The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Wednesday the 18th of April, 2012:
- Three Secret Service employees implicated in a prostitution scandal during President Obama’s trip to Colombia last week are being forced out of the agency, officials said Wednesday night. The head of the Secret Service has told other government officials that the agency plans to fire one person in connection with the investigation into the reported misconduct, according to a person briefed on the matter. The New York Times says, the director, Mark Sullivan, has also told others that one other employee implicated in the incident, which has drawn intense scrutiny, plans to retire and another will resign. Among the people leaving the agency are two supervisors. Mr. Sullivan has also said that the employee being fired has threatened to sue. “These guys have the clearest cases,” said the person briefed on the matter. Eight other agency employees are still being investigated, the person said, and will probably face some type of discipline or termination.
- For the second time this week, top military brass are condemning military personnel. This time after photographs surfaced of smiling soldiers posing with dead insurgents in Afghanistan. The Washington Post says the 18 photographs were taken in 2010 in Zabul province by soldiers from the 82nd Airborne’s 4th Brigade Combat Team. Although the pictures were dated, the fresh disclosure of misbehavior extends a string of recent incidents in which U.S. troops have disrespected the dead, allegedly killed Afghan civilians and desecrated the Koran.
- The man at the center of the GSA spending scandal -- Jeffrey Neely -- got help planning and executing his lavish events from his wife. The GSA IG report says that Deborah Neely accompanied her husband on dozens of trips and conferences all on the tax payer’s dime. The Washington Post says the Neelys also took a 17-day government-related trip to Hawaii, Guam and the Mariana Islands. Jeffrey Neely invoked his fifth amendment right to remain silent during yesterday’s hearing at the House.
- And in the wake of the GSA scandal Democratic Senators have introduced a new bill that calls for greater scrutiny of agency spending on conferences and tighter controls on awarding pay bonuses to agency employees. The Washington Post says, under the bill, conferences that would cost more than $200,000 would need approval by the agency head or other top-level official, and agencies would have to give annual reports on the conferences to Congress.
- In a rare show of bipartisan cooperation the House has passed a new bill that will allow retirement-eligible employees to work part time and roll their unused annual leave into their Thrift Savings Plans. Government Executive says the bill would amend the current law to allow federal employees to continue working part time while partially retired. Congressman Darrell Issa says the bill could save taxpayers approximately $465 million dollars within 10 years, since agencies would not have to replace all retirees with part-time employees.
- Federal Senior Executives are fighting back against a provision in the Stop Trading on Our Knowledge Act (STOCK). The provision requires all federal senior executives to disclose their financial information online. Government Executive says Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, and Bill Bransford, SEA general counsel, told the chairmen and ranking members of the House Oversight and Government Reform and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees about their complaints. But few on Capitol Hill have responded to the request for repeal.
- On GovLoop, we have locked down all our Keynote speakers for our upcoming Next Generation of Young Government Leaders Conference. But we are still looking for session ideas and guest speakers. Send us your thoughts, what should we include, what do you want more training on? The conference kicks off July 26th and 27th.