Monday morning federal headlines – June 25, 2012

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 Postal Service may be struggling with money, but it’s gaining ground on its competitors in at least one respect. The agency has reached record levels of customer satisfaction. It has caught up to UPS and come close to Fed Ex. The American Customer Satisfaction Index gives the Postal Service a rating of 81. That also means it’s more popular than Congress by nearly four to one. (ACSI)
  • Whether it’s Obama or Romney in the fall, the Office of Personnel Management is gearing up for a transition. It is asking agencies to help draft a list of plum jobs — more than 7,000 appointed roles that could change over in a new administration. At the same time, the personnel agency is encouraging agencies to use a new workbook to hire top officials who would stay in any case. It’s an attempt to make hiring senior executive service members simpler for everyone. The workbook says agencies should rely on resumes, use clear language to describe what they’re looking for and consider internal candidates. It also says agencies need a marketing plan because good recruiting goes beyond posting an online ad. (OPM)
  • Even though Congress has gone three years without passing a transportation bill, the federal government is continuing to award funding for highway projects. GovExec reported 47 local and regional infrastructure projects around the country have just won funding through the so-called TIGER program, which stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery. This follows a nationwide competition for a share in a $500 million pot of federal funds. Money for rebuilding roads and bridges has been allocated through a series of stopgap measures. Transportation will run out of funds unless Congress acts this week. (GovExec)
  • Labor is awarding $15 million in efforts to combat homelessness among veterans. The department says 64 groups around the country are getting money to provide job training for homeless vets. The Washington Post quotes a senior Labor Department official as saying more job training grants will probably be awarded in the next couple of years. The administration has set a goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the number of homeless veterans in the country is now below 60,000. (The Washington Post)
  • Curious if your staff is talking about you behind your back? Well, too bad. A new memo from the Office of the Special Counsel warns agency leaders not to monitor employees’ emails to see if they are reporting wrongdoing. Chief information officers and general counsels got a special reminder from the White House not to do anything that would have a chilling effect on whistleblowers. (Federal News Radio)