Tuesday morning federal headlines – Oct. 2, 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 FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • One Veterans Affairs official has quit because of a tough inspector general report about wasteful conference spending. John Sepulveda, the assistant secretary for Human Resources and Administration, resigned Sunday, a day before the report. Auditors found VA wasted $762,000 on two training conferences. The report said Sepulveda abdicated his oversight responsibilities and lied to investigators. Also cited in the IG report were Alice Muellerweiss, dean of the VAA Learning University, and Tonya Deanes, deputy assistant secretary for human resources management. The IG said VA Chief of Staff John Gingrich failed to look into the cost of the conferences even though he authorized them. (Federal News Radio)
  • The biggest federal contractor has decided not to warn employees of potential layoffs from sequestration. This is a reversal of the company’s earlier stance. In a memo, Lockheed Martin chairman Robert Stevens told employees the company will go along with White House guidance. In exchange for not issuing WARN Act notices, the administration said agencies will cover legal and compensation costs for employees who may eventually lose their jobs because of sequestration. Stevens said he was told by Defense Department officials not to expect any contract actions on or near Jan. 2, the scheduled date for the automatic budget cuts. (Lockheed Martin)
  • Members of Congress are going ahead and posting their financial transactions online, as required by the STOCK Act. The law became effective yesterday. It’s designed to show that members don’t trade on inside information. Postings reveal House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) bought stock in two health care companies this year. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) bought two government bonds and sold two others. President Barack Obama signed an amendment delaying application of the STOCK Act to career civil servants while a think tank studies the issue. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Postal Service is offering buyouts to members of one of its biggest unions. It will pay full-time postal workers 15,000 to quit by early next year. The American Postal Workers Union said all of its nearly 190,000 members are eligible since the postal service is willing to pay those who resign as well as retire. Full-time workers will have to decide by December. Others have until January. This is the third buyout the Postal Service has offered this year. The agency said labor is its biggest expense. (Federal News Radio)
  • A new Freedom of Information Act website has launched. FOIAonline is a joint development of several agencies, led by the Environmental Protection Agency. It lets visitors communicate directly online with FOIA officers at participating agencies. These include EPA, the Merit Systems Protection Board, Commerce, Federal Labor Relations Authority and the National Archives. Other agencies are expected to join in the coming months. FOIA requesters can also track the progress of their requests online. Several good-government groups have praised the site. (Federal News Radio)