Tuesday Morning Federal Newscast - May 4th, 2010

Tuesday - 5/4/2010, 8:33am EDT

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Jane Norris discuss throughout their show each day. The Newscast is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • April was a good month for most TSP funds. All but the I-fund made gains. The S-fund led the race, adding nearly 4.6 percent. The G-Fund saw the fewest gains, just over 0.2 percent. But still, a spokesperson for the TSP says no fund has surpassed levels before the market plunged in September of 2008.

  • Hundreds of workers at the Pentagon are double dipping on their transit subsidies according to a new report from the office of the Inspector General. The increasingly generous subsidy pays workers to take mass transit or join van pools. The Washington Times reports that with the passage of the economic stimulus package last year, area federal workers across government saw their maximum transit subsidy rise from $120 per month to $230 per month. The Pentagon IG report shows that hundreds of workers appeared to be double dipping by collecting public transit subsidies for bus or train fares at the same time they received parking benefits. And records for more than 30,000 workers in the transit-subsidy program were incomplete or inaccurate, according to the review.

  • When companies transport hazardous materials by road, rail, water and air, the U.S. Transportation Department is supposed to do safety checks before granting permits. But they failed to check up to 30,000 companies. Some of the companies even had serious hazmat accidents and safety violations. DOT officials testified to Congress the department has suffered years of neglect. USA Today reports all the companies must now file new permit applications and undergo a "fitness review."

  • An outside assessment of federal agencies' transparency plans gives them a "C", reports NextGov. The plans, covering how agencies will use technology to help create a culture of transparency, were turned in last month under the administration's Open Government Directive. Last week, the Office of Management and Budget gave slightly better grades in its official assessment of transparency plans. The coalition of good-government groups gave its highest grades to NASA, the lowest to OMB itself. US CTO Aneesh Chopra told Federal News Radio the best ideas, or "leading practices" will be put together for all agencies to draw from.

  • A recently released Gallup Index shows significantly more hiring within the federal government than in the private sector. Both show a substantially more positive picture than state and local governments, where firing far eclipses hiring. Gallup's Job Creation Index is based on the percentage of American workers who say their employers are hiring minus the percentage who say their employers are letting workers go. By almost a 2-to-1 margin, federal employees say their employer is hiring rather than firing, giving the federal government a relatively robust +18 Job Creation Index for April.

  • The Navy is too reliant on multibillion dollar ships and submarines, and must learn to live on less expensive, unmanned platforms. That's from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who delivered a tough speech to yesterday's annual Navy exposition at National Harbor, Maryland. He said the Navy's procurement budget wouldn't rise in the foreseeable future, and that the service will have to more closely tailor its strategy for asymmetric warfare. Gates added that in terms of submarines and missiles, the Navy is already big enough.

  • Two experienced federal executives have announced their departures. Stephen Sundlof, director of food safety at the Food and Drug Administration, will leave after 16 years. A veterinarian by training, the Wall Street Journal reports Sundlof will join the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The deputy director of regulatory affairs, Michael Landa, will become acting food safety chief. And John J. Garing, the director for strategic planning an information at the Defense Information Systems Agency, has announced his retirement, according to DefenseSystems.com. No replacement has been named.

  • Flooding in Nashville, Tennessee has forced the Defense Information Systems Agency to cancel its annual Customer Partnership Conference. Extreme rainfall has overwhelmed the city and forced the closure of the Gaylord Opryland Resort, where the four-day conference was scheduled to begin today. The conference attracts military customers of DISA's network and communication services. DefenseSystems.com says an estimated 5,000 people had been scheduled to attend.