Pssst! Guess What – Most People Don’t Trust Government – Plus the 7 Gov Stories

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But up front: Pssst! Guess what - most people don’t trust government.

 

It is the best of times -- and worst of times for government. The best of times comes from the opportunities that come from the rapidly changing world. The worst of times -- well, we have been living through it. Shut downs, sequestration, budget conflicts, RIFs… oh my!

 

But one of the more troubling numbers I’ve seen recently came from a new poll from the National Journal. As the National Journal’s sister publication, Government Executive, reports, the poll finds that the public believes individuals and local organizations are better than the federal government is right now at tackling major challenges facing the country.

 

The key question in the poll: Do you think the federal government is more responsive or less responsive to the opinions of average Americans than they were in previous generations or about the same?

 

A large number -- 63 percent -- say the federal government is less responsive. It is important to note that when the same question is asked about ‘large corporations,’ the number is about the same: 59 percent. By comparison, when the question is asked about state governments, the ‘less responsive’ number drops to 43 percent.

 

A very important caveat: When one asks about the “federal government,” it isn’t completely clear what people are thinking about. Does it mean the President? Congress? Agencies? the IRS or Social Security? Clearly, the poll number is impacted dramatically by the gridlock in Washington, but there seems to be much data out there that indicates the gridlock also has impact on the work that federal government does.

 

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Federal Computer Week: DHS looking for some private-sector executives - “The two Department of Homeland Security agencies in charge of airport, port and border security want some private-sector help in developing the next-generation IT and other technology that will speed U.S. travel and tourism processes. The Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection last week jointly announced a slew of openings under DHS's Loaned Executive Program, which brings private-sector executives into federal agencies for unpaid six-month assignments.

  2. GovExec: #USPS Loses $1.9 Billion in Second Quarter Despite Operating Profits - “The U.S. Postal Service lost $1.9 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, which ended March 31, though the agency showed some signs of positive growth.”

  3. CNN: VA Secretary orders face-to-face audit at all clinics - “Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has ordered a "face-to-face audit" at all Department of Veterans Affairs clinics, a spokeswoman told CNN on Thursday. Earlier in the day, the House Veterans Affairs Committee voted to subpoena Shinseki in the wake of accusations that his department is responsible for deadly delays in health care at some of its hospitals. The Shinseki subpoena will cover e-mails that allegedly discussed the destruction of a secret list, first reported by CNN, of veterans waiting for care at a Phoenix VA hospital.”

    1. The Hill: VA appoints new Phoenix health chief

    2. NextGov: It Took the VA Hospital in Phoenix 10 Years to Install an Electronic Waitlist System

  4. GovExec: Homeland Security Moves Closer to Getting Off GAO's High-Risk List - “The Homeland Security Department has taken significant steps toward earning removal from the Government Accountability Office’s high-risk list, GAO reported. In an array of high-risk areas in which DHS bears sole responsibility—management functions, flood insurance, cybersecurity and terrorism information sharing—managers are demonstrating clear progress, though more is needed, GAO said in a report released Thursday.”

    1. GAO report: Department of Homeland Security: Progress Made; Significant Work Remains in Addressing High-Risk Areas

  5. Politico: Intelligence staff banned from citing leaked material - “A recent policy instruction from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper now bans intelligence employees or contractors from citing news reports based on unauthorized disclosures. Current and former employees "must not use sourcing that comes from known leaks, or unauthorized disclosures of sensitive information," the instruction states. ”

  6. Washington Post: GAO: Federal agencies may be shortchanging the government on fuel costs - “Federal agencies may be inadvertently shortchanging the government for the fuel they use under the current system for reporting gas consumption, according to a recent watchdog report. The General Services Administration charges a monthly fuel fee based on the miles that agencies have traveled in their fleet vehicles. But that system doesn’t account for certain fuel-burning activities that don’t add miles, such as speeding, idling, or rapidly starting and stopping, according to the Government Accountability Office.”

  7. Federal News Radio: OPM's crackdown on background check fraud leads to jail time -- for some - “Two weeks ago, a 34-year-old USIS contractor from South Carolina, became the latest background investigator to plead guilty to charges stemming from falsifying a report. The charge could carry a penalty of five years in prison. Brian Rapier's guilty plea garnered numerous headlines coming amid the broader legal woes for the company he worked for — USIS. The Justice Department has accused the company, the government's largest contractor for providing background investigations, of shortcutting more than 665,000 background checks for more than four years beginning in 2008.”

 

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