Friday federal headlines – April 25, 2014

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The Homeland Security Department’s former internal watchdog goes on administrative leave after the Senate releases a report accusing him of misconduct. The report says Charles Edwards was too cozy with the senior officials he was supposed to investigate. It says he rewrote, delayed or classified some critical reports to accommodate department leaders. Edwards was the acting inspector general until December. He took another job within DHS just a day before he was supposed to testify before the Senate. Secretary Jeh Johnson says the other officials implicated in the report have left the department. The report was released by the Senate Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight. (Federal News Radio)
  • For the first time in seven years, all federal agencies met their goal of using small businesses for 23 percent of contracting. The announcement came yesterday at the Small Business conference hosted by the American Council for Technology and the Industry Advisory Council, ACT-IAC. Despite the success, the small business contracting community sees warning signs of a different problem. Firms are seeing a rise in contract bundling and consolidations. Reduced spending means fewer opportunities, and to make matters worse, agencies are not meeting requirements to justify their decisions to consolidate contracts. (Federal News Radio)
  • If you owe money to the Thrift Savings Plan, you’ll have to pay it back even if you leave the government. Starting next month, the Treasury Department will garnish wages of former federal employees in debt to the retirement plan. A spokesperson for the board that runs the TSP says that debt is often because the TSP has overpaid a participant. She estimates the board could recover about a half-million dollars. If you owe money, you’ll get a 30-day warning before Treasury deducts it from your paycheck. (Federal News Radio)
  • A former background investigator who worked under an Office of Personnel Management contract pleaded guilty to falsifying work. Brian Rapier from Sumter, S.C., will pay more than $173,000 in restitution and could face up to five years in prison. Rapier wrote many reports claiming he had interviewed a source or checked a record in order to do background investigations, when in fact, he had not done the work background work at all. (Associated Press)
  • There are some shakeups in the General Services Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Bev Godwin plans to retire as director of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. Her last day will be May 2. Former GSA Inspector General Brian Miller, who you may remember as the auditor who uncovered the excessive conference spending scandal at GSA, plans to head to the private sector. Washington Business Journal reports that Miller will be managing director of Navigant Consulting’s DC office. Joe Klimavicz will be the new Justice Department chief information officer. He leaves NOAA after more than seven years as the CIO and director of high performance computing and communications. (Federal News Radio)
  • The next leader of the Office of Management and Budget needs to embrace oversight and reforms to the federal workforce. One senator sends his early advice in a letter to President Barack Obama. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) says he wants a director who will overhaul the federal background check process and make rule-making more transparent. He says the right person will understand the roles of inspectors general and other watchdogs. Tester chairs the Senate panel on the federal workforce. (Federal News Radio)
  • Suicides across the entire military dropped by 15 percent last year, but that good news doesn’t extend to the Army National Guard and Reserve soldiers , whose rate of suicide increased. The overall numbers illustrate that prevention programs are working. But the outlier numbers of the Reserve and the Army’s National Guard cause worry that citizen soldiers don’t have the same access to resources as their active duty counterparts. Across the U.S. and usually in rural communities, members of the Army National Guard and Reservists report for training about one weekend a month. They often do not have easy access to medical and mental health services, which is why the prevention efforts often sometimes cannot find these individuals. (Associated Press)


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