Thursday Morning Federal Newscast - August 26th

Thursday - 8/26/2010, 9:04am EDT

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

  • Federal union leaders say they're hopeful that transportation security workers will get collective bargaining rights. The heads of the National Treasury Employees Union and the American Federation of Government Employees have met for the first time with TSA Administrator John Pistole, and say they're optimistic that Pistole will decide in favor of collective bargaining rights. The TSA leader has launched an assessment to figure out how collective bargaining would affect TSA's ability to perform its mission. Both unions are vying to provide exclusive representation for TSA workers. Tune in tomorrow at 7:40 a.m. for our interview with NTEU president Colleen Kelley and at 8:40 a.m. for our interview with AFGE national president John Gage.

  • When the Postal Service's office of inspector general was looking into the activities of former marketing officer Robert Bernstock, investigators were given different stories about what, exactly, was going on in the USPS. According to records obtained by the Washington Times, the U.S. postmaster general and his top officials gave investigators varying accounts about the decision to let Bernstock make hundreds of thousands of dollars from outside corporate jobs while working full time for the Postal Service. Bernstock resigned before an IG's report concluded that he awarded no-bid contracts to former business associates, failed to report financial information, and used Postal Service staff for private business activities. The U.S. attorney's office in Washington declined to press charges.

  • The Army has canceled a multi-billion dollar contract to build armored ground combat vehicles. Three bidders had already entered the competition. The Army says they cancelled the contest in an effort to better align capabilities with future combat needs. The program could be delayed by six months. A revised request for proposals is expected in the next 60 days.

  • The airspace over Washington was violated earlier this month.... by the U.S. Navy. During a test of a drone helicopter, operators at Pax River lost communications with it. The Fire Scout wandered within 40 miles of Washington before contact was re-established and the drone was guided back to base. Because of what the Navy is calling a "software issue", all six of the Navy's Fire Scouts were grounded. The New York Times reports the drone, made by Northrop Grumman, was supposed to have immediately returned to base when communications are lost. A Navy spokesman said "That did not happen as planned."

  • Federal contractors may need to give hiring preferences to people with disabilities. The Labor Department has given notice of a proposed rule that could impose staffing goals for hiring disabled workers. It stems from Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The proposal is open for comments. You have until September 21st.

  • FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program is the nation's main flood insurer. But that program is in the red. USA Today has analyzed FEMA data, which show the federal flood program has paid people to rebuild over and over in the nation's worst flood zones. It has also discounted insurance rates by up to a billion dollars a year. Now the flood program managers want a $19 billion bailout. The Congressional Budget Office says premium discounts and claims will add $900 million a year to the debt. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that flooding. The Government Accountability Office says the program is, in their words by design, not actually sound because it has no cash reserves to pay for catastrophes, and sets rates that do not reflect actual flood risk.

  • Hundreds of layoffs are coming to Northrop Grumman. The defense contractor says it has notified nearly 300 workers that they'll lose their jobs at its Gulf Coast shipbuilding facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The Washington Business Journal reports that in addition to those 300 workers, another 350 will be cut by the end of this year. Northrop says the problem is the timing of contracts, creating an oversupply of employees.

More news links

NASA to announce discovery of 'intriguing planetary system' (CNN)

Tea company finds D.C. to be very honest (WTOP.com)

THIS AFTERNOON ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

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** Measuring your outreach efforts. You're using different methods to communicate. We'll talk to Scott Burns of GovDelivery about how you can measure what works -- and what doesn't.

** And the day before Turn I-T Off Day -- or Turn IT Off Day -- we'll remind you how you can make a difference by shuttin' down before you leave the office.

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