The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Washington Post reports so far this year there have been 22 potentially dangerous mistakes by air traffic controllers who command the skies above Washington, surpassing the 18 in all of last year. According to the Post, only 49 out of 177 controllers for the area are fully accredited, meaning many are learning on the job. Adding to the pressure is the mandatory retirement age of 56 or after 25 years of service for controllers. As a result, the mass hiring in the years after the Reagan firings has brought about mass retirements in recent years.
If you can’t pay your bills and handle your personal life properly, you can’t keep your job. That message to 39 workers for the Defense Finance Accounting Service who have been terminated after personal problems turned up in background checks. DFAS Director Terri McKay says the security reviews uncovered financial problems and personal misconduct. The workers had access to sensitive information, like Social Security numbers, banking data and information on retiree pay for civilians and military servicemembers.
CACI is hiring. The defense contractor expects to hire 200-to-300 people in its new office on the Aberdeen Proving Ground once the BRAC shuffle is complete sometime next year. It isn’t clear how many will be new hires and how many will be relocated from the Ft. Monmouth location in New Jersey. The Washington Business Journal reports that defense contractors and cyber security firms are eager to find qualified workers with security clearances.
The debt-plagued Postal Service is raising what it’ll cost you to mail something. The announcement expected later today will cover first-class mail and other kinds of packages. The Postal Service lost $3.8 billion dollars last year, as mail volume declined. Today’s announcement will not be final, however. The rate increase will need approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission.
The case of a Hawaii Census worker arrested for trespassing while trying to do his job is heading to federal court. The Census worker found trouble on Hawaii’s Big Island in March 20 when a resident refused to accept Census forms and told the worker to leave his fenced property. The resident, a county police officer, called his co-workers, and the fed was arrested. A federal prosecutor is asking a judge to dismiss the charges.
Federal wildlife leaders may have underestimated the effects of a major oil spill on endangered species. A September 2007 memo from the Fish and Wildlife Service said that large oil spills from Gulf drilling projects were unlikely to affect brown pelicans, sea turtles and other endangered animals. The memo, first reported by the New York Times, concluded only a 26 percent chance that oil from a spill of at least 1,000 barrels would reach those animals and their habitats.
Unemployment insurance fraud reached nearly $3 billion nationwide in 2009, according to Labor Department estimates. That’s twice the fraud as in 2008. Even though the rate of fraud fell in 2009, the total dollars lost rose because the country’s total dollars for unemployment insurance rose — from $49 billion to $140 billion. The most common type of fraud is people continuing to collect even after they get a job. But organized fraud rings steal much more, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars at a time, according to the Wall Street Journal. Extension of benefits to 99 weeks may have attracted more fraudsters.
NASA’s space shuttle program, originally set to expire this year, will keep going until next year if the White House signs off on a new plan. Last week NASA said it needs more time to prepare cargo for its final two shuttle missions that were to take place before the end of 2010. NASA leaders are also considering adding a third mission, but won’t decide until next month. Now the next-to-last shuttle launch, of Discovery, is scheduled for November 1st. The last launch, of Endeavor, is scheduled for February 26, 2011. Meanwhile, a Russian supply ship carrying tons of food successfully docked at the International Space Station over the weekend after missing an attempt last week.
** OMB is frustrated with continuing problems with government IT systems. We’ll flesh out the problems — and a few solutions — with Deloitte’s Bill Eggers, the author of If We Can Put a Man on the Moon
** And we’ll introduce you to a man who has devoted 20 years years fighting HIV/AIDS. His work has scored him a spot as a finalist for the SAMMIES Awards. You’ll meet him this afternoon.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-8 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.