Staffing Woes and the Open Government Group Project
BY Nancy Scola | Friday, March 13 2009
Staffing headaches for the administration are adding a bit of a wrinkle to the Open Government Directive that Obama put in an order for on his first full day in office. Obama called for a government-wide operating plan on transparency, participation, and collaboration to be issued in 120 days. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that date creep hit a government project, but as it's written that's May 21. It's a fairly tight schedule, and even more so when there aren't all that many hands on desk. The "Chief Technology Officer" was given by Obama the lead in writing the directive. Of course, she or he has yet to be named, and talk has even died down considerably over possible candidates. Speculation is that the eventual CTO will be housed in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Obama's pick for OSTP director, John Holdren, has seen his nomination held up over some Senate bickering. There's some forward-moving news on that front, though. Holdren's nomination passed out of committee yesterday, and looks headed for confirmation on the Senate floor. Ultimate issuance of the directive is meant to come from OMB. As OMB e-government administrator, Vivek Kundra will likely have a hand in crafting the order -- but he's gone on leave in light of a procurement investigation in his old DC CTO office.
Headaches, no doubt. But the slack has been picked up, at seems, by Beth Noveck, who has been working from inside OSTP to reach out to advocates and stakeholders inside and outside government to get a working draft together.