Tuesday Morning Federal Newscast

Written by Jane Norris & Ruben Gomez
Edited by Suzanne Kubota

This morning’s federal news as heard on WFED:

Federal Employees will not see an increase in their “locality pay” this year. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden, the president invoked his power to override the statutorily required annual across-the-board and locality pay increases in times of emergency or economic hardship. The President wrote that a national emergency has existed since September 11, 2001, “and most Americans would not understand or accept that federal employees should receive an average pay increase of 18.9 percent while many of their fellow citizens are facing employment cutbacks or unemployment.”

The Federal Aviation Administration needs to step up its efforts to promote diversity and do more to fix low morale. A report from the GAO called on the agency to broaden its training programs rather than narrowly focusing on racial diversity in hiring. The report says the agency’s initiatives “fell short” of diversity management practices at other organizations and should provide employees an awareness of their differences including culture, work style and personal presentation.

The General Services Administration is running out of money to pay for major repairs and upgrades to federal buildings. Federal Times reports that by 2016, GSA will have only enough to cover lease payments, utilities, custodial services and basic repairs. Bob Peck, commissioner of the Public Buildings Service, says the agency isn’t collecting enough rent from federal agencies.

The Justice Department says federal agencies should honor their contracts with ACORN. The contracts were signed before Congress banned the community advocacy organization from receiving further government funding earlier this year. In an opinion released last Friday, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel determined that lawmakers were unclear on whether agencies should terminate pre-existing contracts with ACORN, which stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.In September, Congress passed a spending bill that includes a provision banning any new federal funds from going to ACORN. President Obama signed the bill on Oct. 1.

NASA gears up to open competition on a series of IT contracts worth more than $4 billion dollars. Federal Computer Week reports the space agency could start the bidding process on the first contract as early as Friday, December 4th. That project is called Web Enterprise Service Technologies. And it’s one of five NASA is planning under under its I-3-P program to consolidate IT and data services.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the number of jobs created or saved by the stimulus between 600,000 and 1.6 million jobs in the third quarter, reports the Wall Street Journal. CBO estimates that stimulus also raised gross domestic product by 1.2 to 3.2 percentage points higher than it would have been without the program. The CBO said the figures were estimates made “using evidence about how previous similar policies have affected the economy and various mathematical models that represent the workings of the economy.”

More news links

Locality Pay: Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate (November 30, 2009)

FBI picks new technology chief (FCW)

Obama to outline Afghan strategy at West Point

Forest Service eyes night flying against fires

Yellowstone Nat’l Park approves development plan

Norman hotel delivers home feel for public, postal workers (The Oklahoman)