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NEWS: Feb. 2, 2012

Public Workforce | California
Top Lobbying Spenders: Public-Worker Unions
Businesses, organized labor and other interests spent a record amount lobbying California state government last year, nearly 6 percent more than they did in 2010. Two labor unions--the California Teachers Association ($6.57 million) and the Service Employees International Union ($5 million)--were the biggest spenders.
>> Sacramento Bee
Arizona Legislation Would Ban Collective Bargaining
Unions representing tens of thousands of Arizona public workers would be banned from collective bargaining with local governments and school districts as part of a sweeping package of legislation moving forward at the state Capitol.
>> Arizona Republic
House Backs Extending Feds' Pay Freeze
Republican backers of a measure that would tack a third year onto a pay freeze for civilian federal workers won enough Democratic votes to push the measure through the House. The bill also would extend the moratorium on pay increases for members of Congress.
>> Roll Call
Tackling Retirement Backlog, OPM Struggles with IT
Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry acknowledged that his agency does not yet have an information-technology plan to tackle the backlog of nearly 50,000 federal retirement claims.
>> Government Executive

GSA CIO Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman
Technology Management | The Nation
GSA Expert Aided NOAA's
Move to Google Cloud

When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration decided to move its email system to the cloud, it didn't hire an expensive contractor or consultant. Rather, Joe Klimavicz, the bureau's chief information officer, turned to Casey Coleman, the General Services Administration's CIO, to build on her experience leading GSA's move to Google Apps.
>> Federal News Radio
Survey: Feds Seeing Big Savings from Virtualization
More than 80 percent of federal information-technology leaders say their agencies have implemented some manner of server virtualization, saving the government nearly 20 percent of its IT budget, according to a recent survey.
>> Nextgov

Education | Denver
Schools to Tap Rainy-Day Funds, Cut Admin Costs
Denver schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg says the schools expect to weather coming state budget cuts without reducing school budgets or resorting to teacher layoffs or class-size increases by tapping rainy-day funds and slicing $2 million in administrative costs.
>> Denver Post
Former Philly Schools Chief Denied Jobless Benefits
Former Philadelphia schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who was paid nearly $1 million to leave her job, said she will not appeal the state's denial of $573 in weekly unemployment benefits.
>> Philadelphia Inquirer

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta
Leon E. Panetta
The Military | The Nation
Defense Chief: U.S. Aims to End
Afghan Combat Mission by Mid-2013

The United States hopes to end its combat mission in Afghanistan by the middle of next year, more than a year earlier than scheduled, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said. NATO strategy calls for coalition forces to gradually shift to a training and assistance role on the way to withdrawing combat troops by the end of 2014.
>> Washington Post
Northrup Wins $638 Million Navy Networking Contract
The Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a contract potentially worth $637.8 million to provide 54 ships with a networked common computing environment to replace decades-old shipboard systems.
>> Nextgov

Environment | Vermont
University Banning Bottled Water
The University of Vermont is banning the sale of bottled water on campus, part of a growing effort at schools to reduce plastic waste and save students' money by promoting tap water. A dozen universities have ended sales of bottled water in the past three years, but UVM is the largest to do so.
>> Reuters

Petition graphic
Elections | Wisconsin
All Recall Petitions Posted Online
State elections officials posted online all of the petitions calling for Gov. Scott Walker to face a recall election after they delayed doing so for a day because of privacy concerns raised by the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin and others.
>> Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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VIEWPOINT
Efficiency | Susan K. Urahn
The Cost-Benefit Imperative
Cost/benefit analysis can play a key role in helping government leaders make better decisions on allocating limited tax dollars. Washington State has many years of experience with its highly sophisticated model of cost/benefit analysis, but until recently it has been pretty much on its own. That's about to change. As a pilot group of other states works to adapt the Washington State model, the effort should provide valuable lessons to everyone concerned with making government more effective, especially in difficult times.
>> Governing | More commentaries

Denny Jones
Denny Jones
QUOTABLE
I was tighter than bark on a tree and we didn't waste a dollar. They could use me again.
Former Oregon state Rep. Denny Jones, a lifelong rancher and cowboy who retired from the legislature in 1999 after nearly three decades as a Republican lawmaker, running unopposed seven times in 13 elections, and who will turn 102 in September
>> The Oregonian | More quotes

DATAPOINT
$10 billion
Additional revenue that Arizona could have collected last year--an amount greater than the state's entire budget--if it had removed dozens of exemptions to the state's sales tax, including levies on services such as haircuts and massages and on a host of goods, among them such items as horse vitamins and motion-picture equipment, according to the state Department of Revenue
>> Arizona Republic | More data

UPCOMING
Public Technology Institute
Webinar (for nonprofits): "Utilizing Appreciative Inquiry as a Tool for Collaboration and Innovation"
Today, 1 p.m. ET

National Association of Counties
Webinar: "Enhancing Local Criminal Justice Practice with a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council"
Today, 2 p.m. ET

GovInfoSecurity.com
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.

American Enterprise Institute
Lecture by Charles Murray: "Alternative Futures for a Fractured American Culture"
Feb. 6, 5:30-7 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

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