An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners--Pass It On
More than 100 federal organizations exist to assist or regulate business. Figuring out
where to go for help or information is a challenge for a Fortune 500 company and seems an almost insurmountable task for a startup entrepreneur.
Not any more. The new U.S. Business Advisor, developed by the National Performance Review, the Department of Commerce, and the Small Business Administration in cooperation with many federal agencies, is a one-stop
electronic link between government and business. The President unveiled the beginning
of the new service at the White House Conference on Small Business in June. You can find it on the World Wide Web at http://www.business.gov. In July the Business Advisor had 70,000 customers and will probably have 80,000 in August, according to John Huang, who is leading the initiative for NPR.
Task Force Is Working on Design, Content and Technology
Currently the service is in a pilot test phase focusing on regulatory compliance, but the
President created a task force to work with business customers to develop the final design, contents, and services and report back by December 15. The task force is headed by Deputy Commerce Secretary David Barram and co-chaired by SBA Administrator Philip Lader. The task force is getting advice from its customers through business user groups supported by Yale University, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the White House Conference on Small Business. The task force has also contacted America
Online, CompuServe, Microsoft, Netscape, IBM, AT&T, and others to get ideas on the technology that the Business Advisor uses.
What Can Your Agency Offer?
The task force also needs to know what business services your agency is planning to put online and how you are going to do it. It also needs to know your highest volume business transactions, even if you have no current plans to put these online. If you can supply this information, contact John Huang at NPR, by e-mail at email@example.com or phone, (202) 632-0150, ext. 174.
REINVENTION ROUNDTABLE IS AVAILABLE
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address to the Editor by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org or fax, (202) 632-0390.
VICE PRESIDENT: QUALITY MANAGEMENT IS OFFICIAL
Vice President Gore told participants of the Eighth Annual National Conference on Federal Quality on August 2 "quality management is the official policy of the United States government and don't you ever forget it."
Calling quality management practitioners the "original reinventors" of government, the
Vice President said, "One of the very first things that President Clinton did after being
sworn in as president was to kick off the campaign to reinvent government, to bring the
quality revolution that had swept American business into every part of the federal
The Vice President presented awards to the 10 winners and finalists in the President's
Quality Awards Program. (See Reinvention Express, July 5, 1995, for recipients.)
FEDERAL QUALITY INSTITUTE'S RESPONSIBILITIES ARE
The Office of Personnel Management has announced that the Federal Quality Institute
will go out of business on September 30. OPM's Office of Executive Resources will take over FQI's principal responsibilities, including the President's Quality Award Program and the Annual
National Conference on Federal Quality. The educational component will be handled by OPM's Federal Executive Institute. FQI's consultants--primarily senior executives on loan from agencies all over government--will work independently with agency leaders on the next phase of reinventing government. For information about OPM, call Mike Orenstein at (202) 606-1800. For information about the consultants, call Tina Sung or Steve Klink at FQI, (202) 376-3747.
FEDERAL FURLOUGHS ARE A POSSIBILITY
Most federal employees are aware of the possibility of furloughs for all except
"essential" workers in the event of a lapse of appropriated monies to pay salaries at the
beginning of the fiscal year on October 1. In the past, continuing resolutions by Congress
have gotten us through such crunches. The few furloughs have been short and employees have been paid for time off.
There is also the possibility a few weeks later of running up against the statutory debt
ceiling limit, an event that would not only trigger furloughs but also create a national
economic crisis. No one knows what will happen as Congress and the Administration grapple with these issues. Agencies will present plans for dealing with these emergencies to the Office of Management and Budget by Sept. 5.
GSA'S ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION IN DENVER SETS UP SEMINARS ON UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
The General Services Administration's Rocky Mountain Region in Denver found that
federal employees would be entitled to unemployment benefits in the region's six
states in case of a government shutdown. In these states, there is a 7 day waiting period
from the date of application. Federal employees would need to apply on the day the furlough begins. GSA has scheduled six unemployment seminars for groups in Denver and has e-mailed information to all GSA employees in the region. GSA's central office has begun a similar effort nationwide.
Presumably, all states offer unemployment counseling and would have similar rules. Paula Bridgham, Assistant for Field Operations at OPM, urges Federal Executive Boards to facilitate cross-agency counseling. Denver FEB is mailing out information to Denver agencies to tell them how they can obtain services. For more information on GSA activities, call GSA Regional Counsel Jack Hewins at (303) 236-7352.
For more information, contact Pat Wood or Steve Earle, National Performance Review, 750-17th St., NW, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 632-0150; FAX: (202) 632-0390; email: