Around Government

A Road Well-Traveled

Brenda Wells is the master of the long commute. 
Her daily five-hour sojourn to and from the State Department involves a drive, a ride on a commuter train, two subway lines and a bus. In May, Wells, won WTOP Radio’s inaugural Commuter Idle contest for having the worst commute in Washington. Later she was honored for her dedication to her work during a surprise visit with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 
Wells is an officer at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, where she assigns security agents to embassies and consulates around the world. Her 50-mile morning commute starts at 4 a.m. in Sparrows Point, Md., and she arrives at her desk in Foggy Bottom around 6:40 a.m. 
So, what drives her to continue the daily haul?
“The main motivation is my children. That’s my No. 1 charging point,” says Wells, a single mother of three. She also credits the support network at her office for helping her manage her busy schedule. 
“My boss is very supportive and flexible, and having that type of workplace with someone who respects you and your work ethic is very gratifying,” Wells says. Another huge benefit, she adds, are telework policies that allow her to work from home one day a week.
For feds struggling to get to work, Wells suggests using commute time to recharge and take care of personal matters. It’s critical, she says, “just having that balance—saving the work for when you get into the office.”
Kedar Pavgi
Just Say It
Rules and legislation aim to compel federal employees to write clearly, but across the pond, the appeal for good writing in government is getting personal. 
Self-described “grammar fascist” Alan Duncan, a member of Britain’s Parliament and a minister of state for international development, links jargon-free language to reasoned thinking. An internal memo obtained by The Telegraph notes the minister of state “would prefer that we did not ‘leverage’ or ‘mainstream’ anything, and whereas he is happy for economies to grow, he does not like it when we ‘grow economies.’ ” 
And according to The Mail on Sunday, a memo to the staff of the British transport secretary said, “Do not put in too many adverbs . . . avoid phrases like ‘strongly opposed’ and just say ‘opposed.’ ” 
The push for clear prose in the U.S. government is more about effectively communicating, says Annetta Cheek, chairwoman of the Center for Plain Language. “We can see situations where you might want to talk or write in a 
vernacular style,” she says. “We wouldn’t want the plain language movement to be identified with a sort of 
grammar-Nazi approach.” 
Rebecca Carroll
Trading Spaces
“We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America,” President Obama said shortly after taking office in 2009. “It’s a commitment that begins at enlistment and it must never end.”
For many Army veterans and reservists, that commitment will be honored in the great outdoors. 
In August, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley signed an agreement to promote jobs in the nation’s parks and open spaces for soldiers awaiting deployment or returning home. 
The initiative is part of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, launched in 2010 to promote conservation and involve local communities in managing public lands. The agreement will allow Interior to leverage the talents of reservists and veterans for that mission. 
“Soldiers are well-trained in a variety of skills critical to maintaining not only the strength and agility of the United States Army, but also the strength and capabilities of DOI,” Salazar and Talley wrote in their agreement. 
Ally Rogers of the Army Reserve Employer Partnership Office says these skills can lead to a variety of jobs. “For as many unique jobs as the Department of the Interior has, the military has a soldier qualified to fill the vacancy,” she says. 
The program also will provide recreational and volunteer opportunities for soldiers and their families, including wounded warrior programs.
Eric Katz

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.