting systems, such as the Treasury Department's new Governmentwide Accounting program, said OMB Controller Linda Combs in the document released today.

Agencies disburse more than $2 trillion annually. Financial and program managers need access to detailed financial information to formulate budgets, monitor program operations and report performances in a reliable financial system. Core system functions include managing a general ledger, controlling spending, making payments, tracking costs and reconciling the agency's fund balance with the Treasury.

'This update demonstrates a strong commitment by the federal CFO community to continually improve the quality of financial services,' Combs said.

Agency chief financial officers and the CFO Council's Financial System Integration Committee participated in developing the requirements. The update outlines new provisions, clarifications of existing requirements and elimination of outdated terms. "

Monday, January 23, 2006

OMB looks to orchestrate financial management

"Agencies to get performance measures, guidance on how to pick providers when they're moving to shared-services providers

After a year of tuning up, the Office of Management and Budget is trying to find harmony in agencies' efforts toward adopting the Financial Man- agement Line of Business.

'This is one of the most important initiatives in recent years, trying to bring some efficiency and standardization to all the different financial practices in the federal government,' said Sam Mok, chief financial officer of the Labor Department, one of the agency managing partners leading the initiative.

OMB plans by March 31 to create performance measures and develop guidance for agencies moving to shared-services providers under the financial-management initiative. This month, OMB intends to release a framework to assist agencies in conducting competitions and selecting a shared provider, OMB comptroller Linda Combs said in a recent memo to CFOs obtained by GCN.

The performance measures and guidance are the first steps toward transparency, standardization and integration, which should make financial data more timely, accurate, and easily compared and aggregated across agencies, Combs said. "


"A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives veteran is now the agency's assistant director for Management and its chief financial officer.

Melanie S. Stinnett, an ATF employee for more than 20 years, was appointed as the organization's AD for Management and CFO, the Bureau announced last week.

Stinnett will develop and execute all management support programs for ATF.

She was previously the Bureau's deputy chief counsel in the Office of the Chief Counsel, a role she held since April 2002.

Stinnett’s career with the ATF began as a staff attorney in 1983 in Philadelphia. She has also held the positions of senior attorney and assistant chief counsel in Philadelphia, and ACC in New York.

Stinnett earned a degree in history from Virginia Tech and a juris doctor from the American University Washington College of Law."

DHS moves quickly to redirect Emerge2

"Early metrics didn't look good, so the agency will adopt shared-services model

One size doesn't fit all for the Homeland Security Department when it comes to financial management.

Officials decided to completely overhaul its Elec-tronically Managing Enter-prise Resources for Gov-ernment Effectiveness and Efficiency 2 (Emerge2) program and let department components choose among an array of existing financial-service providers. DHS then will pool the data in a warehouse to allow financial managers to drill down into separate components' financial records.

'We now plan to use a center-of-excellence model,' said Andy Maner, DHS' outgoing chief financial officer.

The Emerge2 project will not be rebranded, though there may be some new contractors, he added.

DHS now plans to let its components choose among five DHS providers of financial management services as well as outside federal agencies that provide the services, such as the Interior Department's National Business Center and the ERP services of the Treasury Department's Bureau of Public Debt.

UP AND RUNNING - DHS providers to choose from:

The five DHS agencies that already operate ERP systems are:

Customs and Border Protection, which uses software from SAP America Inc. of Newton Square, Pa., with IBM Corp. as a systems integrator. The CBP system supports 3,500 users but no other DHS components at this time.

The Coast Guard, which operates its Core Accounting System using Oracle Corp.’s financial software and already supports the Transportation Security Administration, in a move shepherded by the CFO office.

The Secret Service, which uses Oracle software supported by BearingPoint Inc. of McLean, Va.

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which uses Momentum financial software provided by CGI-AMS. FLETC now is beginning to absorb the financial tasks needed by the Intelligence and Analysis Directorate and the Operations Directorate.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which uses the Federal Financial Management System provided by Savantage Solutions Inc. of Rockville, Md."

