Eye Opener: Sept. 29, 2009
• OPM to Continue Tracking Retirement Numbers: Officials at the Office of Personnel Management insist the agency will continue to forecast the retirement of federal employees, contrary to recent news reports suggesting otherwise. The federal government's human resources agency has issued projections on the likely number of federal retirees for years. Recent studies by Pew and the Partnership for Public Service suggest however -- and even OMB Director Peter Orszag agrees -- that it's grown increasingly difficult to forecast potential retirements as potential retirees reconsider their financial situation and decide to stay active longer.
• Gerald Walpin's Case: Remember the inspector general at the Corporation for National and Community Service fired by the White House for allegedly appearing confused, disoriented and unable to answer questions at a late May agency board meeting? His wrongful termination lawsuit continues in federal court as he awaits a response from government lawyers to his initial filing. In the meantime, a judge denied on procedural grounds his request for a temporary injunction and reinstatement to his old job. Regardless, Walpin remains hopeful the case will successfully continue. "I'm still going forward," he said in an interview Monday.
• Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama tours NIH headquarters in Bethesda Tuesday with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and NIH Director Francis S. Collins. Multiple tests of Timothy Geithner's judgment and political dexterity lie ahead. Hillary Clinton asked to intervene in the Roman Polanski extradition case. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke continues his trip to Chile for the Americas Competitiveness Forum. World Bank President Robert Zoellick questions the Obama administration's plans to give more power to the Federal Reserve. Ambassador Jon Huntsman says the U.S. is "working closely" with China on Iran.
• Confronting Hispanic Underrepresentation in Government: The 2009 theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is “Embrace the fierce urgency of now!” And that’s what federal agencies must do in confronting this problem, says former co-chair of the Council of Federal EEO and Civil Rights Executives Jorge E. Ponce. "Put simply, this challenge can no longer be ignored."
• Workers' Porn Surfing Rampant at Federal Agency: The problems at the National Science Foundation (NSF) were so pervasive they swamped the agency's inspector general and forced the internal watchdog to cut back on its primary mission of investigating grant fraud and recovering misspent tax dollars.
• Farmers See Ray of Hope in USDA Bias Case: Thousands of Native American farmers and ranchers are part of a class-action lawsuit against the Agriculture Department alleging widespread racial discrimination in loan programs meant to be a resource of last resort for those turned down by banks.
• Equal Raises for Defense Employees in 2010, No Matter the Pay System: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates's conclusion provides yet another measure of the troubled state of pay-for-performance, the National Security Personnel System.
• DOD Employees Irate Over Travel System: Just 22 percent of Defense Travel System users are happy with the problem-plagued $500 million system, according to a new user satisfaction poll.
• Senators Plan Bill To Advance Net Neutrality: Such a bill could be a timetable or deadline for the Federal Communications Commission to finish its rule-making process.
• FDIC Takes Steps to Replenish Deposit Fund: The agency is expected to propose Tuesday that the bulk of the banking industry prepay assessments for 2010, 2011 and 2012 to recapitalize the government's depleted deposit-insurance fund, people familiar with the matter said.
• EPA Tells Schools to Test Aging Caulk for PCBs: The danger to students is uncertain, and the agency doesn't know for sure how many schools could be affected. But it is telling schools that they should test old caulk and remove it if PCBs turn up in significant amounts.
• Army Advised to Improve Strategy for Transfer of Logistics Work: The Army has failed to adequately plan for the transfer of billions of dollars of logistics work in the Middle East from a single company to an arrangement where that contractor vies with two others for jobs.
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