"After his confirmation as Interior secretary, Ken Salazar was dismayed at his inability to send an e-mail to all of his 67,000 employees, or to hear anything back from them.
"It was very frustrating," Salazar said Tuesday. "Our whole information system was operating in the dark ages of technology."
Last week, after the information technology department conquered multiple e-mail server and other problems, Salazar sent his first all-hands e-mail, announcing a suggestion box to which employees can send him ideas. "It's an important first step in using information technology," he said.
For years, the Department of Interior has lagged behind other federal agencies in the technology realm. Shoddy computer security has persisted for years and led a federal judge several times to order the department to disconnect from the Internet.
Attempting to put a new face on Interior, Salazar launched the department's YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter accounts.
The YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/USInterior
, features video produced by the Interior and will also include "highlight" videos produced by various bureaus.
Salazar, following in the footsteps of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, also has his own Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SecretarySalazar
He is already hearing from citizens complaining about a range of issues, from pesticides in national parks to corruption on Indian reservations, as well as from one Facebook user doubtful that Salazar has anything to do with the postings. "You all are killing me . . . the Secretary isn't reading or writing anything on his FB page . . . it's probably some GS-4 admin type," Wayne Belcher wrote last week."
Get the Story:
Out of the Dark Ages
(The Washington Post 9/30)
OIG Report "Evaluation of Information Technology