NASA gets its IT security off the critical list

"Reducing number of systems, deploying patch management are among improvements

NASA has improved its IT security enough over the past year that the space agency's inspector general has removed the issue from his list of most serious challenges.

Still on the list, however, is NASA’s struggle to implement an integrated financial management system.

For the third year in a row, the agency’s financial statements received a disclaimer from the independent auditor because of internal control deficiencies, Cobb said. NASA has made some progress, Cobb added, such as reorganizing the lines of authority so that chief financial officers in the agency’s 10 centers now report to agency CFO Gwendolyn Brown. "

OMB releases EA Assessment

"The Office of Management and Budget has the second version of its Enterprise Architecture Assessment Framework. Agencies have until Feb. 28 to submit their EA materials under this guideline, according to a memo issued by Richard Burk, director of the Federal Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office.

Last year, OMB announced it would evaluate how well agencies complete and utilize their EAs to save money, improve services and meet their missions overall. OMB will use this assessment to evaluate agency EAs as part of the second quarter 2006. President's Management Agenda Scorecard. "

Friday, January 20, 2006

SEC offers incentives for corporate XBRL filing

"The Securities and Exchange Commission will offer public companies expedited reviews of their registration statements and annual reports if they volunteer for a test group as part of the SEC's interactive data initiative.

Under the initiative, companies voluntarily submit financial data to the SEC using Extensible Business Reporting Language, a computer language that makes financial data interactive. XBRL also standardizes data so regulators can make comparisons when analyzing corporate information.

The SEC expects efficiencies in reviewing the filings prepared in XBRL and wants to encourage participation in the test group set to start in February. Corporations have been slow to adopt XBRL to date. "

InformationWeek | Enterprise Software | Streamlined DOJ Financial Management On Tap | January 19, 2006

"IBM plans to integrate financial management and procurement systems for the agency based on off-the- shelf, commercial software tailored for government use.

Big Blue is taking on the Department of Justice's financial management system.

IBM, CGI Federal, BEA Systems, BearingPoint, COMSO, Delta Solutions, Nortel PEC, Unisys, Codesoft and Collins Consulting will streamline and modernize the DOJ's financial system under a one-year contract, with six additional one-year periods. The department can issue task orders throughout the term of the agreement, which is valued up to $150 million.

IBM plans to integrate financial management and procurement systems based on CGI-AMS's Momentum software, an off-the shelf, commercial product tailored for government use. The company will install Core Accounting/General Ledger, Financial Management Reporting, Payment Management, Receivables Management, Funds Management, Cost Management and Procurement modules of Momentum. "

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Oracle's Fusion Halfway Home

"Charles Phillips, Oracle's co-president and the point man on the company's $19 billion acquisition binge, said that his developers are ahead of schedule and expect to roll out the Fusion application suite in 2008. "

Navy's Wennergren named CIO Council vice chairman

"Dave Wennergren today was elected vice chairman of the CIO Council.

Wennergren, the Navy Department's CIO, replaces Dan Matthews, the former Transportation CIO who returned to the private sector in December.

The CIO Council elected Wennergren today at their monthly meeting.

Wennergren previously was co-chairman of the CIO Council's Best Practices Committee, has been Navy CIO since 2002 and has been with the department for 25 years. "

The Advocate

"The indefatigable David M. Walker campaigns for fundamental reforms in government Comptroller General David M. Walker populates his spacious office at the Government Accountability Office in Washington with objects bearing the name or image of his six favorite leaders. It is a formidable aggregation, spanning three centuries: Jefferson and Washington, Lincoln and Lee, Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.

"They were forward-looking, innovative, action-oriented and values-driven," said Walker, head of GAO. "They understood that leaders have a responsibility to try to make a difference but that leadership was more than them. To me, leadership is about getting things done with and through others to achieve positive and sustainable results, both for today and tomorrow."

