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Monday - Friday, 6-9 a.m.
Hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp bring you the latest news affecting the federal community each weekday morning, featuring interviews with top government executives and contractors. Listen live from 6 to 9 a.m. or download archived interviews on our daily show blogs.
Monday morning federal headlines - July 30, 2012
Monday - 7/30/2012, 8:34am EDT
- It's not so easy to invest with a clear conscious. That's the finding of a
Government Accountability Office report on the Thrift Savings Plan.
GAO looked at how the TSP
could add social responsible index funds to the array of options. The problem
is that these types of investments, in which managers consider certain
environmental or ethical criteria don't do as well as the typical TSP option.
Auditors say they risk lowering TSP returns and increasing volatility. GAO says
savings-plan managers would have trouble finding screening criteria acceptable to
Congress. It recommends that they add an option outside the TSP, so that only
those investors who want it pay the additional costs. (Federal News Radio)
Lest he forget, Maine Gov. Paul LePage owes federal workers an apology.
And Government Executive reports federal managers are waiting. The Professional
Managers Association represents IRS managers. It says LePage still needs to say "I'm sorry" to IRS employees
for comparing them to the Nazi secret police. LePage apologized to Jewish
groups in Maine...but then he repeated his comparison. PMA Director Tom Burger
says these types of statements embolden others to act inappropriately...and place
the entire federal workforce in jeopardy. (Government Executive)
- President Barack Obama's new project to help black students excel is getting
both cheers and jeers. A new office is supposed to help agencies work
closely with communities on African-American education, he writes in an
executive order. African-Americans do not have equal access to good teachers and
principals, safe schools and tough college-prep classes. Educators discipline and
send them to special-ed more often. The order creates a new interagency working
group that involves the Departments of Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services,
Defense and the National Science Foundation, as well as the Education Department.
Government Executive reports the move has some critics accusing the president of
focusing on one race at the exclusion of others. (Federal News Radio)
- FEMA management is scratching its collective head, trying to find out why morale is so low among the rank
and file. In the annual best places to work survey, FEMA comes in number 231,
almost at the bottom. Now officials are delving into the survey data, trying to
find out what's going on. Carter Hewgley is FEMAStat director in the office of
Policy and Program Analysis. He says that because FEMA shows up at disasters, its
employees deserve to be upbeat and smiling about the agency they work for. Among
the biggest complaints: Personnel decisions aren't always made on merit.
(Federal News Radio)
- Federal acquisition is choking
on its own regulations, say several former procurement chiefs. Diedre Lee was
administrator at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the 1990s. She says
too many multiple award contracts and too much oversight have made it hard for
acquisition people to get anything done. Stan Soloway, former Pentagon procurement
chief, says too many layers of review cause contracts to stray from what the
government customers really need. At a conference, Lee said more contracts should
be awarded after what she called a good, old fashioned full-and-open competition.
(Federal News Radio)
- Agencies' concentrated efforts to hire and retain Hispanics are
working...modestly. The Office of Personnel Management says Hispanics make up 8.1 percent of the
federal workforce. That's a 0.1 percent increase over a year earlier.
President Barack Obama has directed agencies to improve diversity and inclusion.
Hispanics remain the most under-represented segment of the workforce. Progress may
be slow, but the numbers are encouraging. The percentage of Hispanic senior-
executive-service members went from less than 3 percent in 2010 to more than 5
percent in fiscal 2011.
(Translated into actual numbers, that means the government hired nine more
Hispanic Senior Executive Service members than it did in 2010.) (Federal News
- The Combined Federal Campaign should expand its donor base, update its
technology and become more transparent about its own costs and benefits. That's
what a commission convened to look into the CFC has recommended. The
Commission was led by former Northern Virginia Congressman Tom Davis and former
Maryland Congresswoman Beverly Byron. Commissioners made 24 recommendations,
including filling the long-vacant position of chief compliance officer. Office
of Personnel Management
- A high-ranking General Services Administration official is taking a 60-day
medical leave of absence. Steve Kempf, the commissioner of the GSA's
Federal Acquisition Service, begins his leave today. Mary Davie, the assistant
commissioner, will act in place of Kempf. A GSA source says Kempf's leave is
unrelated to recent revelations about an expensive recognition ceremony for FAS
employees. Florida Republican Congressman John Mica revealed GSA had spent more
than a quarter million dollars on the event. It took place in November 2010, just
a few months after Kempf became commissioner. He joined the agency as an intern in
1992. (Federal News Radio)