|Issue No. 4||Bi-weekly Newsletter from ITA Administration||February 20, 2002|
ITA Speakers' Series
The Speakers' Series invites in-house speakers to discuss current issues and their impact on the rest of ITA. The Series is designed to meet monthly and informally for an hour. Mark your calendar and join us on the following dates:
New Transit Benefit Program
Beginning April 1, 2002, the SmartBenefit Program will be offered to employees of the Department of Commerce (DOC) (headquarters only). The program allows Metrochek participants who use Metrorail only to receive their monthly Metrochek amount electronically rather than at the quarterly distribution held at DOC headquarters. The Department of Transportation (DOT) will download the monthly Metrochek amount to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) registered SmarTrip account. Participants will be able to receive their monthly Metrochek amount on their registered SmarTrip card at a Passes/Farecards machine at any Metro station. Employees who are currently using the SmarTrip card or would like to apply for the SmarTrip card, can pick up an application in Room 4001. Applications must be returned to Sharon Russell, ITA Transit Benefit Coordinator, by March 15, 2002 in order to start the SmartBenefits Program on April 1, 2002. Applications received between March 16 and June 15, 2002 will be processed for employees to start the SmartBenefits Program on July 11, 2002. If you have questions, please call Sharon Russell at (202)482-3267.
FY 2003 Budget
Secretary Evans is schedule to testify on the 2003 budget at House Appropriations (Commerce-Justice-State) Subcommittee hearing on February 27, 2002. The Senate Appropriations hearing for the Commerce Department is scheduled for March 13, 2002. For more information, contact Alan Zegas at (202)482-5739.
Current Connection Status with NBC
Last December the National Business Center (NBC) was forced by court order to suspend its Internet connection with all outside organizations. The majority of our offices use the Internet to connect to FlashPoint, Document Direct, and the Property System at NBC. As a result of the restrictions imposed by the court order, FCS headquarters and the domestic field offices have been unable to use these programs. The Office of Financial Management (OFM) has access to a leased line that connects directly to NBC without using the Internet. OFM in conjunction with the Office of Information Resources Management (OIRM) has succeeded in using this connection to re-link FCS headquarters and the domestic field offices with NBC. As of February 5, 2002, all FlashPoint, Document Direct, and Property System users are once again connected to the NBC data center. For more information contact Alfredo Hurtado at (202)482-5434.
Travel Manager is a commercial off the shelf (COTS) e-business system that prepares travel documents, automatically routes the documents for review, electronic approval, and payment, and selects documents for random audits. Travel Manager documents will be automatically interfaced with ITA's Federal Financial System (FFS), eliminating the need to send hard copies of travel orders and vouchers to NBC to be manually entered into the system, reducing processing time and the time needed to reimburse the traveler. The system will operate over ITA's existing Intranet, allowing users easy access to the system. ITA has chosen Gelco's Travel Manager to automate the paperwork process involved in the preparation of travel orders and travel vouchers. The Travel Manager Project team is currently setting up a pilot test program for selected sites. A phase implementation of the program is planned later this year. The first implementation phased of Travel Manager will be for headquarters and domestic field offices and the second phase will be for international posts. For more information contact Alfredo Hurtado at (202)482-5434.
ITA Comings and Goings - 12/03/01 - 01/18/02
Arrivals - WELCOME!
ADMIN - William G. Rogers III, Richard D. Ryan, Tamara V. Spriggs, IA - Aishe Allen, Marsha A. Brooks, Martin J. Classens, Patrick M. Connolly, David W. Cordell, Brian J. Ellman, Jennifer C. Moats, Michael D. Rollin, Andrew R. Smith, Orestes Theocharides, Sam Zengotitabengoa, MAC -Chris D. Christov, Bryan Lopp, Michelle Wright, TD - Brooks D. Altshuler, Jeanette Harrison, Andrew C. Moskowitz, Sheela Pewar, Brian W. Woodward, US - Mario W. Cardullo, Carol G. Petty, USFCS - Patrick Hughes, Robert L. Jones, John S. Larkin II, William N. Scaggs
ADMIN - Beth Jameson, MAC - William J. Desrochers, Angela L. Lester, TD - Rossel V. Advincula, Brian F. Fennessy, USFCS - Valerie Felice Castro
Question: Must a traveler use a contract carrier when traveling on official government travel?
Answer: Yes, a traveler must use a contract carrier when traveling on official government travel unless one or more of the following conditions exist(s) which must be noted in Block #14 of the travel order: (a) Space or a scheduled contract flight is not available in time to accomplish the Department's mission or the use of a contract carrier would require the traveler to incur unnecessary overnight lodging costs which would increase the total cost of the trip; b) The contractor's flight schedule is inconsistent with policies of the Department with regard to scheduling travel during normal working hours; or (c) A non-contract carrier offers a lower fare available to the general public, the use of which will result in a lower total trip cost to the Government, to include the combined costs of transportation, lodging, meals, and related expenses. If you have questions, call your travel contact or Sharon Russell at (202)482-3267.
Where Do I Find.... Federal Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) Program