The most ubiquitous figure in Walker's leadership menagerie is Theodore Roosevelt. "There were a lot about him that I would say are admirable,” Walker said. “He was not a staunch partisan. He was not an ideologue. He was a bridge-builder.”

Those words might well describe Walker himself, a political independent who was appointed by President Clinton in 1998 to a 15-year term as comptroller general and head of the nonpartisan GAO.

“He is definitely a bridge-builder who is not viewed as partisan,” said a Washington policy insider.

Agencies migrate most funding applications to Grants gov

"Grants.gov, the federal government's online portal for finding and submitting applications electronically for federal grant funding, achieved its goal last year that agencies make at least 25 percent of their funding opportunities available at the site.

Grants.gov, one of the original federal e-government projects and a component of the President's Management Agenda, is managed by the Health and Human Services Department.

In fiscal 2005, 20 out of 26 federal grant-making agencies posted one-fourth of their opportunities at Grants.gov and received more than 15,000 applications, said Charles Johnson, HHS assistant secretary for budget, technology and finance in the Federal Register. Those agencies included HHS and the Agriculture, Education, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice departments.

This year, agencies must make 75 percent of their funding opportunities available for electronic submission, and in 2007 that figure rises to100 percent, according to Office of Management and Budget guidance. "

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Homeland Security chief financial officer to step down

"The Homeland Security Department's top financial executive announced Tuesday that he will leave this spring.

In a resignation letter to President Bush, Andrew Maner, who took over as the department's chief financial officer in early 2004, said he will step down on March 3. Bush announced that he intends to nominate David Norquist, deputy undersecretary of Defense for budget and appropriations affairs, to replace Maner.

...the department has been under pressure to replace Maner with a Senate-confirmed CFO, as required by a financial accountability law enacted in October 2004. The law, initiated by Rep. Todd Platts, R-Pa., chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Management, Finance and Accountability, also requires the department to obtain audit opinions on internal controls--checks and balances designed to detect fraud or mismanagement--starting this fiscal year. "

Bush taps Norquist for DHS chief financial officer post

"President George W. Bush plans to nominate David L. Norquist to be chief financial officer of the Homeland Security Department, the White House said today.

The department's current CFO, Andy Maner, announced yesterday that he would resign, effective March 3.

Norquist now works as deputy undersecretary of Defense for budget and appropriations affairs. Formerly, he worked as acting principal deputy undersecretary of Defense-comptroller, as well as deputy undersecretary of Defense for financial management. Previously, he worked on the House Appropriations Committee staff.

Norquist holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Michigan, as well as a second master's degree from Georgetown University. "

CFO looks to other agencies for financial management systems

"After scrapping a multimillion-dollar plan to consolidate its financial management systems, the Homeland Security Department is looking instead at piggybacking onto already existing systems.

Chief Financial Officer Andrew Maner said in a Jan. 10 interview that the department decided that using existing financial management systems will be more efficient than spending millions to develop a new one. Under this vision, Homeland Security will still have several systems, but fewer than it does now.

Homeland Security is figuring out which financial management functions its agencies need and what systems are available.

Maner said Homeland Security will look at both financial management systems run by department components such as the Coast Guard, the Secret Service and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and systems provided by agencies that the Office of Management and Budget has designated centers of excellence.

OMB is pushing all agencies to buy financial management services from the Transportation Department, General Services Administration, the Interior Department's National Business Center, and the Treasury Department's Bureau of Public Debt. OMB says consolidating financial services - as well as other areas such as human resources and grants - would save resources and improve efficiency.

The department has had problems managing its finances since its creation in March 2003. Inspector General Richard Skinner, former IG Clark Kent Ervin, lawmakers and others have highlighted problems the department has tracking and managing funds, property, equipment and accounting.

Maner said agencies that must improve their financial management, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), are meeting with him regularly to discuss what they need and what systems might fill those requirements.

Maner wants to have a plan by the end of March spelling out which agencies will move first and to what systems. He wants the first agencies to transfer by the end of September.

