CIOs faulted for slow crawl toward telework

Source: CDW-G Federal Telework Report

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) wants to fine agencies that do not offer eligible employees the opportunity to telework.

J. Adam Fenster

Only about 100,000 of the 750,000 eligible federal employees telework at least one day a week, and General Services Administration deputy administrator David Bibb says agency CIOs are partly to blame.

Not enough IT managers are aware of the role they must play to support telework, Bibb said late last month at a lunch in Washington sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council of Fairfax, Va.
Management resistance also has hampered federal telework efforts, he said.

A recent study of agency telework programs by CDW Government Inc. supports Bibb's assertions. The Vernon Hills, Ill., company surveyed 287 federal workers and found most employees still are unaware of their agencies' telework policies and programs.

Most employees said they would telework if given the opportunity, but only 36 percent have been given the chance.

A majority of IT workers surveyed did not know if their agency had a telework support plan or a documented telework technical package.

The departments of Commerce, Justice and State, the Small Business Administration and some small agencies are facing a $5 million penalty each if they do not offer all eligible employees the ability to telework by March.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) added the fine to those agencies' spending bill.

Wolf said he would ask the Government Accountability Office to conduct a governmentwide study in the fall on agency telework progress.

'We also have the option of asking Congress to increase the fine to $10 million or $15 million or even $20 million,' Wolf said. 'I don't think we would have any problem doing that. We've tried the carrot, and now it is time for the stick.'

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