The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday the 13th of August, 2012
- The Defense Department is looking to improve whistle-blower protections. The DoD has seen whistle blower reprisal cases rise by about 40 percent in the past few years. Federal Times says the increase is partly due to legislative amendments that expanded the types of protected whistle-blower communications and to court cases that clarified what types of actions could be considered retaliatory, employment protection. To deal with the hike the DoD Inspector General has increased the size of its office. It’s also helping managers understand that reports of misconduct are not personal attacks, but expressions of concern about what is best for the agency and government.
- The sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas has cost a top commander there his job. Colonel Glenn Palmer was relieved of duty because his supervisors lost confidence in his ability to lead the 737th Training Group. But the supervisors stopped short of blaming Palmer for the base’s recent problems. The Los Angeles Times reports six Lackland instructors have been charged with a variety of crimes, including rape and adultery. Investigators estimate that close to 40 women were targeted by superiors who used their rank to coerce sexual favors.
- Twenty-two-year-old Naser Jason Abdo was given two consecutive life sentences on top of 60 years in prison for a bomb and shooting plot at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas last year. Abdo who represented himself told the court “I have continued to answer the call of jihad and will continue to the day I am called to account for my deeds.” The Los Angeles Times reports, Abdo told the court his acts of violence were motivated by crimes he said the U.S. has committed against Muslims. Abdo was reportedly defiant during the hearing, speaking in Arabic. He was required by officials to wear a mesh mask after he spat blood that he believed to be infected with HIV on security guards who escorted him.
- The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation into claims made by TSA officers that minorities were being improperly targeted for screening at Boston’s Logan Airport. The New York Times reports that more than 30 officers have complained to TSA about what they say is a widespread practice, one that in part results from demands from management for more searches. The TSA says it will take “immediate and decisive action” if the allegations are proven true.
- The switch to a new travel system could cost agencies millions. Federal Times reports civilian agencies agencies could also suffer delays as they transition to a new automated travel management system. That is in part because of an industry challenge has sidelined the $1.4 billion e-travel contract award by the General Services Administration.
- The Postal Service has reported a $5.2 billion loss for the third quarter of fiscal 2012. Federal Times says for the first nine months of 2012, the Postal Service has lost a total of $11.6 billion, compared with $5.7 billion at the same point last year. Back on August 1st the Postal Service defaulted on a $5.5 billion installment originally due last September. That was the first time the postal service has ever defaulted on a payment. But it might not be the last. USPS leaders say they also lack the cash to meet a $5.6 billion payment due at the end of next month.
- And on GovLoop, have you checked out our new jobs site here on GovLoop? We’ve built it on top of USAJOBS data, mashed it up with LinkedIn, GlassDoor and GovLoop information, and basically tried to provide a new approach to searching for federal jobs — just like Kayak provides new ways to search for flights. Just one of the new features allow you to filter jobs by grade and promotion potential.
On today’s program
- Every year thousands of patients die due to preventable medical errors. One man’s leading a team to eliminate those mistakes. His work has made him a service to america medal finalist. You’ll meet him.
- Making calling 911 easier and more effective — it’s called Smart911. You’ll find out how it works.
- And in the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder — NASA’s Curiosity Twitter stream and why it is awesome and Rover engineers on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.