Hiring, security on DOT agenda

Hiring, security on DOT agenda

The Transportation Department, like other federal agencies, is tackling the challenges of recruiting and retaining information technology workers.

'There is no question that the way that we hire IT workers or workers within the federal government, period, is arcane,' Transportation chief information officer George Molaski said. 'It needs to be drastically reformed.'

Pay scales need to be revamped and officials must find incentives to entice IT workers, he said. But that is in the future.

'We are not doing a lot, to be real frank,' Molaski said of the department's efforts to bring new technology workers onboard. 'What we are doing right now is really taking a look at work force planning and seeing how those needs are being fulfilled across the board.'

'We need to set up a program where we would pay for people's education or forgive student loans in exchange for government service,' he said.

• Transportation received an incomplete security grade from Congress recently because no audits had been done using the criteria a House subcommittee used in the grading process.

Based on a score drawn from a questionnaire developed by the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, Transportation received an 86 [GCN, Sept. 25, Page 1]. The subcommittee deducted 14 points based on existing audit reports, giving DOT a theoretical C.

Security training is an everyday event, Molaski said.

'We are looking at doing snippets of training, reminders that people see when they sign on,' he said. 'And we are making sure that everyone goes through security training once a year or they get disconnected from the net.'

'Security training across the board is becoming more important as we move to an electronic government,' he said.

Some workers may think they can relax, because the department hasn't had problems to date, Molaski said.

'We have to be educating people that the boogeyman is out there, that we are getting attacked on a daily basis and that there are other countries building cyberwarfare,' he said.

• Federal CIOs' responsibility in directing solid IT investments is vital in meeting federal standards for financial management, Molaski said.

Government needs to enforce uniform standards, he said.

'Financial management standards is pretty much having the data and making sure the financial data that you have is in the right bucket,' he said. 'Then you have supporting documentation to back up whatever is in that bucket.'

At Transportation, the CIO and chief financial officer work together, he said.

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