Another management discrimination and favoritism investigation will be launched against the Transportation Security Administration, this time by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.In a Jan. 25 letter (.pdf), the EEOC said it has decided to conduct its own investigation after the Homeland Security Department auditors found widespread favoritism in hiring and promotion practices as well as a failure to address EEO complaints.
Pell Grants should be entitlements, the New America Foundation says in a new report that proposes a budget-neutral overhaul of federal student aid. As entitlements, the grants would disburse automatically according to a permanently funded formula, and would thus avoid the uncertainty of the annual appropriations process.
Human capital officers at the Office of Personnel Management will now work on pilot programs that address governmentwide Obama administration priorities, while policy offices assume the role of providing other agencies with guidance on HR policy and its application.
The federal prison system faces an unprecedented growth in inmate population and Congress has to decide if the growth is sustainable or if it needs to change federal criminal justice policy to reduce the population while maintaining public safety, says the Congressional Research Service. The number of inmates under the Bureau of Prison's jurisdiction has increased 790 percent from roughly 25,000 in fiscal 1980 to nearly 219,000.
Agencies should focus on eliminating unnecessary functions and address poor employee performance to show they properly use funds because budgets may soon decrease, says the Merit Systems Protection Board. When addressing poor performance, MSPB first recommends employee training and development.
Either understating or overstating sequestration's effects on the military could lead to even deeper budget cuts, panelists at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said Jan. 28.
Interagency contract use at the Defense Department is inconsistent because the department has not made updates required by a new procurement framework for such contract vehicles, says the Government Accountability Office.
Foreign policy and foreign relations efforts conducted by the State Department often rely on new state and local elected officials from the United States and other countries, says Reta Jo Lewis, special representative for global intergovernmental affairs at State. Lewis, the first person to fill her position, says her office acts as an intermediary between federal agencies and local officials when those officials work with foreign governments and travel to engage in trade.
Homeland Security Department auditors say the Secret Service investigation of its April 2012 Colombian prostitution scandal was "expeditious and thorough." Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan learned of the prostitute cavorting allegations within an hour of the Miami field office receiving notice of them, the report says.
The Justice Department says Native American tribal criminal justice agencies should receive information about issued firearm permits and licenses and have access to FBI databases for background checks.In a proposed rule change published Jan. 28 in the Federal Register, Justice says tribal agencies that can issue firearm permits and licenses should have the same access that state and local criminal justice agencies have to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The Postal Service will undertake cost saving measures and service changes in 2013 to increase available revenue, says Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe.In his State of the Postal Service presentation, Donahoe said on Jan. 24 the service remains "in a very tenuous position as far as cash on hand" because Congress has not passed legislation to aid the Postal Service.
The federal workforce's training levels and age demographics make it hard to adopt new technologies or innovations and pose long-term risks as more workers reach retirement age, said members of a panel hosted by the Center of Strategic and International Studies. Carly Fiorina, co-chair of U.S. leadership in Development at CSIS, said there is "an unwillingness to change fundamental processes in a way that would permit the transformative power of technology to work."
The Pentagon has started to lay off temporary civilian and contract workers to cut spending ahead of the an anticipated March 1 budget sequestration. Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said layoffs could reach as high as 46,000 workers.
Federal agencies could see financial benefits through the use of enhanced use leases, but only if they adequately account for all costs and benefits of the leases, says the Government Accountability Office. It notes that some EULs do very well, such as a State Department lease in Istanbul for $20.6 million and a NASA EUL worth $147.7 million, but says most have modest gains "where the costs could more easily outweigh the benefits."
Following a Jan. 24 vote, a resolution (S. Res. 15) from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will allow the Senate to avoid filibusters on motions to proceed in exchange for a guarantee that the minority party can propose amendments. Those amendments will need 51 votes to pass.Outright termination of a filibuster still requires 60 votes.
According to numbers (.pdf) published Jan. 23 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 956,000 federal government employees are members of unions, some 26.9 percent of the total 3.5 million federal workers. This is down from the 28.1 percent member rate in 2011.
OIG blasts 'dysfunctional' Broadcasting Board of Governors for internal rancor, conflicts of interest
The nine-member Broadcasting Board of Governors' "dysfunction stems from a flawed legislative structure and acute internal dissension," according to the OIG report. Among its deficiencies is failure to implement key provisions of its 5 year strategic plan, according to the report.
The House on Jan. 23 approved a short-term solution to the debt limit and the Senate and White House have singalled it is likely to pass and be signed into law. In a 285-144 vote, the House passed H.R. 325, which would extend the country's borrowing ability to pay for items that come due by May 18 by suspending the enforcement of the debt limit and setting it to the level achieved at the start of May 19.