Maner said about five or six agencies need help with financial management. The process could take two or three years to complete, Maner said, but a total cost has not yet been estimated.

Maner also wants to create a “data mart” that will work in concert with agency financial systems to collect Homeland Security’s financial information in one place. This will help the agency more easily compile reports and give Maner quicker access to information he needs to make daily decisions as CFO."

Government Executive Leadership Breakfast: Federal Financial Management and the Fiscal Outlook

Government Executive editor Timothy B. Clark will lead a timely discussion with U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker on the financial challenges facing major agencies of the federal government, and the fiscal outlook for 2007 and beyond.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 7:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. National Press Club 529 14th Street, NW - 13th Floor Washington, DC Metro Stop: Metro Center

Bush to Tap Transportation Aide + DHS CFO Nomination

"WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush plans to nominate an aide to Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta as the administration's top traffic safety official, the White House said Tuesday.

Nicole R. Nason, an assistant secretary of transportation for governmental affairs, would become the new administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Other nominations include:

David L. Norquist, currently a deputy undersecretary of defense, to become chief financial officer of Homeland Security Department."

DHS' Maner to step down this spring

"Andy Maner, the Homeland Security Department's chief financial officer, announced his plans to resign as of March 3, the department announced today.

Maner led DHS' project to weave together a welter of financial systems to develop means of accessing unified accounting information. That project is not yet complete.

DHS earlier announced an enterprise resource planning system project, known as Emerge2, that would complete the consolidation project, but that work now is being realigned. "

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CXOs crowd the landscape

"Too many chiefs at the workplace force CIOs to dodge IT turf wars

A decade after the creation of the chief information officer position in the federal government, a new group of 'chiefs' is crowding the CIO's spot on agencies' organizational charts, former and current CIOs say.

The Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 and the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 granted CIOs and CFOs, respectively, certain duties, but agencies have drawn their own lines and boxes on organizational charts, generating confusion and plenty of friction.

Today, the officials who helped write the Clinger-Cohen Act say they intended CIOs to work as partners with CFOs, but the profusion of high-level managers has diluted that vision.

"All agencies are not the same, and they shouldn't be forced to fit a preconceived mold that may or may not work," said Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Government Efficiency and Financial Management Subcommittee. "The statutory framework imposed by Congress -- the CFO Act, Clinger-Cohen Act and others -- is just that: a framework.""


"The Department of Defense's newly-created Business Transformation Agency has a new senior advisor.

Mark Krzysko has been appointed assistant deputy undersecretary for Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition Processes for DoD's Business Transformation Agency.

The BTA was created Oct. 7, 2005 by then-Acting Deputy Defense Secretary of Defense Gordon England to provide consistency in DoD's business transformation efforts, minimize redundancies in its business systems, and reduce overhead for the Department.

More information about BTA can be found at http://www.defenselink.mil/bmmp/ "

Monday, January 16, 2006

IBM nabs Justice, Defense deals

"Under the Justice BPA, IBM will install components of CGI-AMS' Momentum software. Those components include core accounting/general ledger, financial management reporting, payment management, receivables management, funds management, cost management, and procurement. IBM is teaming with the following companies on the BPA: BEA Systems, BearingPoint, CGI Federal, COMSO, Delta Solutions, Nortel PEC, Unisys, Codesoft and Collins Consulting."

Sunday, January 15, 2006

IBM Picked to Upgrade Justice's Finance Systems

"International Business Machines Corp. won a seven-year contract worth as much as $150 million to modernize and consolidate the Justice Department's financial management and procurement systems, the company plans to announce today.

Under the United Financial Management System contract, which has a base year and six one-year options, the company will combine six systems into one.

IBM will install components including modules for core accounting/general ledger, financial management reporting, payment management, receivables management, funds management, cost management and procurement. The system will be based on Momentum software from CGI-AMS Inc. of Fairfax.

The Unified Financial Management System calls for a rollout in phases. The Justice Department's total budget for the project is $200 million.

