More for the Money

 

Federal employees have had to endure a lot in the past couple of years: a pay freeze, looming benefits cuts, and steep budget and workforce reductions that could kick in starting at the beginning of 2013. As if that weren’t enough, public servants got another black eye in April with the revelations of excessive partying and questionable contracting practices in connection with a 2010 conference held by the Western regional offices of the General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service. 

Before that scandal unfolded, few Americans were aware of what GSA does, much less PBS. Now they have an image burned into their minds: feds gone wild, partying in Las Vegas at catered affairs while being entertained by clowns and mind readers. And all of this, members of Congress haughtily pointed out, took place inside an agency whose job it is to help keep federal spending under control by negotiating low prices for everything from major information technology systems to pencils. But here’s the thing: GSA employees across the agency were doing exactly that, and continued to do it while some of their colleagues justifiably took it on the chin for exercising poor judgment. 

It is the former group of public servants we had in mind when we developed the Excellence in Government conference, the first session of which for 2012 takes place at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington on May 7. Excellence in Government is fundamentally the antithesis of the infamous GSA conference: a gathering designed for federal leaders of today and tomorrow to share ideas and practices for making government work better and cost less. 

The theme of our spring conference (we’ll hold another daylong event in September) is Innovation: More Mission for the Money. That’s certainly the imperative in government these days, as the Office of Management and Budget’s Shelley Metzenbaum told Excellence in Government attendees last fall. 

Our scheduled keynoters promise to bring a wealth of ideas and creative thinking. They include Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman, featured on last month’s Government Executive cover; Danny Werfel, who holds the management portfolio at OMB; Beth McGrath, deputy chief management officer at the Defense Department; and Stephen Shapiro, author of Best Practices Are Stupid (Portfolio, 2011). Throughout the day, attendees will have the opportunity to attend sessions in three tracks: Technology, Human Capital and Management, and Performance and Mission Efficiency. 

I’m excited about one discussion I’ll be privileged to lead, involving a set of emerging leaders in federal agencies:

  • Brandon Friedman, director of online communications at the Veterans Affairs Department, who is featured in this  issue’s Thinking Ahead.
  • Erica Navarro, director of strategic planning and performance management at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
  • Bridget Roddy, Virtual Student Foreign Service Program manager at the State Department.
  • Jaqi Ross, associate director of the Recruitment Office at the IRS.
  • Dave Uejio, lead for talent acquisition at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

They’ll describe their reasons for joining government and maintaining their commitment to public service, and share their thoughts on what agencies need to do better to attract, retain and develop the next generation of leaders. With the specter of a sequester of agency funds, we think it’s more important than ever that federal officials hear from key leaders, and learn from one another, about how to wring the most out of every taxpayer dollar.

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

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

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

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