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producing some new financial systems. This is a tremendous undertaking. You and your team deserve a great deal of credit for it.
When you undertake a job of this magnitude you always run into some glitches, and the press has complained about slowness in paying vouchers. I want to give you the opportunity to respond to that and tell us where we are.
Mr. Sisco. I will make just a brief comment, and then I would like Tim to address it also. There is no question that within the Office of the Secretary and the Disbursing Office we got behind in the payment of bills, especially during the latter part of the year when we were bringing on the new system.
The people who were running the existing system were helping to design the future system and implement the future system, had the expertise to do that, and had to do that, so they were on overload and we did get behind, and we apologize to the individual offices where that occurred.
To Tim and his team's credit, that was short-lived, and we are now paying our bills for the Senate Member offices and committees within 14 days.
I would say this, in the spirit of making sure we all get bills paid on time, that we can pay them within 14 days from the time that they reach the Disbursing Office. We have sent out word to the individual offices and committees, so that there not be any undue delay from the time that the vendor sends them the bill, maybe at the State office, to the time that it makes it to the office up here, and then comes to the Disbursing Office. We have a small window of opportunity to pay those within, say, a 30-day cycle, so we do ask everyone's cooperation on that.
Mr. WINEMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yes, we did have some difficulties in the fall in implementing the new system. Not only was it a new system, warranted to be year 2000 compliant, and replacing a significant number of systems that were not, but we changed all of the accounting processes and classifications as we converted to the standard Government general ledger and the standard OMB classification expense categories, and moved from a cash-based accounting to an obligation and accrual basis.
The training, the acceptance testing, and the tight schedule we were on were because we felt it extremely important to implement at the beginning of fiscal year 1999. We knew with the magnitude of implementing the new system and the other accounting changes that there would probably be some difficulties, and we wanted to address those now at the beginning of this fiscal year, as opposed to having them wait until fiscal year 2000 with a very small window.
As a result, we did get behind. Every accounting transaction had to be rewritten, and with some of them there were difficulties that we had to work through. There were some significant system performance problems as we worked with the system longer and put more data into the system, and we did cause some hardship to Member staff and some vendors.
I am pleased to say we have stabilized on the system performance side of the issues, and we have addressed most all the transaction-level accounting transactions that needed to be done in order for us to pay all the bills.
As the Secretary has testified, we have been paying bills within 14 days of the date received in the Disbursing Office since the beginning of February, and the majority of those are even being done within 7 calendar days. This has had a positive ripple effect throughout the Senate offices. They are very much aware that their bills are getting paid in a much more timely fashion, and I think that to the extent that they can they are trying to get them in to us maybe a little bit earlier than they might have in the past.
Our peak performance in our previous system was probably 3 to 4 weeks in paying bills, and not consistent. Now we are consistently paying the bills within the 14 days. That has been our mandate and our goal to do, so I am pleased to report that.
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY BUDGET
Senator BENNETT. Thank you very much. We appreciate the fact that you have only the COLA increase. Are you sure you can do the job with no additional funds?
Mr. Sisco. Yes.
Mr. Sisco. I will amplify on that if you would like. We are very, very comfortable that we can continue to provide services to the Senators and the staffs and compensate our employees fairly and on a merit basis for a job well done.
Senator BENNETT. Are FMIS and LIS both on budget and on time?
Mr. Sisco. They both are. We have aggressive plans to complete them. We have about $3.4 million in unused funds that are available on LIS and about $1.6 million on FMIS, and so I am convinced, and all the people who advise me and who are doing this, both inside and the outside contractor, believe they can do it within budget, and I believe we are on time.
We have done a tremendous amount of work in the last year, especially since last May or so, but throughout the 2 years that I have been here, I think the staff of the Secretary's Office, in particular the Disbursing Office with FMIS and the legislative staff with LIS, have done tremendous jobs with both of these systems that have to do with Y2K issues and the technology issues in the Senate.
And I also compliment the Sergeant at Arms and the staff in that office for the cooperation that we are getting. We are really working in a partnership, and in teamwork to turn the lemon into lemonade by using Y2K to update from a technological standpoint all the systems in the Senate.
But that is the long answer. The short answer is yes, I think we can do it not only from an operational standpoint, but also from a capital standpoint.
ADDITIONAL COMMITTEE QUESTION Senator BENNETT. Very good. Thank you very much. We appreciate you being here, and we appreciate all that you do.
Mr. Sisco. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The following question was not asked at the hearing, but was submitted to the Office for response subsequent to the hearing:)
ADDITIONAL COMMITTEE QUESTION Question. The Committee commends the Office of the Secretary of the Senate for saving $51,230 from the Congressional Printing and Binding fund by making available on line instead of printing bills "received from the House. The conference report accompanying the Legislative Branch Fiscal Year 1999 Appropriations Act requested the Secretary of the Senate to work with the Clerk of the House and the Public Printer to evaluate ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of printing Congressional documents and to make appropriate recommendations. What is the status of that effort?
