Tuesday federal headlines – May 7, 2013

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.

  • A major federal software vendor is shifting away from packaged sales and moving to the cloud. Adobe Systems says it will no longer sell Photoshop, Illustrator and other design tools as disks in a shrink- wrapped box. Instead, it wants customers to purchase monthly subscriptions to cloud-hosted software. That way, users will always have the latest versions and updates. Users won’t be able to download copies to their machines from Adobe’s website. Adobe launched its software as a service, dubbed Creative Cloud, a year ago. Users who sign up now receive a monthly subscription rate of $39.99. (Adobe Systems)
  • A federal courthouse in Manhattan is getting a security upgrade nearly a dozen years after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. A 4,500-square-foot glass-and-steel structure will be built outside the courthouse. Security officers will screen people for weapons and explosives there. Chief Judge Loretta Preska said the General Services Administration had to “scour the country” for $10 million left over from other projects. Several terrorism trials have been conducted at the courthouse. It’s just a few blocks from the World Trade Center site. Construction will begin this fall and end in April 2015. (Federal News Radio)
  • In a first, the Securities and Exchange Commission has gone after a city. The SEC charged Harrisburg, Pa., with securities fraud. Without admitting the charges, the city agreed to settle, and the SEC levied no fines. According to the SEC order, Harrisburg misled buyers of municipal bonds about how bad its fiscal condition was. Harrisburg, the state capital, missed $14 million in interest payments to bond holders. The SEC says the city is nearly bankrupt. Harrisburg is operating under state receivership. The SEC has put all public officials on notice about misleading information in bond sales. (SEC)
  • Some furloughed federal employees could offset their forced time off with annual leave. But new guidance from the Office of Personnel Management says that’s only doable in narrow circumstances. In general, feds are barred from converting furloughs into annual leave. That’s true even if the agency later finds the furloughs were unnecessary. Annual leave does apply to people who take furlough days early, before the agency declares it has money to cover the time off. OPM cites this example. You were required to take 22 days, but only eight in April. If you took all 22 in April, and then the furlough is canceled, you can substitute for annual leave. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department is shopping for an identity-management system that lets employees use their smart ID cards to get into buildings and log onto computer networks. The department wants a system that can support at least 300,000 employees and contractors at hundreds of workstations spread throughout the country. The George W. Bush administration issued a presidential directive telling agencies to implement this type of system nearly a decade ago. Like many agencies, DHS has moved slowly. Government auditors say most agencies use the cards as “glorified ID cards” without the full capabilities. (Federal News Radio)