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Federal Eye: June 27, 2010 - July 3, 2010

This Is War: How USAID workers are trained for work and danger in Afghanistan

Laura Mendelson followed the American soldiers guarding her and the rest of the team of U.S. government employees up the crumbling concrete steps. The dimly lighted lobby was loud with the strident voices of a crowd of women in headscarves and long tunics. They shouted for the team's attention. They wanted something.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 2, 2010; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Obama's national security officials, on night watch

Headlights approach on an empty road. A government agent steps out of an armored SUV, carrying a locked, black satchel.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 2, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Administration  
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Government launches new apps

Smartphone addicts rejoice: Are you counting calories? Concerned about unsafe toys? Worried about tan lines or airport security lines? There's a (government) app for that.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 2, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Eye Opener  
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White House salary information released

More than 460 White House employees earn a combined $38.7 million in salary, according to White House figures released Thursday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 6:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Administration  
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White House florist shows Obamas' relaxed style

Michelle Obama has Obama-ized the White House with healthful menus, planted bok choy and rhubarb to supply them and ramped up the fashion quotient with metallic strapless dresses and studded belts. Her latest style statement: official flowers in a looser "garden" style by Laura Dowling, the new White House chief floral designer.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration  
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Marines use Anna Chapman photos to warn sailors of the danger of beauties in foreign countries

U.S. Marines preparing for shore leave in the Seychelles islands were having a standard security briefing this week when they were shown photos of a figure who's been in the news lately: Russian spy suspect Anna Chapman.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Military  
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Thad Allen's last day in uniform (Video)

Wednesday marked Admiral Thad Allen's final day in a Coast Guard uniform. The National Incident Commander, who is in charge of the oil spill response, will now become a civilian employee of the Department of Homeland Security.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Revolving Door  
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Is the Postal Service owed $50B or $75B?

As the U.S. Postal Service looks for ways to close a nine-figure budget gap, it looks like it may have just found $50 billion. Or maybe $75 billion. It depends on who you ask.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Budget, Congress  
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Flags down, then up, then down again for Sen. Robert Byrd

President Obama on Wednesday ordered all American flags to fly at half mast until the evening of Sen. Robert Byrd's burial, scheduled for next week.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Congress, Miscellaneous  
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Secret Service overspent on Campaign '08

The U.S. Secret Service spent $5.1 million more than anticipated in late 2009 while protecting the Obama and McCain campaigns and presidential inauguration events, according to government auditors. The agency tasked with protecting the president, other political figures and their families also failed to keep proper budget records.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 1, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Eye Opener, Oversight  
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Aretha and Condi -- for one night only

Aretha Franklin and Condoleezza Rice will share a stage next month in Philadelphia at a benefit concert for inner city children.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 30, 2010; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Union president does all the talking

It's not unusual for an agency or an organization to have a primary spokesperson. But the National Treasury Employees Union apparently is so intent on reserving that role for its president, Colleen M. Kelley, that even when other people speak for the union they are not acknowledged by the organization.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 30, 2010; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Oldest U.S. Postal Service employee to retire

Chester Reed, 95, the oldest employee of the U.S. Postal Service, retires Wednesday after 37 years at the San Bernadino, Calif., Processing and Distribution Center.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 30, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Federal agencies plan to start buying in bulk

Federal agencies will band together as one big customer for future purchases of goods and services, including office supplies and furniture, administration officials announced Wednesday.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 30, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Contracting  
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Report: Ex-Postal Service official violated policies

The former third-ranking official at the U.S. Postal Service improperly used his office to conduct personal business, awarded millions of dollars in noncompetitive contracts to former colleagues and failed to disclose stock holdings in a company conducting business negotiations with the mail agency, according to a new watchdog report.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 30, 2010; 6:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Stanley McChrystal to retire with four-star rank

Gen. Stanley McChrystal will retain his four-star rank when he retires from the military, the White House said Tuesday. The decision means the general will earn about $149,700 per year before taxes in military retirement pay.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 29, 2010; 3:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
Categories:  Military, Workplace Issues  
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Elena Kagan: Cameras at the Supreme Court 'a terrific thing'

The Federal Eye's ears perked up when Elena Kagan was asked about allowing cameras into the Supreme courtroom:

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 29, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Confirmation Hearings  
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GAO: Some 'burrowing' during Bush Years

A Government Accountability Office report says 139 political appointees "burrowed in" between May 2005 and May 2009.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 29, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Oversight, Revolving Door  
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'Please Remove Your Shoes' pans TSA, FAA

Though most disgruntled workers might file grievances with their union or write a letter to the editor, a half dozen federal employees have turned to the big screen to raise concerns with the nation's airport security.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 29, 2010; 11:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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Did the Supreme Court put some federal jobs at risk?

Thousands of federal officials should take a gander at the a ruling on the validity of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 29, 2010; 6:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Feds kill terrorism training site on Eastern Shore

By The Post's Aaron Davis in our Maryland Politics blog: Controversial plans to construct one of the nation's largest and busiest anti-terrorism training facilities in a quiet corner of Maryland's Eastern Shore are dead, leaving neighbors and environmentalists giddy and...

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 28, 2010; 4:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Budget  
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Report faults TSA's treatment of amputees

A new survey by the Amputee Coalition of America finds that transportation security officers at airports often appear confused about how to screen amputees.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 28, 2010; 3:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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U.S. lawmaker to withhold $3.9 billion in Afghan aid over corruption problems

The chairman of a key House subcommittee said Monday that she would strip $3.9 billion in aid for Afghanistan from next year's spending bill over concerns about rampant graft in the country and alleged efforts by President Hamid Karzai's government to derail corruption probes.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 28, 2010; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Budget, Congress  
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The government is cutting IT out

The Obama administration is putting the brakes on upgrades to about 30 government-run financial systems, a decision that impacts about $20 billion in government spending. The systems manage everything from government-issued Smart Cards to internal accounting systems.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 28, 2010; 1:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Administration, Budget  
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At least 431 attacks on Census workers

Guns, knives, lawn chairs, animals -- just some of the items used to shoo away or threaten U.S. Census Bureau workers this year.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 28, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
Categories:  Census, Workplace Issues  
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New Postal Service boss for D.C. region named

Timothy C. Haney, former manager of a U.S. Postal Service facility in the District where two workers died during the 2001 anthrax attacks, will become head of mail operations for the national capital region.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 28, 2010; 11:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door  
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Census mistakes mean a recount for some

At least 10,000 homes in Brooklyn -- and maybe more -- may get another knock on the door in the coming days thanks to some mistakes made by U.S. Census Bureau managers.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 28, 2010; 7:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Census, Eye Opener  
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