In addition to CGI-AMS, IBM's teammates on the contract include BEA Systems Inc. of San Jose; BearingPoint Inc. of McLean; Comso Inc. of Greenbelt; Delta Solutions & Technologies Inc. of Herndon; Nortel PEC Solutions Inc. of Fairfax; Unisys Corp. of Blue Bell, Pa.; Codesoft International Inc. of Atlanta; and Collins Consulting Inc. of Schaumberg, Ill."

Business Intelligence software looks to future - Yahoo! News

"Traditionally, large companies have used software from leading vendors such as Business Objects (Nasdaq:BOBJ - news), Cognos Inc. (Toronto:CSN.TO - news), Hyperion Solutions Corp. (Nasdaq:HYSL - news) to mine mountains of information stored in databases and use the data to detect marketing trends and patterns.

But analysts say applications that actually answer questions rather than just present mounds of data is the key driver of a market set to grow 10 percent in 2006 or about twice the rate of the business software industry in general."

Friday, January 13, 2006

DHS bureau gets first permanent chief financial officer

The government's second-largest investigative agency got its first permanent chief financial officer this week, signaling that sound fiscal management has become a top priority.

Debra Bond was appointed chief financial officer of the Homeland Security Department's troubled Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, which is responsible for investigating and stopping criminal and terrorist activity and enforcing the nation's immigration laws.

The move was made by the new director of ICE, Julie Myers, who took over on Monday after having escaped the usual Senate confirmation process through a a controversial recess appointment from President Bush. Bond had served as acting CFO at the agency since June.


"The International Trade Administration has an opening for a Chief Financial Officer and Director of Administration.

The position is "Career Reserved" and selectees must be able to obtain a Top-Secret security clearance.

More information about the position can be found at: http://www.fpmisolutions.com/about/VA%20CFO%20Final%201-9-06%20_2_.pdf "

Larry Ellison To Speak On Project Fusion

Join Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in person or via Web cast from San Francisco's City Hall on Jan. 18 from 4-6 p.m. as he takes a look at Project Fusion over the last 12 months, discusses Fusion Architecturre, and explains how Fusion will become a part of the businesses of the future.

InformationWeek | Outsourcing | Federal Outsourcing To Grow 8%: Report | January 12, 2006

"Agencies will need more outside help to meet federal standards for human resources management, financial management, health architecture, and IT security, among other things, a new Input study says.

Driven by the Office of Management and Budget's Lines of Business (LOB) initiatives, federal outsourcing spending is expected to increase more than $5 billion in the next four years, according to Reston, Va.-based research firm Input.

Federal agencies will increasingly look to the private sector for help in meeting OMB standards in human resources management, financial management, grants management, case management, federal health architecture and IT security. 'Generally from an IT market standpoint, things slowed down in relation to the whole budget,' says Chris Campbell, senior analyst of budgets at Input. 'But outsourcing generally remains strong.'"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

CIOs chart new path of partnership

"Rules of the road aren't always clear in new era of technology contracting

Federal chief information officers play a major role in managing a new breed of partnerships that have begun supplanting traditional approaches to information technology contracting.
CIOs' role -- never an easy one -- is multifaceted and largely unscripted when it comes to partnership arrangements. CIOs engaged in outsourcing or performance-based contracts serve as change agents, communications managers and arbitrators. Unfamiliarity compounds the CIO's challenge. Information managers who leave the comfort zone of familiar contracting methods may have few peers to emulate."

VA names Meagher CTO

"The Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen Ed Meagher to become its chief technology officer, and he will start the new job Jan. 22.

In a memo to staff, chief information officer Robert McFarland said the department took more than two years to find the right person with the skills and knowledge of the VA's information technology system. Meagher has been serving as the VA's deputy CIO.

Meagher's duties will include consulting services for IT systems engineering and providing advice and assistance on the integration and migration of systems from the existing IT environment to the VA's new enterprise architecture structure."

