Monthly Archives: January, 2011

Another spending reduction plan coming out tomorrow

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Cutting federal spending—at least on paper—is fast becoming Washington’s newest growth industry. Get ready for the latest contribution tomorrow when eight senators release a bill to reduce spending as a percentage of the nation’s gross domestic product. Known as the Commitment to American Prosperity Act (aka, the “CAP Act”), the measure would set a 10-year “glide path” to cap all spending—apparently including funding for popular entitlement programs like Medicare—from the current 24.7 percent of GDP to what a news release calls “the historical level” of 20.6 percent. The lead sponsors are Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. Sen.…

Union: Postal Service drops subcontracting proposal

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The U.S. Postal Service has shelved a proposal that “would have expanded its ability to subcontract rural routes to contract delivery service,” according to an announcement this week by the National Rural Letters Carriers’ Association. The decision “came after extensive discussions” between the NRLCA and Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, as well as other postal officials, according to the release on the union’s web site. “We have tabled the issue while we are in the process of resolving a labor contract,” Postal Service spokesman Mark Saunders said via email, when asked for confirmation of the union’s claim. Although Donahoe recently acknowledged…

Fed rights at risk in WikiLeaks backlash, groups say

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Just as agencies are wrapping up security reviews launched after the latest WikiLeaks breach, a coalition of open government groups is warning of possible consequences for federal employee rights. Although improving safeguards for classified information is laudable, “we urge you not to craft policies that encourage agencies to unduly restrict free speech, or otherwise distract agencies from actually improving information security,” representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and eight other organizations wrote Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew in a letter dated Friday. Ordered by Lew early this month and due to be finished Jan. 28, the…

Multi-billion dollar DHS TIP contract nears award phase

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Consolidating data centers on the Department of Homeland Security’s St. Elizabeths campus won’t be a problem; there are none. There will, however, be a centralized location for servers in the campus’ information technology operations center, DHS official Mark Hamilton said during an industry day Thursday. Two off-campus data centers, DHS 1 and 2, will house the data. The General Services Administration hosted the event to field questions about the $2.63 billion contract to install, test and operate a secure network throughout the future DHS headquarters.  Here are some other take-aways from the event:   – Federal employees and contractors are really going to use HSPD12 identification cards to access…

Democrat questions Obama administration openness

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Interesting news on the government transparency front this week, with a Democratic congressman complaining that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is unjustifiably redacting (i.e., censoring) some records related to the BP oil spill response. “I believe NOAA’s redactions violate the spirit and principle of the accountability you promised,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., wrote President Obama on Tuesday. “These redactions are unacceptable and overreaching.” Along with the letter posted on his official web site, Grijalva, who chaired a House natural resources subcommittee last year, added dozens of documents, including examples of NOAA records completely or partially blacked out, and email…

Federal Times on Federal News Radio today

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Federal Times Editor Steve Watkins and Senior Writer Sean Reilly will discuss the many proposals out there to cut federal employee jobs, pay and benefits on Federal News Radio’s “Your Turn With Mike Causey” show today at 10 a.m. on 1500 AM in Washington. Podcasts of the show will be available at federalnewsradio.com. Call in to Mike’s show and let us know what you think of these proposals or on what you think of President Obama’s proposal, announced in his State of the Union speech, to cut spending and reorganize federal agencies.

Update: WUSA's report on federal building lights misses the mark

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So some of you readers might have seen a WUSA report in the D.C. area that took aim at federal workers leaving the lights on. Well, Andrea McCarren had noted that in many federal office buildings, the lights were being left on at night, which costs taxpayer dollars. So she filed a report on how much each agency pays in energy costs for each month and came away with some striking figures. The video package seems to have everything: Taxpayer dollars being wasted, federal employees behaving badly and federal agencies paying through the nose for electricity because they leave their…

Remember to turn out the lights!

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WUSA in Washington, D.C. has put together a report that criticizes various federal agency headquarters for failing to turn off their lights after working hours. To put an even greater emphasis on it, they show utility costs that range all the way up to more than $1 million dollars for the Labor Department. [HTML1] WUSA does not put the full documents online, but I am looking into the numbers a bit deeper to see if there is more to this story than meets the eye.

APWU chief seeking change in direction

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Now here’s something you don’t hear every day from a leading organized labor figure:  “We must shift the focus of the union away from acting as a grievance machine,” American Postal Workers Union President Cliff Guffey says today in a release on the organization’s web site. “Leaders at all levels of the organization must get more involved in legislative activities and other union efforts.” If labor-management relations at the U.S. Postal Service will likely never resemble a group hug, there’s an obvious reason for the APWU to re-prioritize: The world’s leading mail carrier is at risk of going broke and…

GSA launches how-to website for feds

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In case you missed it, the General Services Administration launched a new website for feds to share ideas, challenges and best practices. The ultimate goal of HowTo.gov is to provide resources that will improve customer service across the federal government. The site replaced Webcontent.gov as the online hub for information about technology solutions, social media and web content. There is also a page devoted to cloud computing.

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