Friday Morning Federal Newscast – September 3rd

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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • As predicted, Thrift Savings Plan returns for the month of August aren’t pretty. All but two funds lost ground: the G fund gained 0.22% and was out-paced by the F fund which gained 1.28%. The S fund was the big loser — down 5-and-a-half percent. All the figures for the month can be found at
  • Competition for parking at the new Mark Center in Alexandria will be fierce, but not quite as vicious as it could have been. The new Pentagon administrative complex will house more than 6,400 civilian and military employees all competing now for less than 3,900 parking spaces. The National Capitol Planning Commission has approved the Army’s transportation plan for its new administrative complex in Alexandria. Federal Times reports the plan calls for at least 40 percent of arriving cars to have more than one passenger. It also estimates that 500 employees will live within two miles, so the Army will install bicycle racks and a large bank of showers. Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., inserted language into the 2011 Defense Department spending bill that would limit parking spaces to 1,000.
  • Probably not a big surprise to feds working here, but Washington, DC has the worst drivers in the country. Again. Still. The city landed in last place on the 2010 America’s Best Drivers Report from Allstate. The report ranked 160 U.S. cities based on claims data for 2007 and 2008. DC drivers are nearly twice as likely to get into a car accident than other Americans. Second-worst is nearby Baltimore, Maryland. The city with the safest drivers is Fort Collins, Colorado. DC placed last in the rankings for the second year in a row.
  • An HR tool for the intelligence community could also help your agency with hiring. It’s from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They’re still crafting it. But GovExec reports the tool works like the e-Harmony online dating site. It matches a person’s skills with vacancies. Intelligence agencies will use the tool first, but they’ve already started talking with OPM about expanding it for the rest of government.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is remaking its IT workforce. Chief Information Officer Richard Spires says he’s looking to rebalance the number of contractors and feds who work for his office. Federal Computer Week reports that when Spires started his job a year ago, 100 federal employees worked for him while the number of contractors was 900. Spires says his goal is to identify what’s best done by feds and what jobs are better for contractors.
  • A new partnership and a lot of money means a groundbreaking should be coming soon for the Andrews Federal Campus project. The project is located at the intersection of Suitland Parkway and I-495. It is just outside the entrance of Andrews Air Force Base. It is designed to be a secure business campus especially for government agencies and contractors. The Washington Business Journal reports that the developer has also closed on the sale of 12 acres to the federal government for an unnamed “federal security entity.” No word on the price of the sale. The development is expected to cost $100-million dollars and total up to a million square feet.
  • Federal prisons are failing to notify crime victims and witnesses when inmates are let out to travel by themselves for medical treatment. Worse, the Bureau of Prisons says it will take until 2017 to reinstate the notifications because of the need to negotiate the matter with an employees union. All that according to a new Justice Department inspector general report. IG Glenn Fine called the 2017 timetable excessive and unacceptable. The Bureau of Prisons first proposed a revised furlough policy back in 2003. But it has yet to negotiated the policy with the American Federation of Government Employees National Council of Prison Locals.
  • Two Agriculture Department employees are under fire for ignoring worker concerns at those egg farms in Iowa. The USDA employees worked next to the areas where nearly eight million caged hens laid eggs, but an agency spokesman says their main duties were to grade the eggs, not look for health problems. Two former workers at the egg farms say they reported leaking manure and dead chickens to the USDA employees, but nothing was done. Part of the issue is that the FDA and the USDA split responsibility for egg-laying operations, with the FDA overseeing areas where hens lay eggs and the USDA in charge of the eggs as they are packaged. The salmonella outbreak has led to a recall of more than a half billion eggs.
  • Expect more tasty mackerel, snapper and shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. That’s because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reopened another 5,000 square miles to commercial and recreational fishing. The new zone stretches from the far eastern coast of Louisiana to the western Florida panhandle. It comes within 54 miles of the BP well head. NOAA reopened the waters in consultation with the Food and Drug Administration and Gulf state governments. Tests showed no traces of oil in the area sea creatures.

More news links

Major GSA lease requests plummet (WashingtonBusinessJournal)


Can home cooking be hazardous to your health?

National Zoo debuts new, larger home for elephants (WashingtonPost)