Answer. The Office of the Secretary has worked closely with the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Public Printer to develop a Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) for the Senate and House of Representatives. SGML will transmit legislative documents to the Government Printing Office (GPO) in an electronic form ready for printing, with little need for manual processing. By replacing tasks that GPO must now perform manually, SGML will produce significant cost savings in congressional printing.
The most recent report of the status of SGML within Congress is found in “Document Management System Status Report and Plan," a report submitted on March 15, 1999, by the Clerk to the Committee on House Administration.
Pursuant to the directive of the fiscal year 1999 Legislative Branch conferees, the Office of the Secretary assisted the Clerk in gathering information needed to prepare this report.
In brief, SGML is a proven technology, first developed in the 1980's and in widespread use in government and industry since the early 1990's. By use of a series of electronic codes, SGML takes raw text-such as the text of a bill or a committee report and electronically formats that text for further use, whether amending, publishing, distributing, or archiving. Almost all manual functions are eliminated.
The SGML Coordinating Committee, which sets overall policy direction, consists of staff from the Offices of the Secretary and Clerk and the Senate Rules and Administration and House Administration Committees. Until the end of 1998, it was led by staff of the Joint Committee on Printing. The SGML Technical Committee reports to the Coordinating Committee and focuses on the technical efforts. The Technical Committee
includes staff from the Secretary, Clerk, and GPO, as well as technical staff from the Senate Computer Center and their House counterparts, and staff of other agencies including the Library of Congress and the National Archives. The Office of the Secretary is currently recruiting an SGML professional to serve on both the Coordinating and Technical Committees and otherwise give professional direction to the SGML effort in the Senate.
At this time, the Technical Committee is at work on Document Type Definitions (DTD) which are foundational to applying SGML to bills, resolutions, and amendments. However, as the first production-level SGML project, the Senate and House jointly have issued the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: 1774 to present. This effort, now available at http://bioguide.congress.gov, was selected for a "trial run” because the information is structured but not overly complex, and because it is highly useful to members, staff, and the public. GPO used this SGML product to develop the capability to produce a typeset version of the Biographical Directory, and the approach taken by GPO here will enable typesetting of future SGML documents.
Within the Senate, the Legislative Information System (LIS) is reducing and will continue to reduce printing costs. As Senators and staff gain greater familiarity with the capabilities of LIS to access and print the text of bills and other legislative materials from their desktop computers, demand for the GPO-printed versions of the materials declines. On-line availability of bills and reports, together with Docutech, which is a highly cost-effective means for the Document Room to print additional copies of bills and reports without reordering from GPO, has allowed the Office of the Secretary to reduce Senate printing orders significantly. Increasingly in the future, LIS will serve to control Senate printing costs through better management of printing orders, and reduced associated costs such as storage and distribution.
OFFICE OF THE SERGEANT AT ARMS AND DOORKEEPER
STATEMENT OF JAMES W. ZIGLAR, SERGEANT AT ARMS AND DOOR
LORETTA SYMMS, DEPUTY SERGEANT AT ARMS
Senator BENNETT. Thank you. Our next witness is Hon. Jim Ziglar, Senate Sergeant at Arms. We recognize and welcome the Hon. James Ziglar, accompanied by Loretta Symms, who is wellknown to the committee.
This is your first appearance officially as the Sergeant at Arms before the committee, and we are delighted to have you here. We hear good things coming out of your office, and for the record, your biography will be placed in the committee record so that we have it as a part of the institutional memory of the committee.
[The information follows:]
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF JAMES W. ZIGLAR James W. Ziglar was elected the 35th Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate on October 15, 1998. He serves as chief protocol officer and law enforcement officer of the United States Senate, and as principal administrative officer for most support services provided to Senators and their staffs.
Prior to his election, Mr. Ziglar was a Managing Director of PaineWebber Incorporated in the firm's Municipal Securities Group. He was a member of the PaineWebber Operating Committee, the Municipal Securities Group Executive Committee and served as Chairman of the Municipal Securities Group Operating Committee. Mr. Ziglar had management responsibility for the National Infrastructure Finance Group and the West Coast General Markets Group.
Mr. Ziglar has a total of 23 years of experience in the public finance industry as an investment banker and lawyer. In addition to his experience in the private sector, Mr. Ziglar has worked in various capacities in the federal government. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science (1987–1988), in which capacity he directed the operations of the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Mines. Earlier, Mr. Ziglar served variously as an aide to United States Senator James O. Eastland (1964–1971), as a legislative and public affairs officer at the U.S. Department of Justice (1971–1972), and as a Law Clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun (1972 Term).
Mr. Ziglar began his career as a lawyer in 1973 and joined the investment banking industry in 1980. During his career, Mr. Ziglar has worked as an associate at the New York law firm of Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon (1973–1977), a partner at the Phoenix law firm of O'Connor, Cavanagh, Anderson, Westover, Killingsworth & Beshears (1977–1980), a Senior Vice President of Dillon, Read & Co. Inc. (1980–1984), a Managing Director of Paine Webber Incorporated (1984 1987, 1990–1998), and a Managing Director of Drexel Burnham Lambert Incorporated (1989).
Mr. Ziglar received his Bachelor of Arts and his Juris Doctor degrees from George Washington University. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Water Foundation, the American Energy Assurance Council, the National