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John Klossner's Ink Tank


A government that's open about a closed process

John Klossner capitolboard

I recently witnessed an interesting experience involving my small Maine town and open government. For the third time in the past five years we find ourself in need of a town manager, who is chosen by the elected town council, who make their decision after interviewing all the applicants. In meeting with candidates for the current opening, our council had secret -- excuse me, "unpublic," (their term) -- interviews. In defending this, the head of the council played the media card -- he claimed that the last time they had interviewed candidates for the town manager's position, the interviewees had been identified and listed in a local newspaper report. This caused problems for some of the candidates with their current employers, who didn't know their employees were looking at other openings. The council head has been very open in defending the secret arguing that he was "defending the candidates from harassment."

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Posted by John Klossner on Jan 20, 2011 at 12:19 PM2 comments


The year in cartoons: Security certifications, insourcing and light bulb procurements

I find it interesting that, as a cartoonist who attempts to make a statement in a singular, efficient image, I tend to write way too much in my blog posts for FCW.com. Maybe I'm finding a release for all the suppressed thoughts I gather when thinking about the cartoons. Maybe -- also -- that is why the editor asked me to pick some of my favorite cartoons from 2010 but to include only a sentence or two with each one; he knows enough to put the reins on.

This is harder than it sounds for two reasons. On the one hand, there’s my previously mentioned tendency to go on and on. On the other hand, the better cartoons and images speak for themselves, making the descriptions either redundant or lessening some of the potency of the cartoons themselves. So I end up wanting to say a lot when few words are necessary to begin with.

Nevertheless, I'll take a stab at it. I resolve to do a better job at self-editing in 2011 (either that or to spend less time on YouTube, I forget which).

John Klossner

A proposal to require more people to get security certification ignited a debate about whether certification training programs have any resemblance to real-life demands.

John Klossner

USA.gov asked for suggestions to improve its website. Unfortunately, some of the suggestions needed improvement.

John Klossner

Federal security standards sometimes run a little bit behind the technology used in complex federal networks.

John Klossner

FCW.com (OK, I) ran a contest asking for the punch line to the question "how many feds does it take to change a light bulb?"

John Klossner

In recruiting top talent for federal agencies, sometimes the biggest obstacle is the current employees.

John Klossner

The Obama administration’s insourcing initiative was driven, in part, by a concern that contractors are too closely involved in work that is "inherently governmental." (On a side note, I wish I had drawn this better. A stronger drawing would have made the cartoon more powerful.)

John Klossner

An Army Reserve colonel was fired after writing a column criticizing the military's reliance on PowerPoint.

John Klossner

In the latest skirmish in the never-ending war between feds and contractors, DOD recently began enforcing rules requiring contractors to identify themselves in all communications.

John Klossner

One of the most commented-upon stories for FCW in 2010 was "Why agencies can't attract top talent?"

Posted by John Klossner on Dec 21, 2010 at 12:19 PM3 comments


Contractor IDs: A lesson from Harry Potter

I have avoided making a Harry Potter reference in this blog for some time now. One reason is that I don't want to give away the fact that I have been one of those adults who enjoyed – okay, was obsessed with – the Harry Potter stories. Another reason, in a similar vein, is that I feel that referencing a young adult's book would detract from any serious points I'm trying to make. And finally, I don't want anyone involved in the federal workforce world to think I am comparing them to a Death Eater.

But, as the saying goes, if not now, when? The first part of the last Harry Potter movie was just released, and realistically I have only several months left of Harry Potter references being relevant on a nationwide or even worldwide cultural level. After that I'll only be able to refer to Dumbledore, Dobby and Dementors with other embarrassed adults I meet in obscure chat rooms, or with 10-year-olds. And based on my experience so far, most 10-year-olds – unless they're related and it's a gift-giving occasion – don't want to have anything to do with me.

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Posted on Nov 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM1 comments


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