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NEWS: July 17, 2014

Veterans Affairs | The Nation
V.A. Chief: $17.6 Billion, 10,000 More Staffers Needed
After vigorously defending the progress made in cutting medical-service wait times since he took over the Department of Veterans Affairs, Acting Secretary Sloan D. Gibson told a Senate committee that the agency needs $17.6 billion in additional funds and 10,000 more medical staffers to truly address its systemic problems.
>> Washington Post, New York Times
New Scheduling System on the Way, Says V.A. Chief
Gibson said he expects a new "state-of-the-art" appointment-scheduling system to be in place at the V.A. in two years and that the department is attacking the scheduling problem on four fronts.
>> Federal Computer Week

Todd Zinser
Todd Zinser
Public Officials | The Nation
Commerce Department's I.G.
Faces Congressional Probe

Todd Zinser, the Commerce Department's inspector general for the past seven years, is the subject of a broad congressional probe, with lawmakers from both parties alleging a pattern of behavior that "casts doubt" on his "reliability, veracity, trustworthiness, and ethical conduct." Zinser said he is successfully rebuilding the office and is the victim of exaggerated accusations.
>> Washington Post
Transit Veteran Hired as Nashville Agency's New CEO
The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority voted unanimously to hire Stephen Bland, who has nearly three decades of experience in transit roles mostly in the Northeast, as its new chief executive officer.
>> Nashville Tennessean
New York's First Black Deputy Mayor Dies
Paul Gibson Jr., a lawyer and airline executive who in 1974 became New York City's first black deputy mayor, died at the age of 86..
>> New York Times

Public Workforce | The New York City Region
Long Island Rail Road, Unions Talking Again
Four days before a possible strike, the Long Island Rail Road and its unions resumed talks Wednesday and pledged to continue informal discussions throughout the night--a conspicuous shift in tone after negotiations broke down earlier in the week. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had called on both sides to return to the negotiating table.
>> New York Times
Report Slams Two California Officials over Promotion
A California State Personnel Board report says a Department of Fair Employment and Housing personnel officer manipulated the civil-service system to promote an unqualified employee and that a manager displayed "blatant dishonesty" to mislead an investigator.
>> Sacramento Bee

Kathleen O'Toole
Kathleen O'Toole
Public Safety | Seattle
Federal Monitor Lauds New Police Chief
Federal monitor Merrick Bobb praised new Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole's efforts to deal with "issues and problems" of data collection considered crucial to carrying out the court-ordered police reforms Bobb is overseeing. "Chief O'Toole ... understands what's going on and has a plan," Bobb said.
>> Seattle Times
L.A. Mayor Names City's First Latino Fire Chief
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti named Assistant Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas to lead the fire department as it struggles with an onslaught of criticism. Terrazas will be the city's first Latino fire chief.
>> Los Angeles Times
I.G.: FBI Delayed Revealing Flawed Lab Work
The Justice Department and the FBI delayed notifying prosecutors in scores of death-row convictions that their cases might have relied on flawed FBI forensic work, according to an inspector general's report.
>> Washington Post

Tax Administration | The Nation
Justice Department Probing Loss of IRS Emails
The Justice Department confirmed that it is "investigating the circumstances" of the loss of a former Internal Revenue Service official's emails that are being sought by congressional Republicans in an inquiry over tax scrutiny of conservative political groups.
>> Reuters
House-Approved Spending Bill Slashes IRS Funding
A massive spending bill approved by the House would slash funding for the IRS by more than $1 billion next year, reducing the tax agency's current $11.3 billion budget by 13 percent.
>> Federal News Radio

CDC sign
Workplace Safety | Atlanta
CDC Director: Agency Has
'Pattern' of Unsafe Practices

Under sharp questioning from members of Congress, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted that recent laboratory accidents involving flu viruses and anthrax were not isolated mistakes but rather part of a broader problem of unsafe practices at the agency. Similar blunders had occurred before, Dr. Thomas Frieden said, but in addressing them "we missed the broader pattern."
>> New York Times

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VIEWPOINT
Leadership | Linda Fisher Thornton
A Culture of Ethics in Government
In delivering services, government leaders have to manage the tensions among price, quality, speed and ethics. An affordable contractor may be reliably fast, but to finish quickly may cut safety corners. The lowest bidder could run into problems that end up costing millions of dollars more. Thinking beyond the project to its impact on the stakeholders and having ongoing conversations about ethical behavior helps agency teams weigh the long-term consequences of their decisions. It doesn't matter how fast or how inexpensive it is if it's not ethical.
>> Government Executive | More commentaries

Michelle J. Howard
Michelle J. Howard
QUOTABLE
I didn't know it was possible to grow up to be anything more than a one-star.
Michelle J. Howard, the vice chief of naval operations who recently became the first female four-star admiral in the Navy's 239-year history, referring to the rank of rear admiral and saying that today's sailors "have never known a life when there hasn't been a woman admiral, women three-stars, women in command of ships, women in command of destroyers"
>> New York Times | More quotes

DATAPOINT
More than $2.23 million

Cost to Wisconsin taxpayers in 2013 for protecting Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, an amount that has more than tripled during Walker's time in office, is largely the result of a beefed-up security team and around-the-clock surveillance of Walker's home, and includes the costs of security for Walker on at least 110 out-of-state trips during his first three years in office
>> Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | More data

UPCOMING EVENTS
Heritage Foundation
Book event: "Valor: Unsung Heroes from Iraq, Afghanistan and the Home Front"
Today, noon-1 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

GovLoop
Online training: "Learn How You Can Harness The Power of Big Data"
Today, 2-3 p.m. ET

Jennifer Schaus & Associates
Workshop: "GSA Schedule Overview--Do I Qualifiy? And Everything You Need to Know Upfront"
Today, 5-8 p.m., Washington, D.C.

Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education
Program on Senior Managers in Government
July 20-Aug. 8, Cambridge, Mass.

National Association of State Budget Officers
Annual Meeting
July 20-24, Rapid City, S.D.

American Enterprise Institute
Discussion: "Comprehending Comprehensive Universities"
July 21, 4-5:30 p.m. ET, Washington, D.C.

Governing magazine
Webinar: "Forward Looking Intelligence: Planning for the Baby Boomer Impact"
July 22, 2 p.m. ET

National Lieutenant Governors Association
Annual Meeting
July 23-25, Girdwood, Alaska

American Society for Public Administration
Webinar: "Turning 50: the Administrative and Management Impact of the 1964 Civil Rights Act"
July 23, 1 p.m. ET