GAO launches new portal for Antideficiency Act reports

"The Government Accountability Office has launched a new Web portal providing easier access to find and track Antideficiency Act reports.

The Antideficiency Act prohibits agencies from spending money on goods and services when there is not enough money in their budgets. Violations of the act are reported to Congress.

GAO launched the Web site after Congress amended the act last year and required agencies also to report their violations to the congressional watchdog.

The site acts as a database that summarizes every anti-deficiency report, including information about the submitting agency, the dollar amount reported and a brief description of the violation.

It also provides information about the law itself and provides instructions on how agencies should send the reports. "

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

OMB plans guidance for financial management LOB

"The Office of Management and Budget will develop performance measures and guidance by the end of March for agencies moving to shared-services providers under the financial management LOB.

OMB also expects to issue a competition framework this month to assist agencies in conducting competitions and selecting a shared provider, according to a recent memo from OMB controller Linda Combs that was obtained by GCN.

The Financial Systems Integration Office is leading activities for the financial management LOB under the guidance and oversight of OMB and the Financial Systems Integration Committee of the CFO Council. OMB will continue as executive sponsor, while the CFO Council’s integration committee chairman will be the lead agency sponsor for the financial management LOB.

Also this month, the Financial Systems Integration Office moves from the General Service Administration’s CFO’s office to its Office of Government-wide Policy in the Office Technology Strategy to take advantage of its expertise on IT, administrative and contract management.

Last year, the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program, which was responsible for certifying financial software for government, became the Financial Systems Integration Office. "

Santana leaves DHS joins Energy

"Catherine Santana, formerly program manager for the foundering Emerge 2 financial management project at the Homeland Security Department, has moved over to the Energy Department.

DHS halted the work after Emerge2 fell behind schedule and exceeded costs.

Industry sources said the department is reviewing several options to consolidate the financial systems of similar components within the department, possibly leading to a collection of enterprise resource planning systems linked by a data warehouse. "

They [DHS] are looking at setting a new path for how they are going to take the program, possibly standardizing on multiple internal systems, including: the Secret Service, Coast Guard, and Customs and Border Protection.

NFC IT heads back to New Orleans

"National Finance Center director Jerry Lohfink moved back to his New Orleans office this week, but NFC�s data center will remain at its backup location near Philadelphia until a new center is completed in June.

Lohfink and his IT staff, who process about 600,000 federal payrolls, have been working from Philadelphia, Grand Prairie, Texas, and Alexandria, La., since Hurricane Katrina and subsequent flooding drove them from their offices in August. NFC provides administrative and financial services to its parent agency, the Agriculture Department, and other agencies.

'One of the biggest challenges for NFC leadership is to balance service delivery to the customer while providing its employees with the time and support necessary for them to build back their lives,' Lohfink said.

NFC employees will complete the phase-in of returning payroll processing services to New Orleans by Feb. 10, said NFC CIO Gil Hawk, who remains in Philadelphia until next month. "

Federal IT outsourcing to grow, report states

"Federal information technology outsourcing could grow at an annual rate of almost 8 percent, from $12.2 billion in fiscal 2005 to $17.6 billion by 2010, according to a market forecast that Input will release Jan. 12.

The Office of Management and Budget's lines of business initiatives will be one of the main factors causing the growth...

OMB's lines of business initiatives require agencies to submit business cases for planned projects to Centers of Excellence, agencies that OMB has designated as specifically qualified to perform services within specialized areas. The lines include human resources, financial, grants and case management; federal health architecture and IT security."

Oracle Announces New Releases of Oracle(R) Internal Controls Manager and Oracle Financial Consolidation Hub: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

"Customers Can Gain Greater Financial Compliance Insight With Unified Financial Reporting, Compliance Management and Assurance Analytics

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif, Jan. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL - News) today announced the latest releases of Oracle Internal Controls Manager and Oracle Financial Consolidation Hub, part of the Oracle E-Business Suite. The new versions will help to ensure the quality and transparency of financial information across the enterprise by integrating the preparation of financial statements with the periodic evaluation of a company's internal controls.

