The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Wednesday the 23th of May, 2012
- Four of the Secret Service employees who were dismissed for inappropriate conduct in Colombia last month are fighting back. The Washington Post reports, the agents are arguing that the agency is making them scapegoats for behavior that the Secret Service has long tolerated, a charge that Director Mark Sullivan may have to address when he appears before a Senate committee later today. Several of the implicated agents have told associates that the facts of what happened in Cartagena differ from initial media accounts describing a group outing of a dozen men in search of prostitutes. Instead, the men went to different bars and clubs and met women under a variety of circumstances, in some cases resulting in voluntary trysts that did not involve money. One 29-year-old field agent assigned to the Washington office, who is single and who resigned under the threat of being fired, told investigators under a polygraph examination that he did not think at the time that the two women he brought back to his hotel room were prostitutes.
- The General Services Administration is in hot water again after bonuses to more than 60 top ranking officials were uncovered. WUSA 9 led the investigation that found 67 bonuses of about $10,000 apiece to senior GSA officials, including five with links to the agency's Las Vegas scandal. The inquiry also found the GSA bonuses that were never reported in a federal payroll database.
- The General Services Administration is moving the implementation date of the System for Award Management (SAM) from May 29, 2012 to the end of July 2012. The additional sixty days will allow federal agencies to continue preparing their staff, give agencies and commercial system providers even more time to test their data transfer connections, and will ensure SAM contains the critical, documented capabilities users need from the system.
- The hacker group Anonymous is set to release a trove data from their attack on the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. Government Computer News says the 1.7 Gigabytes of data includes internal emails and statistics about cyber crime. The Justice Department has acknowledged the attack but contends that the bureau's website was not taken offline during the attack.
- Senator Ben Cardin has introduced a bill that could help more small business compete for federal contracts. Federal News Radio says the bill would raise the governmentwide small business prime goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and the sub-contracting goal from 35.9 percent to 40 percent. Senator Cardin said that since two out of every three new jobs are created by small businesses raising the goal just makes sense.
- Happy birthday data.gov. The federal open-government website turns three years old this month. The General Services Administration is marking the anniversary by releasing an open-source version of the platform, hoping it will catch on in other countries. Federal News Radio says the US and India have been working together since last December to produce what they call "data.gov in a box," a toolkit that governments can use to make their data and documents available to the public. It's based on the open source Drupal system, and includes a website, a data management system and social networking plugins.
- And over on GovLoop, we’re talking about government as a platform. Companies like Facebook are not successful solely due to their unique product, but because of their ability to harness the innovative minds of its users. We’re asking you, is time for Government to start doing more of the same?
On today’s program
- Twitter, facebook, google plus, the public is using social media to reach out to government -- that’s great. But how do you respond? EPA has new guidance. We’ll talk to the man behind it Jeffrey Levy.
- Why human resources matters -- especially in government. Insights from Tom Fox at the Partnership for Public Service.
- Helping wounded warriors heal -- one fly fish at a time.