Some Defense Department classification procedures contributed to persistent misclassification of documents, a recently released Sept. 30 DoD inspector general report (.pdf) says. The IG found that 70 percent of the 220 documents reviewed had classification discrepancies and 23 of the documents were misclassified or over-classified, the report says.
LPTA contracts gaining favor among agencies, but give vendors less incentive to innovate, study says
Lowest price technically acceptable procurements have been gaining favor among agencies, but that gives vendors less incentive to be innovative if the approach costs more, a an Oct. 24 Market Connections and Centurion Research study says. Under LPTA, agencies focus more on price than on past performance as long as the vendor meets minimal job requirements.
Fiscal 2014 budget negotiations start this week and there are no signs of a major bargain to end the budget stalemate. "If we focus on some big, grand bargain then we're going to focus on our differences, and both sides are going to require that the other side compromises some core principle and then we'll get nothing done," Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Budget Committee, said, the AP reports.
The majority of Americans think the government shutdown damaged the morale of federal workers, an Oct. 25 Washington Post-ABC poll says. About 82 percent said the shutdown brought down federal employee morale and when asked how much damage the shutdown did, 49 percent said it did serious damage, the poll says. About 33 percent said the shutdown did damage, but not serious damage.
Top military officials told a House panel Wednesday that continued sequestration would make it impossible to plan for new acquisitions, and that maintenance will have to be differed on the current military fleet. If the mandatory budget cuts continue, the Air Force would have to delay purchasing four to five F-35 joint strike fighters from its requested amount of 19, Principal Deputy Assistant Air Force Secretary William LaPlante told the House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on tactical air and land forces in an Oct. 23 hearing.
Town halls and public meetings intended to provide the public with access to government provide minimal interaction, no discussion outside the scope of what's on an agenda and result in very few answers for citizens, said Lisa Blomgren Amsler, a public service professor at Indiana University.
General Services Administration could save money by owning rather than leasing high value spaces, but the agency hasn't provided the evaluations necessary to justify buying property, a recently released Sept. 19 Government Accountability Office report says.
Contractors working for the Internal Revenue Service owed $5.4 million in delinquent federal taxes, a recently released Aug. 30 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report says. As of June 14, 2012, about 5 percent of IRS contractor employees, or 691 out of 13,591, owed back taxes and 352 of those that owed taxes did not have a payment plan to resolve their tax debt, the report (.pdf) says.
Federal workers in same sex marriages can now benefit from family and medical leave, an Oct. 21 Office of Personnel Management memo says. The change comes as a result of the Supreme Court overturning a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act on June 26. OPM has been rolling out the changes to benefits including insurance and federal survivor benefits.
In September, the federal workforce lost 6,000 jobs leaving the government with 2,723,000 employees, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows. In August, the federal workforce numbers came in at 2,729,000 and back in July, they totaled 2,736,000, the statistics (.pdf) show.
The 16 day government shutdown impacted more than just furloughed workers and the country's economy; it also backlogged government operations including major reports from agencies like the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Census Bureau sent out a revised calendar of report Oct. 21 showing several delayed reports. The reports, which map 12 leading economic indicators, were delayed between one week and 18 days.
Due to the recent government shutdown, the 2014 tax filing season will begin one or two weeks later than scheduled, the Internal Revenue Service announced Oct. 22. The April 15 deadline to file tax returns will not change, because the tax code sets the deadline. Even so, anyone can request a six month extension.
The report criticizes poor oversight by DOE of conference and meal costs. Officials didn't require detailed cost esimates for conferences, and meals and refreshments "were justified as being an inseparable part of planned events," auditors say.
The Internal Revenue Service made no significant improvements to curbing improper payments of refundable tax credit for low income families and hasn't established improper payment reduction targets, a recently released Aug. 28 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report says.
Only 19 percent of American adults say they trust the government to do what is right most of the time or always, nearly setting a new record low, according to a Pew Research Center poll.
Federal employees who were furloughed due to the government shutdown are entitled to receive back pay under the continuing resolution that funded the government through mid-January. Thousands of furloughed federal employees also claimed unemployment benefits during the shutdown.
The Senate confirmed Beth Cobert Oct. 16 as the new deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.
Though the Postal Service reduced hours in fiscal 2012, USPS still used over 14 million work hours more than necessary to process mail volume, A Sept. 26 USPS inspector general report says. By reducing those hours, USPS could cut costs of about $628 million, a Sept. 26 USPS inspector general report says.
As developers scramble to fix problems with healthcare.gov, the federal website for healthcare insurance exchanges, President Obama vowed to improve the website. He also said the product was good, even if the delivery system was flawed.
Contractors and subcontractors can no longer receive reimbursement from the government for the costs of defending themselves against whistle-blower lawsuits deemed legitimate. The fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act called for the change.