In the latest release, Oracle Financial Consolidation Hub introduces full integration with Oracle Internal Controls Manager to converge financial reporting and compliance certification processes. Oracle's corporate performance and compliance management applications are built on a single analytic platform, which provides the framework necessary for consistent processes and certification across disparate source systems. The single data model delivers greater visibility and helps increase confidence in financial results by presenting consolidated global financial results with related risks and mitigations."

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

OMB delivers report to better sell e-government

"The Office of Management and Budget submitted its mandated report to Congress Friday detailing the spending and benefits of all 25 e-government and five Line of Business Consolidation projects, hoping to sell lawmakers on why these initiatives are important.

The 179-page report breaks down the progress and advantages of each project, the participation by each agency per project and the amount of money each agency is contributing to each project.

For fiscal 2006, OMB reported, agencies will spend more than $192.9 million on the 30 initiatives. "

Monday, January 09, 2006

7 habits of highly effective CIOs

Experts say focus, find strengths, build bridges, talk plainly and listen

#3 - Build Alliances - CIOs have a lot of responsibility and only a little direct authority, experts said. Working with peers and managers across the organization becomes essential to successfully managing crosscutting initiatives. Other CXOs, such as the chief financial officer and the chief human capital officer, should be the CIO's closest allies, said Bruce McConnell, former chief of information policy and technology at the Office of Management and Budget and now president of McConnell International. To do this, CIOs should carefully listen to the CXOs' priorities and concerns, while being transparent about their own goals and needs.

Karen Evans: CIOs do matter

"To be truly effective, IT leaders need to make sure they matter

Editor's note: Karen Evans, administrator of e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget, serves as the de facto federal chief information officer. Last month, Federal Computer Week Executive Editor Christopher J. Dorobek and reporter Matthew Weigelt spoke with Evans about her views on the role of the CIO 10 years after the Clinger-Cohen Act became law."

FAA names Bowen as new CIO

"The Federal Aviation Administration has tapped David Bowen as its new CIO and assistant administrator for information services.

As CIO, Bowen will direct the agency's overall strategic IT planning and $2 billion budget supporting critical administrative, business and operational needs. "

DOD project hits the books

"Department moves to standardize business language before going online with its new financial system

The Defense Department is running workshops to educate its workforce on a new common business language that eventually will be used to track, process and report thousands of business transactions.

Officials are teaching employees the business language, called the Standard Financial Information Structure, ahead of DOD's implementation of a new financial management program - the Defense Enterprise Accounting and Management System (DEAMS). DEAMS, announced in 2003, is a co-production of the Air Force, Transportation Command and Defense Finance and Accounting Service."

Friday, January 06, 2006

EPA Releases Financial System Modernization Project RFP

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) releases solicitation for its Financial System Modernization Project, a key element of the overall Financial Replacement System plan.

"The project is framed by EPA's business requirements and the objectives set forth by the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Financial Management Line of Business (FM-LoB) initiative under the President's Management Agenda. EPA will ensure that it implements a solution consistent with the FM-LoB vision: to establish the framework for a government-wide financial management solution that is efficient and improves business performance while ensuring integrity in accountability, financial controls, and mission effectiveness.

EPA will use a single stage acquisition that includes three elements - software, integration, and hosting. Consistent with the FM-LoB approach, EPA will consider Government designated Centers of Excellence for Financial Management as well as private sector providers as part of its best-value determination. Centers of Excellence are the Department of Transportation, Department of the Interior, General Services Administration, and Bureau of the Public Debt."

Proposals are due March 7, 2006.

Bush appoints Myers as ICE chief in recess move

"President Bush on Jan. 4 bypassed the Senate and authorized the controversial appointment of Julie Myers as head of the Homeland Security Department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau.

Myers will take charge of the agency, which has a $4 billion budget and more than 14,600 employees, on Jan. 9, ICE spokesman Michael Keegan said.

