Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Dan McGlynn Makes the Headlines, or Foodies Don't Read

Obama Foodorama tears USDA up, mentioning poor Dan by name (disclosure: a former co-worker). Seems Monday was the last day for comments on the interim payment limitation regulations, Dan's name was on the document to receive comments (he's acting division chief until the Dems get their people in place), he was on vacation Thursday and Friday, and his mailbox got full.

The anger was understandable (at least, if one assumes the comments would be important in any decisions. That's not an assumption I would make, however.)

The Foodorama outburst is interesting as just another instance of the old IT rule: "When in doubt, read the [manual] instructions." The regulations.gov posting of the interim rule says: "You may submit comments by any of the following methods: E-mail: Dan.McGlynn@wdc.usda.gov. Fax: (202) 690-2130. Mail: Dan McGlynn, Acting Director, Production, Emergencies and Compliance Division, FSA, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Stop 0517, Room 4754, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-0517. Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver comments to the above address. Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments [emphasis added].

So it was possible for people to submit their comments, even though FSA's IT people didn't anticipate the volume of comments coming to Dan's inbox. I retain my dark suspicions of the regulations.gov website and process--I suspect it was a Bush admin add-on which never got integrated into the regulations process in the agencies, as in FSA. (Just as the Obama admin will have some ideas which get added on and not integrated into the bureaucratic process.)


Anonymous said...

80MB Outlook Mailbox limit (Including deleted, sent, etc.)in the field, either 100 or 120MB limit in WDC.

Bill Harshaw said...

So the limit is a management decision? 100MB is a lot of messages. Of course, when I worked I kept a lot of old messages in my inbox. We don't know whether Dan had a mostly empty inbox or a mostly full one. :-)

Of course, Hotmail provides 1gig, I think, unless they've upped it.

IMO the bigger point is that we haven't reengineered the regulation process adequately--using an email address for comments isn't the right way to go, it's a simple-minded change from using snail mail.

Anonymous said...

Yes, management from OCIO, they drive the process since they own the computers and network.