Wednesday federal headlines – May 8, 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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • IBM says it’s won a 10-year, $123 million deal to replace the HR system at the Veterans Affairs Department. IBM will lead a 10-company team to develop all new software and provide it to VA as a service. IBM says HR software-as-a-service will be a first in the federal government. The contract makes the company an HR Line of Business Shared Services Center under the federal shared services initiative. IBM says the new system will go online next January, and be available to 300,000 VA employees by 2015. (IBM)
  • It could be a hot, hot summer especially at the State Department. It is turning up the temperature in its offices this summer to save money. It will be a balmy 75 to 77 degrees. It’s normally 72 degrees. Officials tell Gov Exec: the State Department typically pays 30 to 40 percent more for electricity in summer than in winter. The exact savings will depend on just how hot Washington gets. The department recently announced it would not furlough employees because of sequestration. (GovExec)
  • Loopty loops just aren’t good enough for dollar bills. There are signs that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is practicing his signature now that it’s going on the currency. On the 2013 annual report for the Financial Stability Oversight Council, Lew’s loops are gone. In there place are three distinctive words, although it’s still hard to distinguish all the letters. President Barack Obama has joked about Lew’s slinky-like scrawl, suggesting it could debase the currency. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department has reshuffled its priorities in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing. Secretary Janet Napolitano says it will move ahead on a program for online verification of student visas. Digital verification of U.S. visitors has been in development for a decade, but now the student segment will deploy around June 1. NextGov reports, DHS has been working on the system more intensively for the past several months. Before Boston, it had been planning on leading with a system to check foreigners with arrest records. (NextGov)
  • One of the government’s most prominent chief information officers has resigned. Richard Spires, who joined the Homeland Security Department in 2009, left yesterday after being on administrative leave for two months. No reason for the departure was made public. In an email to colleagues, Spires said it was a privilege to work with what he called a stellar group of public servants supporting important missions. Spires was also co-chairman of the CIO Council. He spearheaded the federal data center consolidation effort. Spires in March received the annual Eagle Award from Federal Computer Week before an audience of some 700 people. A DHS spokesman said Margie Graves will continue as acting CIO. (Federal News Radio)