Tuesday Afternoon Federal Newscast

The son of a Census Bureau worker found hanged from a tree in eastern Kentucky says he has no doubt his father was slain. Josh Sparkman tells The Associated Press he’s frustrated investigators won’t confirm that and continue to say they haven’t ruled out suicide or accidental death. Bill Sparkman was a substitute teacher and part-time census worker whose body was found tied to a tree with a rope around his neck in a remote Appalachian forest earlier this month. The Clay County coroner says “fed” was written on the 51-year-old’s chest, apparently in felt tip pen. Josh Sparkman says police and the FBI have searched his father’s home but told him little. (AP Wires)

OPM is backing off its statement that its getting out of the “retirement projection” business. Now they’ve clarified their position, saying that they’ll be tracking the number of feds who are eligible to retire, and they’ll keep track of the numbers of potential retirees at individual agencies. OPM says it’ll continue to project how many feds will ACTUALLY retire, even though – as one spokesman says – “there are a lot of variables at play.”

Just what is going on at the National Science Foundation? The Washington Times reports employee misconduct investigations grew six-fold in the past year, overwhelming the Inspector General’s office. One senior executive spent 331 days looking at porn on his government computer. When finally caught, he retired, but investigators say his porn surfing cost the government up to $58-thousand dollars. The IG’s office says the investigations have “significantly” reduced efforts to investigate grant fraud.

The General Services Administration is pulling out all the stops to get agencies to transition to the Networx telecommunications contract as soon as possible. With less than 21 months before the drop-dead date, GSA is offering everything from writing requirements to figuring out agency inventories to paying for one-time transition costs. Karl Krumbholz, GSA’s director of network service programs, says the transition has been slowed – in part – because they got more statements of work than they’d expected.

The watchdog of the Securities and Exchange Commission is recommending a whole new system for handling tips and complaints. The proposals for the agency’s enforcement and inspections operations will also make it easier for junior-level attorneys to bring their concerns to managers. Inspector General David Kotz detailed how the SEC bungled five investigations of Bernard Madoff’s business between June 1992 and last December, when the financier confessed. Top SEC officials have pledged to fix the problems and say they already have made major changes. (AP Wires)

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