The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear extend additional benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, including child care services and expanded family leave. Additional benefits could include gym and credit union memberships, access to career and other counseling and assistance services, access to government medical facilities, and lodging allowances, according to OPM.
The performance pay system for intelligence employees gets a qualified thumbs up from the independent panel that examined it. The National Academy of Public Administration recommends the Defense Department move ahead with the system, known as Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System, according to GovExec. In a report, NAPA said the system is soundly designed, but it recommended a “more thoughtful, incremental and methodical approach” to establishing it. Management should receive better training, communicate more clearly with employees, and create a formal feedback process, NAPA said.
Federal workers and contractors might want to be more careful before using their fleet charge cards. Federal Times reports, as part of an ongoing effort to sniff out abuse of the General Services Administration fleet card program, 11 people have been arrested, 12 have been indicted and 11 have pleaded guilty in cases of fraud between last October and the end of March.
NASA workers who are about to lose their jobs will be getting some help finding new ones. The government has awarded a $15 million emergency grant to Florida’s Brevard County to retrain NASA workers who will lose their jobs when the space shuttles are retired. The shuttle program is scheduled to end after two more launches from the Kennedy Space Center this year, and Florida officials have estimated as many as 8,000 NASA-related jobs will be lost. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the grant is intended to help retrain about 3,200 of them who are currently under contract with major aerospace companies.
The safest big cities in America all sit on the border with Mexico. According to a new FBI report, San Diego, Phoenix, El Paso and Austin, Texas have the lowest rates of violent crime. Meanwhile, an in-house Customs and Border Protection report shows that Border Patrol agents face less danger than police in most cities. Three percent of Border Patrol agents and officers were assaulted last year, mostly when assailants threw rocks at them. But 11 percent of police officers and sheriff’s deputies were assaulted during the same period, often with guns or knives. The AP obtained the Customs reported under a FOIA request.
Tens of millions of dollars in federal property is missing or unaccounted for at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the largest U.S. diplomatic mission abroad, according to an internal State Department audit released Wednesday. The report from the department’s inspector general found that 159 of the embassy’s 1,168 vehicles, worth $18.5 million, are unaccounted for.
The Patent and Trademark Office is betting inventors would pay a surcharge to fast track a decision on their applications. Patent Office chief David Kappos will propose a new surcharge for applicants who want their inventions to go to the head of the line. That’s reported in the Wall Street Journal. It takes nearly 35 months for an application to make it through the process, up from 27 months in 2003. A standard application costs $545.
The Patent and Trademark Office is teaming up with Google in a no-cost, two-year deal to make bulk data electronically available to the public for free. NextGov reports, the PTO lacks the capability to offer the bulk data service, and is using the Google arrangement while it finds a contractor to build a system. In the meantime, PTO chief David Kappos wants the agency to comply with the open government directive of the Obama administration. The Google-operated site will include patents granted, published applications; trademark applications; trademark trial and appeal board proceedings.
Edena Wood had thought about it for years but finally decided it was time to leave after nearly 65 years as a federal employee, and today will be her last day. She’s 83. The Washington Post reports she began working for the FBI as a fingerprint clerk in July 1945. After 30 years with the bureau, she moved on to the Internal Revenue Service as a secretary in August 1976.