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Eye Opener: Nov. 18, 2009

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

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In the news...

More Obama Nominees Announced: On Tuesday the president tapped Robert A. Petzel to serve as undersecretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs; Arthur Elkins Jr. to serve as inspector general at the Environmental Protection Agency; and Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale to serve as the Commerce Department's assistant secretary for manufacturing and services. Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count.

Cabinet and Staff News: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to tell Senate: Don't fear trial of 'coward' 9/11 plotter. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warns against ending economic assistance too quickly. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair now gets to evaluate CIA missions. HHs Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the Senate's health care bill will likely cut budget costs by 2019. A controversial federal court nominee survives a Senate filibuster threat, while the House considers impeaching another. Superme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy frustrated by a school press flap. Is the wait over for Treasury nominee Lael Brainard?

Questionable government payments on rise, administration says: The federal government made $98 billion in questionable payments to contractors and individuals last year, a sharp increase from the previous year.

More evidence that the watchers need watching: The appropriate balance of contract workers and federal employees is a matter of debate in many government venues. But clearly, there are times when protecting federal facilities is "inherently governmental" work.

Employees raise concerns about USDA reorganization: A massive reorganization of a dozen offices at the department is facing resistance from rank-and-file employees and at least one senior-level appointee has left his job indefinitely.

The NRC dating service?: Learn how a recruitment tool at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has so far resulted in eight or nine marriages.

House panel votes to curb power of regional fed presidents: On a unanimous vote Tuesday, the House Financial Services Committee approved an amendment barring the central bank's board of governors from delegating authority to regional bank presidents.

Census turns to kids for help: Seeking to ensure strong participation in the decennial population count, especially in so-called hard-to-count neighborhoods, the agency has decided children are key.

America's newest land baron: FDIC: The financial crisis started with Americans buying homes they couldn't afford. It is ending with the government struggling to sell buildings it never wanted.

Mother refuses deployment: Specialist Alexis Hutchinson, 21, said she had no choice but to refuse deployment orders because the only relative who could care for her 10-month-old son, her mother, was overwhelmed by the task.

OMB will release top government performance goals in February: Theyu will come as part of the president's fiscal 2011 budget, Chief Performance Officer Jeff Zients said Tuesday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | November 18, 2009; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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The USDA reorg has been a disaster and is nothing but cronyism according to my friends working there. People removed from positions and reasssigned after being given achieves expectations reviews, then those position announced but given to the management cronies without review of all applicants.

DOJ needs to be looking into this. USDA OIG can't do it.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | November 18, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

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