Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast – April 20th

IG: FEMA unprepared for disaster Annual celebration of feds on the Mall canceled TSA union voting ends Hatch Act prohibits most Obama photos

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.

  • FEMA’s existing information technology systems do not support disaster response activities effectively. That, in a critical report from Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General. The report also says that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s CIO “does not have an adequate understanding” of existing information technology resources and needs throughout the agency. As a result, says the IG, “systems are not integrated, do not meet user requirements, and do not provide the information technology capabilities agency personnel and its external partners need to carry out disaster response and recovery operations in a timely or effective manner.” The OIG listed six recommendations, including developing a comprehensive IT strategic plan, establishing an agency-wide IT budget planning process, and putting together a consolidated modernization approach for FEMA’s mission-critical systems.
  • There will be no celebration of Public Service Recognition Week on the National Mall in Washington this year. The recently passed 2011 budget has no funding for the event, says president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, Max Stier. Congress historically has appropriated $150,000 dollars for the event. Stier tells Federal Times that while other funding sources are available, Congress’ decision seriously impacted their ability run their annual events on the Mall. Public Service Recognition Week runs from May 1st to the 7th. Stier says events recognizing public servants will continue across the nation.
  • Transportation Security Administration airport screeners find out today which union will represent them. Voting concluded yesterday. The choice is between the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union. Vote counting is conducted by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Some 43,000 members are at stake. Federal Times reports, the winning union could reap up to $16 million annually in new dues. Yesterday, leaders of both unions were predicting victory. But AFGE president John Gage tells the paper, he’s a nervous wreck.
  • Troubles continue for the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic controllers. The FAA is investigating why a plane carrying First Lady Michelle Obama was only three miles from another jet as it was approaching Andrews Air Force Base. Planes are required to be five miles apart. The plane carrying the first lady had to abort its landing, circle around and try another approach. There was reportedly little risk, but this is another embarrassment for the FAA.
  • The Office of Personnel Management extends a helping hand to agencies working to finalize their telework policies. The plans are due June 7th. In issuing tips for fashioning telework policies, OPM tells agencies what to cover. That includes who is eligible, management and worker responsibilities, and how the plan will be implemented. Detailed telework policies are required under the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010.
  • Federal agencies are doing an excellent job at reducing their carbon emissions, according to the agencies themselves. Nineteen of 20 agencies claim success in becoming greener, according to the first scorecard of agency efforts to cut emissions. Energy usage reduction, and the scorecards, are required by a 2009 executive order. Fewer agencies report success at turning their buildings green or reducing use of potable water.
  • Now that President Obama has officially declared his candidacy for reelection, federal employees are not allowed to have any unofficial pictures in their offices featuring the Commander in Chief – unless they happen to be in it, too. The Office of Special Counsel has just released new guidance reminding federal employees that the Hatch Act prohibits feds from – among other things – displaying pictures of candidates for partisan public office in the federal workplace. There are two exceptions: the official presidential portrait or pictures of the president conducting official business. The other exception is if it’s a personal picture which includes you in it.

More news links

Anti-bomb plan for Pentagon annex posted online (Reuters)

NASA losing large amounts of high-tech equipment (ABC)

Stop Loss Pay Extended (defense.gov)

Spy agency reveals invisible ink formula (CNN)

THIS AFTERNOON ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Coming up today on In Depth with Francis Rose:

— Solving the procurement puzzle: it’s a people problem! Answers from procurement HR expert Erin Patera.

— The cybersecurity pipeline is finally filling up. The head of Computer Research Associates’ Computing Community Consortium tells you what kind of people will be applying for your cyber jobs.

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