The full Senate never considered Myers. Jen Burita, a spokeswoman for committee chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the committee was unaware the recess appointment was coming until it was announced.

Myers told the committee on Sept. 15 that fixing ICE’s poor financial management will be one of her top priorities."

Thursday, January 05, 2006


"All federal agencies finally have their FY 2006 budgets.

President George W. Bush late last week signed the only remaining appropriations bills, funding the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.

The Senate passed both bills Dec. 21 after the House passed the Defense bill on Dec. 18 and the Labor/HHS/Education bill Dec. 14. "

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

USDA seeks integrated financial-management system

"The Agriculture Department wants to replace its core financial-management system with an updated one that provides general accounting, funds management and financial reports.

Under the recent request for proposals, vendors would provide program management, transition and migration support, application and integrator services, and hosting services for the USDA Financial Management Modernization Initiative.

Agriculture will conduct a preproposal conference Jan. 19. Proposals are due March 13."

Labor to conduct A-76 competition for financial systems operation

"The Labor Department will conduct a study to see if certain functions within its financial accounting office, including IT system support, should be outsourced to the private sector or kept in-house.

In a recent notice, the agency said it is planning a standard competition under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 for finance and accounting services. Under A-76, agencies compete inherently commercial federal positions with the private sector.

The tasks that could be outsourced include general accounting, collections and account receivables, payments, reconciliations and reports, travel and financial systems support. "

www.GovExec.com - Damage Control (1/4/06)

"When hauled before lawmakers eager to vent frustration over federal mismanagement of information technology projects, having a curative for their complaints at the ready makes all the difference.

So it went when Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget administrator of e-government and information technology, testified last spring before the House Government Reform Committee with a three-word response to congressional attacks: earned value management (EVM). "

GAO: Times call for risk-based budgeting

GAO: Times call for risk-based budgeting: "Federal agencies and congressional appropriators should consider revising their budgets to reflect risk-based spending priorities, the controller general testified at a June 29 hearing.

Demographic trends, rising health care costs, decreasing federal revenues and a growing federal deficit all require the government to do more with less in years to come, Comptroller General David Walker told members of the House Homeland Security Committee's Management, Integration and Oversight Subcommittee. "

Monday, January 02, 2006

IAC forms new interest groups

IAC forms new interest groups: "The American Council for Technology's Industry Advisory Council changed the names and focuses of two of its nine shared-interest groups and has announced new group leaders for 2006.

The eGovernement group has been renamed the Collaboration and Transformation group and will focus on IT-enabled change in government. This group also has a new financial management committee that will exchange information among government and committee members. "

Weak DHS management raises concerns for IG

Federal Times: "The Homeland Security Department is dogged by major management problems that hobbled its response to Hurricane Katrina and may impair its ability to respond to other disasters, according to a government audit released Dec. 28.

The report by the department's inspector general, Richard Skinner, highlights many problems that still undermine the department, three years after it was forged by the merging of 22 security-related agencies.

Skinner also cited problems with the department's project management, financial management and administration of its multibillion-dollar grants programs. "

Chertoff: CIO, CFO did not get more power

Chertoff: CIO, CFO did not get more power: "A recent top-to-bottom review of the Homeland Security Department purposely did not recommend giving the chief information officer and chief financial officer more authority, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said today.

The two positions will continue to work closely with the secretary's office through the existing management structure, Chertoff said at the Excellence in Government conference in Washington, D.C. "

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Federal grants sites merge traffic increases

Federal grants sites merge traffic increases: "Two federal Web sites for grant applications merged under the auspices of the Grants.gov e-government project earlier this month. The merger eliminated Fedgrants.gov, according to Grants.gov officials.

Grants.gov officials expect increased traffic in future months. In 2005 alone, the site's number of registered users grew from 12,330 in June to 22,246 in November. In November 2004, Grants.gov received 1,412 grant applications; last month that figure had increased to 20,023 applications. "