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FEMA App Adds Crowdsourcing for Disaster Relief – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • How do people end up hiring the “wrong people?” Geoff Smart was the lunch keynote at NextGen. He outlined 3 common ways: the clone effect (hiring people like yourself), the art critic (I know what I like..) and the hypothetical questions approach (hypothetical questions leads to hypothetical answers, which isn’t very helpful). Click here for the full recap.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released an update to its Android app Monday, which enables users to submit disaster-related images to be publicly hosted on the FEMA website. Mashable reports that the app allows users to add short text descriptions to photos, which then go through a basic approval process to ensure images are relevant and do not disclose personal information. The iOS update will be available shortly.
  2. Apparently, agency spending on travel to conferences is “vital to making government more efficient and effective.” According to Government Executive, a new study released by the U.S. Travel Association finds that current Obama administration guidelines and legislation to limit conference spending is counterproductive for agencies. In 2011, government spending on travel has a total economic impact of $24.4 billion, creating 343,800 U.S. jobs and supporting $14.5 billion in U.S. wages.
  3. The Federal Aviation Administration has officially certified two small drones for commercial use, which could lead to the first approved commercial flight of an unmanned air system off the Alaska coast later this summer. Nextgov reports that the agency type-certified the Scan Eagle X200 and the AeroVironment PUMA to be utilized for aerial surveillance. A major energy company plans to fly the Scan Eagle off the Alaskan coast in international waters beginning in August.
  4. Last week, we reported that the Justice Department would begin employing unpaid lawyers to support work due to the sequestration-induced hiring freeze. This week, after being condemned by a number of federal unions and associations, most notable the National Association of United States Attorneys, the DOJ released a statement asserting that the department was not recruiting volunteers, but rather gratuitous services. According to Government Executive, the federal statute sets a maximum on the amount the department can pay for its attorneys, but its sets no minimum.
  5. Today, a military judge will announce her verdict on the trial of Bradley Manning, the Army private who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks. The Washington Post reports that if Manning is found guilty of all charges, including aiding the enemy, he will face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Manning has already plead guilty to a number of lesser charges, including unauthorized possession of information relating to national defense. If convicted, the sentencing phase will begin Wednesday.
  6. On Monday, the Senate confirmed James Comey as the seventh director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with 93-1 vote. According to NBC News, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the first senator to vote against an FBI director since 1972. Two other senators, both Democrats from Oregon, simply voted present. All other confirmed FBI directors were approved by the Senate either unanimously or without dissenting votes.
  7. Before the Senate departs for August break at the end of the week, they plan to vote on a number of White House nominees. The Washington Post reports that the Senate will vote on the five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm, the U.S. representative to the United Nations, and a number of non-controversial nominees. The nomination of B. Todd Jones as the Director of the ATF is likely to spark controversy due to the still-lingering debate over “Fast and Furious.”

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

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