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Justice IG calls for jurisdiction over attorneys

July 11, 2007 Senators and witnesses at a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday debated the wisdom of expanding the jurisdiction of the Justice Department's inspector general to include the agency's attorneys. Justice Department lawyers investigating, litigating and providing legal advice are exempt from IG oversight, and have been since the...

Lawmakers criticize post-Katrina funding appeals process

July 10, 2007 Senators at a Tuesday Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing cited a need for third-party reviews of contested post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction funding allotments. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who serves as ranking member on the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery, asked whether it would be "viable to set up...

Labor Department halts outsourcing of administrative jobs

July 10, 2007 The Labor Department announced last week that it has canceled a public-private competition for 328 administrative support positions that had been decided in favor of a contractor. Last Tuesday's cancellation came in response to the enactment of an emergency supplemental spending bill (H.R. 2206) with language declaring all workers within...

Interior Department unveils new ethics plan

July 6, 2007 Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne outlined a new ethics plan recently that would include more comprehensive training and standards for all department employees, including political appointees. An Interior Department spokesman confirmed that Kempthorne had proposed a "10-Point Plan to Make the Department of the Interior a Model of an Ethical Workplace"...

Foes of private tax collection regroup after House defeat

July 2, 2007 Opponents of the Internal Revenue Service's controversial pilot program to outsource collection of some tax debts will continue their resistance, despite a defeat Thursday in the House. Supporters of the pilot program used a procedural move last week to remove language from the fiscal 2008 financial services appropriations bill that...

Agencies processing discrimination complaints faster

June 28, 2007 Federal agencies cut the average time it takes to process equal employment opportunity complaints to 186 days in fiscal 2006, down from 237 days the year before, according to a new report from the agency responsible for enforcing laws against workplace discrimination. Despite the overall improvement, less than a third...

California court hears appeal in USGS age discrimination case

June 25, 2007 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco heard oral arguments last week in an ongoing legal battle between the Interior Department and 14 scientists who claim they were fired based on their age. The scientists worked in the Geologic Division of the U.S. Geological Survey....

Panel probes effort to monitor Mexican trucks at border

June 20, 2007 Witnesses testifying before a House subcommittee Tuesday debated whether the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are cooperating effectively to address the risks of a pilot program that would allow Mexican-owned trucks to cross into the United States. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, chairwoman of the Homeland...

OPM says telework has increased despite appearances

June 18, 2007 The Office of Personnel Management released a report late last week that shows what officials say is a deceptive drop in the number of federal employees working from home. The 2006 Status of Telework in the Federal Government report, released Friday, stated that 119,248 federal employees teleworked in 2005. In...

GAO urges external reviews of Homeland Security acquisition

June 14, 2007 The Homeland Security Department could strengthen its problem-ridden contract system by improving interagency communication and inviting external reviews, according to a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office. DHS has faced contracting oversight problems since 2003, when it was created from 22 different agencies, nine with their own pre-existing...

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