Monday morning federal headlines – Oct. 24

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.

  • Maybe telework doesn’t hurt the office dynamic. But it depends on whom you ask. A Federal News Radio online poll showed that only 24 percent of those that telework said they think it harms relationships between coworkers. But 46 percent of non-teleworkers think it does hurt. The more someone teleworks also seems to have an effect on how close they believe they are with their coworkers: 72 percent of teleworkers believe they are just as close to their teleworking colleagues as their non-teleworking colleagues. Only 54 percent of non-teleworkers believe the same. Most respondents agree that access to the right technology helps maintain a good group dynamic while telework is in use. More than 830 people took Federal News Radio’s online survey between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22. (Federal News Radio)
  • Agencies are being more aggressive about suspending and debarring contractors who break the rules. Departments suspended more than 600 vendors in 2010, which is nearly 200 more than the year before. Agencies also debarred more than 1,600 contractors and recommended another 1,900 should be debarred — that’s an increase of almost 1,200 from the year before. The report comes as lawmakers are focusing more on making sure agencies don’t contract with vendors who break the law. (Federal News Radio)
  • It appears that the Commonwealth of Virginia is courting government contractor Lockheed Martin. Virginia governor Bob McDonnell told the Washington Post. Maryland, on the other hand, has already lost two defense contractors to Virginia, including Northrop Grumman which chose Virginia over Maryland for its global headquarters. It all started when a Maryland county council talked about passing a resolution asking Congress to spend less on wars, which irked Lockheed. (The Washington Post)
  • The Washington Business Journal reports that Bechtel Power will maintain the company’s operations and more than 1,200 jobs in Frederick, Md. through at least 2018. The decision is the result of a $9.5 million conditional loan from Maryland’s Sunny Day economic development fund. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Bechtel will stop shopping for office space in Northern Virginia. A Bechtel spokeswoman said the company is still studying its options for the rest of the employees and company functions currently in Frederick, including its government services and operations divisions. (Washington Business Journal)
  • Your access to drug choices could be limited, depending on what the Congressional supercommittee decides, GovExec reports. The deficit reduction super committee is looking at changes to the way pharmacy benefits are negotiated for feds. The proposal would allow the Office of Personnel Management to negotiate prices for all drug program participants. OPM would work with a single pharmacy benefit manager. The administration says it could save $1.6 billion dollars over 10 years. The idea is part of President Obama’s cost cutting package that he unveiled last month. (GovExec)