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NEWS: Dec. 22, 2011
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
Gov. Brownback
Spending | Kansas
State Is Lab for Tea Party Tenets
If you want to know what a Tea Party America might look like, there is no place like Kansas. In the past year, under Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, three state agencies have been abolished, 2,050 government jobs have been cut, funding for schools, social services and the arts have been slashed, and a new "Office of the Repealer" has been created. Brownback plans to roll out proposals to change the way schools are funded, taxes are levied and state pensions are administered.
>> Washington Post
State: Detroit's Finances Getting Worse
A new financial report by the Michigan Treasury Department moved Detroit closer to appointment by the state of an emergency manager, painting a bleak picture of a city digging an ever-deeper hole for itself by taking on long-term debt to pay its day-to-day bills.
>> Detroit Free Press
New Jersey Restores Aid to 11 Struggling Cities
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill restoring $139 million in state aid to struggling cities that adds $1.49 million demanded by Christie for oversight over the 11 cities receiving the aid this year.
>> Newark Star-Ledger

Cybersecurity | The Nation
DARPA to Comb Troops' Emails for Insider Threats
Military service members' emails, text messages and file transfers will be under surveillance as part of a new Defense Advanced Research Agency project to help detect potential "insider threats," such as the leak of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, as well as potential traitors or terrorists inside the military.
>> Military Times

Public Workforce | The Nation
Biden's Backing for Union Sought in TSA Fight
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, is urging Vice President Joe Biden to support the American Federation of Government Employees in its contentious collective-bargaining negotiations with the Transportation Security Administration.
>> Government Executive
California City that Slashed Workforce Has Budget Surplus
Costa Mesa, Calif., which moved toward laying off half its workforce and outsourcing municipal services as it projected a $1.4 million deficit, is finishing the year $3.8 million in the black.
>> Los Angeles Times

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan
Mayor Quan
Public Assembly | Oakland, Calif.
Mayor: City May Not Be Able to Stop
Port Shutdowns by Occupiers

Mayor Jean Quan said the city probably would be unable to stop future Occupy demonstrations from shutting down the Port of Oakland and that attempting to do so would require at least 500 police officers, which she said the city would deploy if the port paid the $1.5 million cost. Port officials said they had not been informed of Quan's plan to charge for police services.
>> San Francisco Chronicle
Oakland to Probe Police Eviction of Occupiers
Oakland leaders contracted with former Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier to head an investigation into police handling of the Occupy protests, focusing on the Oct. 25 encampment eviction in which two military veterans were injured.
>> Oakland Tribune

Law Enforcement | Seattle
Law Firm Got $12,000 to Investigate News Leak
A Seattle law firm hired by Police Chief John Diaz to help investigate a leak to the news media about an internal investigation of an officer was paid about $12,000 in taxpayer money, a department spokesman said. The investigation did not find the source of the leak.
>> Seattle Times
Colorado Sheriff Survives Recall Vote
Sedgwick County, Colo., Sheriff Randy Pick survived a campaign to recall him led by voters who say there have been too many complaints of excessive force during Peck's first year in office.
>> Denver Post

Maureen E. Feeney
Maureen Feeney
Public Officials | Boston
Council Chief's Ally Gets Clerk's Post
City Council President Stephen J. Murphy lashed out at the media as he presided over the selection of Maureen E. Feeney as city clerk, handing the job to a close ally who served on the council for 18 years. Critics in the media and good-government organizations have accused the council of failing to conduct a substantive search for outside applicants.
>> Boston Globe
California Governor Names Two Department Heads
California Gov. Jerry Brown appointed a longtime state manager, Pamela Harris, to direct the California Employment Development Department, and named Jan Owen, who formerly worked at a state finance agency, as commissioner at the Department of Corporations.
>> Sacramento Bee

Technology Management | The Nation
CIO: Feds on Track to Close 1,200 Data Centers
The federal government is on pace to close at least 1,200 of its 3,100 data centers, amounting to nearly 40 percent of the total, by the end of 2015, Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel announced in a White House blog post.
>> Public CIO
I.G.: V.A. Boosted Incumbent for $133 Million IT Contract
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs structured the requirements for a 2010 information-security contract to help the incumbent contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, win the $133 million award, according to a report by the department's inspector general.
>> Nextgov

Gray wolf
Wildlife Management | The Upper Midwest
Feds End Protections for Gray Wolves
With their population soaring to more than 4,000 in the Midwest, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lifted federal protections for gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and portions of adjoining states. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ordered implementation of a wolf-management plan, which would allow problem wolves to be killed.
>> Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Researchers: Border Fence Blocking Migrating Bears
The border fence has not just made it more difficult for illegal immigrants to slip across from Mexico into Arizona. It has also become an obstacle, researchers say, for migrating black bears.
>> New York Times

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Alex Baldwin
Alec Baldwin
They're all just so horny
for it.

"30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin, saying in his weekly radio podcast that he's no longer interested in running for mayor of New York City because he's turned off by the keen ambition and eagerness of the current field of potential candidates in the 2013 race
>> New York Times | More quotes

Leadership | G. Edward DeSeve
Overcoming the Trust Deficit
Often, we get lost in the techniques of public management--outsourcing, performance management, cloud computing and other approaches--and forget about the essential bond of trust between the public and their governments. We need to get back to the basics. Six factors are paramount in changing the public's perception of government and regaining its trust.
>> Governing | More commentaries

More than $953 million
Cost to local governments in 2010 for paying contractors to maintain vacant properties, the number of which has increased almost 50 percent over the past decade, according to a Government Accountability Office report
>> American City & County | More data

Webinar: "Information Security for Management: What Your Senior Leaders Need to Know"
Dec. 27, 3:30 p.m. ET

American Enterprise Institute and Partnership for American Recovery
Lecture: "The Lost Majorities: 2008, 2010, and America's Political Future"
Jan. 9, 5:30-7 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.
Webinar: "Pandemic Planning & Response Techniques"
Jan. 11, 10 a.m. ET

National Emergency Management Association
Emergency Management Policy & Leadership Forum
Jan. 17-19, New Orleans

U.S. Conference of Mayors
Winter Meeting
Jan. 18-20, Washington, D.C.

National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers, Association of Government Accountants and Association of Local Government Auditors
Webcast: "Workplace Ethics: Understanding Your Responsibilities"
Jan. 18, 2 p.m. ET

Public Technology Institute and National Association of State Chief Information Officers
Webinar: "Technology Forecast 2012: What State and Local Government Technology Officials Can Expect"
Jan. 19, 5 p.m. ET

National Contract Management Association
Mid-Year Leadership Conference
Jan. 20-21, Las Vegas

American Society for Training and Development
TechKnowledge Conference & Exposition
Jan. 25-27, Las Vegas

National Association of State Personnel Executives
Mid-Year Meeting
Jan. 27-29, Washington, D.C.

National Association of Secretaries of State
Winter Conference
Jan. 28-31, Washington, D.C.

Human Capital Institute
Talent Strategy and Workforce Planning Conference
Jan. 30-Feb. 1, Atlanta

Governing magazine
Outlook in the States and Localities Conference
Jan. 31-Feb. 1, Washington, D.c.
Webinar: "Information Security for Management: What Your Senior Leaders Need to Know"
Feb. 3, 10 a.m. ET

Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education
Program on Leadership for the 21st Century: Chaos, Conflict and Courage
Feb. 5-10, Cambridge, Mass.

National Association of State Energy Officials and Association of State Energy Research & Technology Transfer Institutions
Energy Policy and Technology Outlook Conference
Feb. 7-10, Washington, D.C.

>> Full events listings