As part of the National Water Census, the first comprehensive look at national water availability since 1978, the U.S. Geological Survey has so far undertaken studies of three large river basins, the agency says in an April 3 report. Ultimately, the Water Census, which Congress called for in a 2009 law, will compile information about water availability in a way that states and other water managers can put to use.
Twice as many federal employees filed for retirement in March as the Office of Personnel projected, according to an OPM report (.pdf).According to statistics, OPM received 10,183 retirement claims but had projected only 5,000 new claims for that month. There was a similar trend in February. OPM received about 20,000 retirement claims in February, more than three times the amount it projected.
It is difficult to determine whether government information federal employees might give to political intelligence firms stems from public or nonpublic sources at the time of the information exchange, according to an April 4 Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) on the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.
Among law professors, "it's long been thought that the process of notice and comment is basically kabuki theater," said Cass Sunstein, himself a law professor for decades before heading up OIRA and who has since returned to academia. "That administrative-law sophisticated wisdom, it couldn't be further from the truth," he said at a Brookings Institution event.
Delayed mail declined by 56 percent during the fiscal 2013 fall mailing season and service achievement rose over 90 percent during the same period, says a United States Postal Service office of inspector general report (.pdf). But even with that drop in delays, USPS could lose $3.8 million in revenue is at risk if customers decide to use other methods of mail delivery.
The Environmental Protection Agency will furlough about 17,000 employees for 4 non-consecutive days starting April 21. The first phase of furloughs will run from April 21 to June 15 at which point the EPA will reassess to see if more days are needed. The Internal Revenue Service plans to furlough workers up to 7 days due to sequestration cuts after tax season ends.
The district's high concentration of federally employed residents, its unique position as the capital of the United State, and "the partisan nature of its elections for local public office," count as special circumstances, OPM says. An exemption for D.C. residents is also a requirement of the Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-230).
Agencies should generally use any available flexibility to reduce operational risks and minimize impacts from sequestration on the agency's core mission, Office of Management and Budget Controller Danny Werfel said in a memo (.pdf) to agency heads Thursday.
Speculation about widespread layoffs if the Postal Service ends Saturday letter delivery is unfounded, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in his State of the Postal Service address April 3. He also dismissed the notion that if the Postal Service switches to 5 day delivery, 4 day delivery would follow, then 3 day and so on.
Raising taxes and reforming Social Security key parts of Obama budget proposal, President says in speech
Raising taxes on the wealthy, reforming retirement programs and investing in high-tech manufacturing will help lower the deficit, President Obama said in a weekly radio address previewing his upcoming budget proposal, set to be released April 10.
Changes such as warming ocean, soil, and air temperatures; melting permafrost; shifting vegetation and animal abundances and altered characteristics of Arctic cyclones are expected to affect traditional cultures in the region. Those changes put in danger the survival of polar bear and other animal populations, and raise risks of pollution, food supply, safety, cultural losses and national security, the report says.
Quatitiative and qualitative analysis led researchers to identify the most significant factors that cause erroneous conviction. Report authors claim their model can accurately predict an erroneous conviction versus a near miss nearly 91 percent of the time.
Federal employees are feeling less empowered by agency leadership in 2012 than they were in 2011, according to a Partnership for Public Service report (.pdf). Perception that agencies have effective leadership dropped 2.1 points to 52.8 percent, employee feelings of empowerment dropped 2.7 points to 45.8 percent and belief in agency fairness dropped 1.3 points to 53 percent.
Of the respondents, 41 percent said their employer was reducing the amount of workers and only 23 percent said their employer was expanding the office workforce, the Gallup poll says. That made the Job Creation Index score -18 in March as opposed to -5 in February, before sequestration cuts went into effect.
There needs to be close scrutiny of DoD's organizational chart and command structures, Hagel said. The way the military is run now dates back to the early years of the cold war and the last major re-organization was the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which focused on establishing a clear chain of command with little consideration given to cost or efficiency, Hagel said.
Nearly all members of Congress had official Twitter or Facebook accounts as of last year, a new report from the Congressional Research Service says. In the House, three-fourths of members had official accounts on both websites as of January 2012, compared to about two-thirds of senators, says the report, dated March 22 and posted online by Secrecy News.
President Barack Obama nominated Brian Deese as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget Monday, according to a White House press release. Obama tapped Sylvia Burwell for the top spot at OMB on March 4. The confirmation process is expected to go smoothly, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said at a March 19 press briefing.
As he announced the initiative, Obama said it could be "the next great American project" and could lead to improved understanding of Alzheimer's disease, autism, and strokes, in addition to other unforeseeable discoveries. "There's this enormous mystery waiting to be unlocked," he said.
The ZIP code, implemented in 1963, was originally intended to allow mail sorting methods to be automated but ended up being used in other ways as well. The ZIP code became a social tool for organizing and displaying demographic information and a support structure for entire industries such as insurance and real estate, the report says.