The 7 Gov’t Stories you need to know: OMB says agencies need to cut travel by 30%

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday the 14th of May, 2012

  1. The Office of Management and Budget has directed agencies to cut travel spending by 30 percent. It’s part of the White House’s mission to crack down on government waste. The director of the Office of Management and Budget — Jeffrey Zients — has issued new guidance that asks agencies to increase efficiency and strengthen accountability in the areas of travel, conferences, real estate, and fleet management. Zients says earlier measures to reduce costs are already working. He says so far, these efforts have produced more than $280 million in reduced costs in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2010.
  2. The Pentagon has rejected two House bills that would have increased Defense Department budget by more than 4 billion dollars. The Federal Times says the two bills will likely be dead on arrival when the Democrat-controlled Senate. Democrats have pledged to cap defense spending at the lower levels mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the increases recommended by House lawmakers “reverse many of the tough decisions that we reached” through a sweeping military strategy review.
  3. The Office of Personnel Management is changing the way it hires young people. The Federal Times says starting in July the three-tiered Pathways Programs will get a makeover. The new program will consist of an Internship Program for current students, a Recent Graduates Program for people who have received a degree in the last two years or veterans who got a degree in the last six years, and the existing Presidential Management Fellows Program.
  4. The Secret Service is headed to Capitol Hill. A Senate committee has set the date for a public airing of the Secret Service prostitution scandal. Agency Director Mark Sullivan is expected to testify on May 23. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sent Sullivan a letter asking him to clarify the agency’s rules on drinking alcohol, both on- and off-duty. The AP says the committee also wanted to know the agency’s policies on paying for sex in countries where prostitution is legal. Since the scandal last month, Secret Service investigators have interviewed the prostitutes and other witnesses at the Colombian hotel.
  5. The Marine Corps has awarded 10 companies slots on a contract to buy 400,000 computers. The Common Hardware Suite program has an estimated value of $775 million. NextGov says the contract covers everything from servers to tablets. The Marine Corps wants its members to have standardized devices to connect to an enterprise network the Navy plans to build. The 10 companies would compete for task orders. They include CDWG, Dell, GTSI and several small companies.
  6. A new bill could automatically increase the amount that agencies contribute to your Thrift Savings Plan. Government Executive says the Save More Tomorrow Act, a bill that has been circulating throughout Capitol Hill will be officially introduced today.. The measure would automatically increase the amount some civilian employees contribute to their TSP accounts gradually over several years. Under the new legislation an individual’s contribution rate would increase by 1 percent annually until the full employer match takes effect — usually at 5 percent — two years after the initial contribution.
  7. And on GovLoop, we’re talking about an organization’s culture. How big of an impact does that have on you — would you switch jobs for a different environment? GovLoop member Nicholas Charney says in a hyper connected world where the expectations of entrants to the labour market are set by market makers your work culture will be the single most important determining factor when considering how to attract top talent. Do you agree? Chime in?

On today’s program

  • Follow the money — federal government style. We’ll take a look at the new Digital Accountability and Transparency Act — with a guy who knows a thing or two about transparency RAT board executive director — Michael Wood.
  • Salary, benefits, mission — they’re all important qualities you should look for when picking your next career. But one expert says don’t forget to check out community culture. He tells us why?
  • The key to technological innovation might just be connections. Find out why? From author Tom Koulopoulos.

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