House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) blasted the Labor Department over what he calls wasteful spending on promoting the agency. Issa wants the DOL to hand over documents and information related to agency spending and claims he has information that the DOL spent $600,000 on informational elevator posters, $25,000 in entry fees for public relations contests and $100,000 to promote a book club.
At an American Legion convention speech in North Carolina, President Obama announced Veterans Affairs Department reforms including making it easier for veterans to transition from military healthcare to the VA health system. Obama announced a new Defense Department $79 million increase in funding for a program aimed at using brain chips to treat post traumatic stress disorder, in the Aug. 26 speech.
An internal audit found that revised guidelines to help a U.S. Postal Service initiative increase efficiencies in each postal district by centralizing delivery operations are still insufficient.
The General Services Administration is looking for information on transforming a Transportation Department building into a state-of-the-art facility for transportation research, an Aug. 26 GSA statement says. The agency issued a Request for Information seeking creative ideas from the real estate development community to redevelop the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center property in Cambridge, Mass.
Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Robert McDonald continued his apology tour telling a convention of disabled veterans that VA leadership failed to take responsibility for the recent patient scheduling controversy. McDonald said VA leaders failed to take ownership of the problems facing their facilities and employees, failed to identify shortfalls in resources and take action to obtain the additional resources they needed and failed to quash the culture of self-protection and retaliation.
While states are generally complying with key federal requirements for administering highway safety program funds, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration still needs to shore up some gaps in its oversight to make the program more effective, an Aug. 21 internal audit found.
Government dysfunction came in as one of the biggest problems facing the country for both Democrats and Republicans in an Aug. 22 Gallup poll. About 16 percent of Democrats said a dysfunctional government was the most important problem facing America--that was the top vote getter, the poll says. About 20 percent of Republicans said the same thing, although government dysfunction ranked second for them behind immigration, which garnered 22 percent.
The amount the federal government paid out in Equal Employment Opportunity claims rose more than 18 percent in fiscal 2012 over the previous year, a recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report says. Agencies paid about $51.4 billion in benefits to EEO complainants in fiscal 2012 through administrative judges' decisions. That number came in at $43.5 million in fiscal 2011, the EEOC report says. Another $10.8 million was paid out due to appeals decisions. That number is up from $9.2 million in fiscal 2011.
The Postal Service will move ahead with its consolidation of processing facilities after the second phase of the project was postponed earlier this year despite postal unions and some lawmakers coming out against the plan. The Postal Service inspector general, who is looking into whether the consolidation makes sense, says USPS will close (pdf) up to 82 mail processing facilities starting in January 2015, a year after the agency postponed the closings.
The Postal Service inspector general plans to push digital services and modernization at its office to better investigate and audit the USPS, the inspector general's five year plan says. In its fiscal 2014 to 2018 strategic plan (pdf), the USPS IG laid out its vision for recommendations its plans to explore for the Postal Service.