hmmm, one thing we could really use is some tests. Maybe you could write some simple capybara/rspec or equivalent integration tests for the site, just to make sure that its parts are functioning correctly?
It's more like you want a linter with custom rules for how you think a page should look. Actually, it's impressive to create the entire site with only content and simple layout. It's interesting there isn't a better way to manage and edit all that content...
508 Compliance is another interesting point. Open source scanner to assess if a page complies? It's another linter, it has to look at the html. I don't know much about 508 but I'm going to say from a quick look at your <html> that it's as clean as you could possibly hope for, and I would expect that latest screen reading tools would be able to navigate it. If that's not the case it says more about the particular reading tool than the website.
The facility locator! That was interesting, the default state is everything selected, please flip it to everything deselected. I haven't tried it out more because it overloaded ;-)
Benefits comparison tool also looks like it has a pretty big data set behind it, that was probably cool to develop.
I wouldn't say it's a philosophical difference. We're definitely tackling the problem in two different ways, but that's not because either group thinks the other is wrong, it's because this is a big problem that requires attacking it from many angles.
Why do you put it that way? Everyone serving in military takes home a paycheck, but that doesn't make them mercinaries.
The top tech talent that we aim to attract to USDS often can make far more than these salaries staying in the private sector, so appealing to a sense of civic duty and offering short-term engagements is what we have to do to recruit.
Honestly, that's much better than I was expecting. Two years working to improve our shitty government systems in exchange for a quarter of a million? Sounds like a fair short-term deal, even if higher comp is available elsewhere...
The actually-doing-tech-work GS levels (GS-10 to GS-13), by comparison, are 50-60k. That is where government pay is still the big impediment.
$116k/yr for your entire mid/late career would also suck (compared to 200-400k in industry), but for <2 years, I can't see that alone being a huge issue, unless you have kids in college, are paying for a mortgage elsewhere, etc.