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The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a little-known board created in 2007 on a 9/11 Commission recommendation, had been given new life due to this summer’s revelations of domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency. According to Government Executive, the board contained no appointees or staff leadership until this month, when President Obama appointed the first executive director, attorney Sharon Bradford Franklin. The independent agency consists of four part-time members and a full-time chair who advise the president and Congress on the balance between security and privacy.
- On Monday, the White House began accepting submissions for the annual Presidential Saving Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award, which recognizes cost-cutting ideas from rank-and-file federal workers. The Washington Post reports that all participants have a short window to submit ideas for the contest, which ends this Friday. The SAVE Award was launched in 2009 and President Obama has implemented 80 SAVE ideas in his last four budgets.
The Interior Department’s cloud hosting services contract can finally be used by bureaus, now that it is free from protests. On July 26, the Court of Federal Claims denied CenturyLink’s protest, stating that the court did not “consider the standard for injunctive relief met.” According to Federal News Radio, this was CenturyLink’s third unsuccessful protest of the cloud contract that could be worth $1 billion over nine years. The contract was awarded to 10 other companies, including AT&T, Verizon, and IBM.
- Donald Trump is moving forward with plans to revamp the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C. He plans to convert the building into a luxury hotel with 260-rooms, a restaurant, spa, and conference facilities. Federal Times reports that Trump will lease the 114-year-old facility from GSA for 60 years at a price of $200 million and pay all the costs for fixing it up. Trump will be required to maintain the historic characteristics of the building, including the Post Office Tower, which is operated by the Department of Interior through the Parks Service.
- Before Congressional members left for August recess, they approved the Stop Government Abuse Act. According to the Washington Post, the bill allows agencies to place senior executives on leave without pay before investigations into misconduct allegations have been concluded. Further, it would prohibit bonuses from exceeding 5-percent of a worker’s salary during sequestration. Finally, it would allow individuals the right to record meetings with federal employees in person and by phone. Some view the bill as another way to make federal workers the scapegoat for the nation’s problems.
- Senator Mark Udall (D-CO), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is placing a hold on the nomination of Stephen Preston to become the Pentagon’s general counsel, the Defense Department’s top lawyer. Currently, Preston serves as the CIA’s top lawyer. POLITICO reports the Senator Udall still has many question that have not been answered and wishes to allow more time to get some answers. It is suspected these questions relate to the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs.
- The Treasury Department is about to send billions of dollars in civil penalties from the 2010 BP oil spill to Gulf Coast states to help pay for ecological and economic restoration. According to The Hill, on Friday, the department used a proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget to implement the Restore Act, a 2011 law that ensures 80-percent of Clean Water Act fines go to states affected by the disaster. BP, in the ongoing civil case brought by the Justice Department, faces up to $17.6 billion in Clean Water Act fines.
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