Countdown: Border patrol cuts contractor workforce, budget woes in Calif.

Today’s Federal News Countdown guests:
Derrick T. Dortch, President of The Diversa Group
Josh Sawislak, Senior Fellow of Telework Exchange

Derrick Dortch’s stories
#3 Congressional Security and the Tucson Shooting
From Stratfor Global Intelligence:

Following the Jan. 8 shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Federal District Judge John McCarthy Roll and 17 others in Tucson, Arizona, discussion has focused on the motivations and ideology of the accused shooter, Jared Loughner. While it was important to make a quick assessment of Loughner’s profile in order to evaluate the possibility of an organized threat, all the available evidence (though not conclusive) indicates that he acted alone.

For the most part, discussion of the event has not touched on a re-evaluation of security for members of Congress. STRATFOR has previously analyzed the issues surrounding presidential security, and while there are common concerns in protecting all branches of government, Congress and the judiciary involve much larger numbers of people — 535 representatives and senators and more than 3,000 federal judges. And members of Congress put a high priority on public accessibility, which makes them more vulnerable.


A common mindset of politicians and their staffers is that better security will limit their accessibility and thus hinder their ability to do their job (and win elections). In fact, there are a number of measures that members of Congress and other public officials can institute for better security without limiting accessibility. While staying in a secure facility would be the safest, it isn’t a realistic option. What is realistic — and effective — is the prudent employment of protective intelligence as well as some measure of physical protection on the move.

#2 EEOC reports record rise in bias complaints, progress in trimming backlog
From Government Executive:

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday reported that private sector job discrimination complaints rose to an unprecedented level of nearly 100,000 in fiscal 2010, an increase of 6,715 over the previous year, while the agency documented clear progress in reducing a backlog of unprocessed charges.

Through its programs in enforcement, mediation and litigation over complaints of bias — based on race, gender, disability, religion and retaliation — EEOC in 2010 secured more than $404 million in benefits for victims from employers. That is the highest level of monetary relief ever obtained by the commission through the administrative process, the report said.

#1 CBP to cut its IT contractor workforce in half
From Federal News Radio:

In an effort to combat an overreliance on contractors, Customs and Border Protection’s technology office will reduce its contract employee staff by half in the next year.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Information and Technology Ken Ritchhart said his office wants to revamp its workforce in the coming year, in part, by replacing contract employees with federal hires.

Last year the agency had about 3,400 contractors and 1,500 government employees. Ritchhart said he plans to cut the number of contractors by 1,200 and raise the number of federal employees to 2,500 by the end of this year.

Josh Sawislak’s stories
#3 New law prohibits genetic screening for jobs

Federal regulations making it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers or job applicants based on their genetic information became effective Monday.

The rules should be familiar to Oregon employers — the state has prohibited use of genetic screening in employment since the mid-1990s, according to state records.

Still the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission created more detailed regulations for the federal law, said Melinda Grier, who teaches employment law at the University of Oregon School of Law.

“I think it’s an additional protection,” she said.

#2 From the archive: Guns in America
From The Economist:

AFTER a spate of political shootings, and amidst much concern over the impact of television on America’s impressionable youth (and, in particular, of violent news footage from Vietnam), in 1968 Lyndon Johnson’s administration proposed a series of changes to gun laws. Below is an unedited version of what The Economist had to say on the subject, from the issue of July 13th of that year. The article also reproduces a dartboard that was on sale in Los Angeles at the time of Robert Kennedy’s assassination, suggesting that there are no new arguments in American politics. Its manufacturers described it as “great new game in the great American tradition of self-expression,” a better defence than the former governor of Alaska put up for her now famous map with cross-hairs.

#1 Brown asks for deep cuts, five-year extension of taxes
From Sacramento Bee blog:

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a budget today that relies on $12.5 billion in spending cuts over the next 18 months and higher taxes over the next five years to solve the state budget deficit.

“What I propose will be painful,” Brown said.

However, he told reporters at the Capitol, “It’s better to take our medicine now and get the state on balanced footing.”

Brown’s budget will include an 8 percent to 10 percent cut in state worker pay. According to his press release, Brown wants to save “$308 million for a 10 percent reduction in take-home pay for state employees not currently covered under collective bargaining agreements.”