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NEWS: Oct. 17, 2011
Leadership | The Nation
Top Federal Managers to Get New Evaluations
The federal Senior Executive Service's some 7,000 members will get a new performance-management system as early as this month. The new system aims to evaluate the senior managers on the SES's five "core qualifications": leading people, leading change, business acumen, building coalitions and being results-driven.
>> Federal Times

Public Workforce | New York State
Union Deal Aims to Avert 3,500 Layoffs
New York's second-largest union of state workers, seeking to avoid 3,500 layoffs set to begin this week, struck a last-minute deal with Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration Sunday on wage and benefit concessions that differ only in minor ways from a package the Public Employees Federation's 55,000 members rejected last month.
>> New York Times
Letter-Carriers' Union Hires Obama's Car Czar
The union representing 280,000 U.S. Postal Service letter carriers is hiring Ron Bloom, the former banker and union official who designed President Obama's auto-industry bailout, in a sign of the intensifying battle looming over how to restructure the financially troubled agency.
>> Wall Street Journal
Obama Seeks $35 Billion for Police, First Responders
President Obama is returning to the road this week to press Congress to start passing his American Jobs Act, beginning with $35 billion for states to put teachers and first-responders to work.
>> The Hill

Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett
Mayor Thompson and Gov. Corbett
Finance | Harrisburg, Pa.
City's Bankruptcy Fight
Heads for Federal Court

Mayor Linda Thompson and Gov. Tom Corbett are doing their best to block the city council's municipal-bankruptcy petition. The state filed a motion to dismiss the filing, with a Corbett spokesman saying the governor considers the move illegal. And an emergency status conference will take place today in federal court at Thompson's request.
>> Harrisburg Patriot-News
Cash-Strapped Illinois Turns to a Slow-Pay Strategy
Drowning in deficits, Illinois has turned to a deliberate policy of not paying billions of dollars it owes for months at a time, creating a cycle of hardship and sacrifice for its residents and government vendors.
>> Chicago Sun-Times

Public Pensions | The Nation
Surplus Projected for Federal Pension System
The Office of Personnel Management says the Federal Employees Retirement System, once estimated to be about $9.7 billion in the red, not only has eliminated its unfunded liability but is expected to show a surplus for 2011--the result of two years of freezes in pay and cost-of-living adjustments for federal employees and retirees.
>> Federal Times
Calif. Workers Rush to Grab Threatened Pension Benefit
California government employees, fearing that lawmakers may soon shut down a controversial program that boosts retirement payouts, have flooded the state's largest pension system with inquiries and requests to buy "airtime"--additional retirement service credit.
>> Sacramento Bee

Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Kathryn Densborn
Kathryn Densborn
Public Officials | Indiana
Lottery Director Quits in Flap
over Expensive New Offices

Kathryn Densborn resigned after five years as the Hoosier Lottery's executive director amid questions and controversy over the lottery's $2 million headquarters upgrade. Densborn had acknowledged that she had never considered state standards for spending on the new offices.
>> Indianapolis Star
Indian Leader Who Won Huge Federal Settlement Dies
Elouise Cobell, the Blackfeet leader who won a historic $3.4 billion settlement for Indian people who were cheated of royalties by the federal government over a century, died Sunday night at the age of 65 following treatment for cancer.
>> The Missoulian
Feds Probing D.C. Mayor's Campaign
Federal investigators digging into irregularities in Mayor Vincent C. Gray's campaign have interviewed several of his associates and election staff members, subpoenaed reams of documents and granted immunity to at least one grand-jury witness.
>> Washington Post

Technology | The Nation
$15.9 Billion Battlefield Radio Program Killed
The Defense Department told Congress it is formally terminating a decade-old, $15.9 billion program to develop radios capable of transmitting broadband data on the battlefield, saying the per-unit cost had spiraled after the Pentagon's plans to buy 86,209 of the devices were scaled back to 10,293.
>> Nextgov
Mobile App Helps Keep Wildlife-Refuge Officers Safer
A new mobile application is helping U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuge officers identify potentially dangerous suspects and stay connected to colleagues while investigating in remote locations.
>> Government Technology

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca
Lee Baca
Public Safety | Los Angeles County
Sheriff: I Blew It on Jail Brutality
Faced with an FBI investigation into the county's jail system, Sheriff Lee Baca acknowledged that he had been out of touch about problems in the jails and had failed to implement important reforms that could have minimized deputy brutality against inmates.
>> Los Angeles Times
Enrollment Plummets for Feds' Police Training
Hiring freezes and training cutbacks are eating into enrollment at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, which provides classes to some 90 agencies. Registrations have tumbled close to 19 percent.
>> Federal Times

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VIEWPOINT
Efficiency | William D. Eggers and Charles Tierney
Microtasked Government
Imagine being able to leverage the knowledge and talents of hundreds or even thousands of people to create value for government. "Microtasking" holds the promise to do just that, employing technology platforms to unleash the energies of people with a variety of skill sets to solve problems and get big jobs done.
>> Governing

DATAPOINT
About 870
Number of corruption investigations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees last year, more than triple the number reported in 2006 and a surge that has raised concerns about the agency's screening of new employees as it has rapidly increased its staffing, particularly along the Southwest border
>> Los Angeles Times

Mashed potatoes
QUOTABLE
The much-maligned potato is actually a very affordable, nutritious vegetable. The issue is really in the preparation.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, part of a bipartisan group of senators from states whose agricultural economies are reliant on potato-growing that plans to try to block a U.S. Department of Agriculture rule limiting how many of the starchy tubers American schoolchildren eat as part of the federal school-lunch program
>> USA Today

UPCOMING
Telework Exchange
Fall Town Hall Meeting
Oct. 18, Washington, D.C.

American Society for Public Administration, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and Chinese Public Administration Society
International Conference on Public Administration
Oct. 18-20, Chengdu, China

Deltek and TechAmerica
Government Insight Forum
Oct. 18, 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Los Angeles

Center for American Progress
Discussion: "The United States in 2050: Charting a New Vision and Future Together"
Oct. 18, noon-1:30 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

Government Technology magazine
Webinar: "E-Government at Work: Responding to the National Economic Crisis"
Oct. 18, 2 p.m. ET

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
Annual Meeting
Oct. 19-21, Portland, Ore.

Council of State Governments
National Conference
Oct. 19-23, Bellevue, Wash.

American Management Association
Webcast on the Art of Collaborative Teaming
Oct. 19, noon ET

American Society for Public Administration
Webinar: "Integrating Diversity Strategies for Success"
Oct. 19, 1 p.m. ET

Government Technology magazine
Webinar: "E-Government at Work: Responding to the National Economic Crisis"
Oct. 19, 2 p.m. ET

American Enterprise Institute
Panel discussions: "Civics 2.0: Citizenship Education for a New Generation"
Oct. 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

Governing magazine
Online forum: "Desperately Seeking Savings: Strategies to Cut Medicaid Costs"
Oct. 20, 2 p.m. ET

>> Full events listings