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NEWS: Jan. 9, 2012

Public Workforce | The Nation
Confrontation Likely over Obama's Pay-Hike Plan
President Obama's proposal to increase federal civilian employees' pay by 0.5 percent, coming after a two-year freeze, is likely to become part of an election-year confrontation between the White House and Republican lawmakers over government spending.
>> Washington Post
Cuyahoga County to Slash 89 Fiscal Workers' Pay
Cuyahoga County, Ohio, next month will slash the wages of 89 employees of the county's fiscal office by as much as $29,200 a year. Most of those facing the biggest pay reductions once worked for corrupt former County Auditor Frank Russo.
>> Cleveland Plain Dealer
Public-Sector Job Losses Slow to 12,000
The loss of public-sector jobs slowed in December to approximately 12,000 as the national unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
>> American City & County

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock
Mayor Hancock
Public Safety | Denver
Mayor: Give Police Reforms a Chance
Mayor Michael Hancock dismissed a call by an independent monitor for a U.S. Department of Justice review of the city's police department over alleged bias toward officers by its Internal Affairs Bureau, saying new leadership and a reform plan for the department need to be given a chance.
>> Denver Post
DHS: Cook County Homeland-Security Program a Mess
Project Shield was supposed to make residents of Cook County, Ill., safer. But from the start, the $45 million homeland-security program more resembled a disaster, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's inspector general.
>> Chicago Sun-Times
New York City's 911 System Unified, Upgraded
New York City has unified its 911 system on common infrastructure and added enhancements for quicker response. The upgraded system can handle 50,000 calls per hour, nine times more than the peak hourly call volume during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
>> InformationWeek

Technology | The Nation
Army Turns to Private Sector for Cloud Services
After deliberating on how to create a network of data centers across the country for more than three years, the Army decided to buy private cloud services from vendors, instead of doing it itself or buying from the Defense Information Systems Agency. The service hired eight contractors under a five-year, $250 million contract.
>> Federal News Radio
California Budget Plan Eliminates IT Agency
California Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal for 2012-2013 would eliminate the California Technology Agency, making it a department within a newly formed agency merging administrative functions including IT, procurement and human resources.
>> Government Technology

Soldier and flag
The Military | The Nation
Obama Seeks to Outflank
Congress on Defense Spending

By enlisting military leaders' help in redefining the nation's strategic priorities for a time of austere budgets, President Obama sought to ensure that he has their support when his Pentagon spending plan goes before Congress, including committees led by some of his toughest Republican critics. The military leaders, in turn, now have reason to believe that Obama will not agree to more cuts.
>> Washington Post
Army Unit on Lockdown over Missing Gear
An infantry company of about 100 soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash., remained on lockdown as the Army investigated the theft of what is believed to be hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sensitive optical equipment.
>> Tacoma News Tribune

Public Officials | The Nation
Senior Federal Execs Get New Rating System
The White House announced a new system for evaluating the performance of Senior Executive Service members, aimed at establishing greater consistency across agencies. Top federal executives who receive a rating of unsatisfactory would be reassigned, transferred or removed from the SES.
>> Federal News Radio

Education | New Jersey
Background-Check Law Claims
350 School Board Members

Some 350 school board members across New Jersey must resign their positions immediately after failing to complete a criminal background check now mandated by state law, a Department of Education official said. The requirement, imposed through legislation enacted last year, is the only one of its kind in the country.
>> Newark Star-Ledger
Tucson Loses State Funds over Mexican-American Studies
Maintaining that the Tucson schools' Mexican-American studies program is illegal and promotes racial resentment, Arizona schools Supt. John Huppenthal said he will withhold 10 percent of state aid, a move that could cost the schools $15 million this fiscal year.
>> Arizona Daily Star
Foundation: Once-a-Year Teacher Evaluations Inadequate
Once-a-year evaluations aren't enough to help teachers improve, according to a multiyear study from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation finding that school districts using infrequent classroom observations could be making some big mistakes.
>> AP/Yahoo News

Immigration Enforcement | The Nation
Feds: Secure Communities Program Mandatory
Two years after the Secure Communities immigration-enforcement program was implemented, federal officials have determined that choices available to state and local law enforcement agencies that wished to decline or limit their participation would be "streamlined" or "eliminated," making the information-sharing program mandatory.
>> Los Angeles Times
ICE Agents Resisting New Deportation Strategy
Immigration and Customs Enforcement is moving to focus deportation efforts on immigrants convicted of crimes. But the deportation officers' union has not allowed its some 7,000 members to participate in training for implementing the new strategy.
>> New York Times

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Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier National Park
It's time to take back our park and remember it for being a place of peace and solace.
Mount Rainier National Park ranger Rebecca Rowland, explaining why she chose to work rather than take time off as the park in Washington State was reopened a week after Rowland's friend, law-enforcement ranger Margaret Anderson, was shot to death at a road checkpoint
>> The Olympian | More quotes

Amount that Massachusetts saves in Medicaid costs for every dollar the state spends on anti-smoking programs, according to a George Washington University study
>> Boston Globe | More data

Health Care
A Better Rx for Medicare
Republicans are arguing that helping older and disabled Americans buy private insurance would be cheaper for the federal government than traditional Medicare and better for beneficiaries. Their ideas deserve careful scrutiny, but before heading off in a new and risky direction, policy makers should carefully consider a host of ideas that could shave hundreds of billions of dollars from projected Medicare spending over the next decade without shifting huge burdens onto beneficiaries.
>> New York Times | More commentaries

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

Center for American Progress
Discussion: "The Rise and Consequences of Inequality"
Jan. 12, 10-11 a.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

International City/County Management Association
Web conference: "Give Yourself Permission to Manage"
Jan. 12, 1 p.m. ET

National Association of Counties
Webinar: "Introduction to Generating Wind Power for Your Local Communities"
Jan. 12, 2 p.m.

Public Technology Institute
Webinar: "Los Angeles County Location Management System"
Jan. 12, 2 p.m. ET

Brookings Institution
Panel discussions: "Fostering Growth Through Innovation"
Jan. 13, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Washington, D.C.

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.

1105 Government Information Group
Seminar: "Cybersecurity Implementation Strategies for Present and Emerging Threats"
Jan. 18, 7:30-8:30 a.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

International City/County Management Association
Webinar: "Making an Impact on Energy Use in Your Community: EPA's Green Power Communities and Local Climate and Energy Program"
Jan. 18, 1 p.m. ET

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

Association of State Correctional Administrators
Winter Meeting
Jan. 19-22, Phoenix

1105 Government Information Group
Seminar: "Let's Talk Government Cloud Security"
Jan. 19, 7:45 a.m.-noon, Washington, D.C.

Government Executive magazine
Webinar: "Achieving Efficiency in IT Acquisitions"
Jan. 19, 2 p.m. ET
Webinar: "Business Continuity Risk Assessment & Resource Allocation"
Jan. 19, 1 p.m. ET

International City/County Management Association
Web conference: "Using Metrics to Improve Efficiencies and Transparency"
Jan. 19, 1 p.m. ET

Government Technology magazine
Webinar: "Beating the Insider Threat: Is Printing Cybersecurity's Weakest Link?"
Jan. 19, 2 p.m. ET

>> Full events listings