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Federal Eye: December 6, 2009 - December 12, 2009

VA cost-cutting idea wins contest

A Veterans Affairs employee's idea to allow veterans to take leftover medication home with them when they leave the hospital has won a contest designed to pick the best government cost-saving idea. Nancy Fichtner, a fiscal program support clerk at...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 11, 2009; 3:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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IG: $12.3 million in Smithsonian property missing

By The Post's Jacqueline Trescott: Since 2005, the Smithsonian Institution has lost $12.3 million in personal property, including 89 laptop computers. A. Sprightley Ryan, the Smithsonian's inspector general, told a congressional committee Thursday that management had failed to hold employees...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 11, 2009; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Lawmaker seeks clarity on Census criminal hires

Updated 4:55 p.m. ET A Republican critic of the Census Bureau wants the agency to further clarify its policy on hiring minor criminals as it prepares to hire roughly 1 million temporary workers for next year's decennial census. Rep. Jason...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 11, 2009; 12:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Census, Congress  
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Where's the TSA administrator?

Reports this week about the security breach of a Transportation Security Administration operating manual reminded folks that the agency still lacks a permanent administrator.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 11, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door  
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Eye Opener: Unions oppose OPM health-care role

Happy Friday! Two leading federal workers unions want lawmakers to keep their hands off the program that provides health-care coverage to federal employees, arguing that any potential merger with a larger public health care program would jeopardize health coverage...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 11, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Health Care  
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Agencies encouraged to donate their leftovers

Starting Thursday, federal agencies and their contractors are strongly encouraged to donate their leftover food to homeless shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens. The two councils responsible for amending federal contracting rules published their strong encouragement in Thursday's Federal...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 10, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Contracting, Workplace Issues  
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Military condolence letters policy under review

President Obama may soon be able to send condolence letters to the families of service members who have committed suicide -- something prohibited by current military policy. The president recently ordered a review of that policy, White House Press Secretary...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 10, 2009; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Administration, Workplace Issues  
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USDA to serve lawmakers school lunches

By The Post's Jane Black: Chicken fajita strips, sliced ham and canned green beans: That's what's for lunch one day next week for some lawmakers and Congressional staffers, courtesy of the Department of Agriculture. The menu offers the same food...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 10, 2009; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Congress  
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Eye Opener: Obama and Brookings

President Obama spoke Tuesday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Bloomberg) Happy Thursday! Earlier this week when President Obama spoke at the Brookings Institution, the think tank's president Strobe Talbott noted that several of his former colleagues...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 10, 2009; 6:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Revolving Door  
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EPA's Jackson: 'fighting to make up for lost time'

By The Post's Juliet Eilperin in our Post Carbon blog: COPENHAGEN -- The United States has been "fighting to make up for lost time" in the fight against global warming since President Obama took office nearly 11 months ago, Environmental...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 9, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration  
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Does giving OPM health-care control make sense?

Senate Democrats struck a tentative agreement Tuesday night to drop a government-run insurance plan from their health-care reform proposals. One element of the compromise, as reported by The Eye's hardworking colleagues Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery, would be to create...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 9, 2009; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Health Care, Workplace Issues  
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Eye Opener: Nominate your favorite Fed

Happy Wednesday! Know of a government worker that deserves recognition? Nominate your favorite Fed for a Service to America Medal by the end of January and they might win up to $10,000. The Partnership for Public Service collects the...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 9, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Federal employees earn 2% pay raise

Congressional appropriators agreed Tuesday night to give civilian federal employees a 2 percent pay increase next year -- a jump that includes a locality pay increase.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 8, 2009; 8:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (171)
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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Controversial security firm loses Kabul contract

The State Department will not renew the contract of the private security firm that guards the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, according to e-mails obtained by an independent watchdog group.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 8, 2009; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Contracting  
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Chat With The Eye!

Highlights of Tuesday's Post Politics Hour, hosted by The Federal Eye: Arlington, Va.: What's your understanding about the new EPA regulations? Is this just a way of forcing Congress to pass cap-and-trade? Ed O'Keefe: I'll defer to my environmental reporting...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 8, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  About the Blog  
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White House releases open government plans

Federal agencies have four months to become more open, transparent and cooperative with the public's requests for information, according to new orders issued Tuesday by the White House. The changes deliver a big victory to open government groups have long sought changes to how the government presents and share information with the general public.

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 8, 2009; 12:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration  
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Magazines help launch 'Diplomacy at Home'

By The Post's Jura Koncius: While the Obama holiday elves were refurbishing ornaments and harvesting roots from the garden to hang on the White House trees, across the street at Blair House and in Foggy Bottom, a high-voltage Christmas...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 8, 2009; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Eye Opener: Open Government Plan announced

Updated 7:42 a.m. ET Happy Tuesday! The Eye is feeling MUCH better after flu-like symptoms over the weekend (thanks for asking). Send good vibes towards Mrs. Eye, who's still recuperating at home. The Obama administration launches its Open Government...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 8, 2009; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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More info from that closed open gov't meeting

The front cover of a PowerPoint presentation about Freedom of Information Act requests (Courtesy Justice Department) There was some hand-wringing, confusion and bad feelings about a closed-to-the-press meeting Monday for the federal government's FOIA liaison officers, or the folks...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 7, 2009; 3:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Apologies for the light blogging...

But The Eye is still recovering from a weekend illness. Normal blogging should resume as normal on Tuesday....

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 7, 2009; 2:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  About the Blog  
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Vote by Thursday for best cost-saving idea

Americans have until Thursday to help pick the best cost-cutting idea from federal employees for inclusion in President Obama's FY '11 federal budget proposals. The Office of Management and Budget narrowed a list of 38,000 submissions from federal employees down...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 7, 2009; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Administration  
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Eye Opener: A closed open government meeting?

Happy Monday! Kudos to the AP's Sharon Theimer for catching news of a workshop on government openness at the Commerce Department on Monday that is closed to the public. "The event Monday for federal employees is a fitting symbol...

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 7, 2009; 7:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Congress, Eye Opener  
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