U.S. Ambassador killed in Libya – DorobekINSIDER 7 Stories you need to know

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
  • 12.5 million Americans are currently unemployed. But there are also a record number of jobs that need to be filled. What's the disconnect? Deloitte’s Bill Eggers fills in the gaps. Click here for the full recap.
  • The word sequestration sends shivers up the spines of government employees and contractors alike. But the threat of sequestration isn't the only issue taking shape for the tech community this year and next. We get a tech preview from TechAmerica. Click here for the full recap.
Regardless of what happens in November, there will be a transition. Long-time feds say the transition between a first and second term presidents can be significant. Romney is also prepping to fill his Cabinet if he were to be elected. The Wall Street Journal says, ”Mitt Romney’s presidential transition team, stocked with veterans of the George W. Bush administration, is studying personnel and policy moves that would prepare Mr. Romney to reorder federal spending and quickly propose a budget, should he win the White House. The team, which moved into Washington, D.C. offices last week, offers an early peek at how a Romney administration might run. It is peppered with old GOP hands and fresh faces from the business world.”  The SEVEN stories that impact your life
  1. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in a rocket attack on the consulate in Benghazi. The Associated Press reports three other consulate employees were killed. President Obama has called for increased security not only in that country but elsewhere in the world. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says some are trying to justify the attack as a response to inflammatory material on the Internet. Protesters burned down the Benghazi consulate in anger over a film that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad. It was produced by an Israeli filmmaker living in California. In Egypt, protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and replaced the American flag with an Islamic banner. Stevens is the sixth Ambassador to be killed on duty. The last was in 1979.
  2. The House has released a stopgap spending measure that would freezes federal pay for another six months. The Federal Times says the continuing resolution runs through the end of March. It funds agencies at slightly above fiscal 2012 levels, while giving lawmakers more time to pass budget bills.
  3. The House plans to approve legislation this week that would put a $500,000 cap on government conferences. Federal Times says the bill would also let agencies cover the travel expenses of only 50 employees for international conferences, The Hill reported. the Government Spending Accountability Act was introduced by Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill. The $500,000 cap can be exceeded if the head of an agency determines that the expenditure is "justified as the most cost-effective option to achieve a compelling purpose," and submits that justification to Congress.
  4. The Office of Management and Budget's acting director, Jeff Zients, is signaling an expansion and the mandatory use of the Obama administration's strategic sourcing initiative, which uses the government's buying power to reduce the price for common goods and services. Federal News Radio reported Zients says “without mandatory requirements, "we're just going to be chasing this opportunity rather than getting ahead of it or catching up to it." The board also adopted recommendations to improve the way the government reduces improper payments.
  5. The General Services Administration is centralizing critical functions so that leaders can keep better tabs on spending. Federal News Radio says that means consolidating three chief information officer offices into one and making the chief people officer responsible for all human resources. Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini is set to present these reforms in his testimony before the Senate.
  6. On Tuesday, the House passed a bipartisan bill that would require the Office of Management and Budget to develop customer service performance measures for Federal agencies. Government Executive says this measure would require Federal agencies to collect feedback from its “customers” on quality of service, as well as appoint a customer relations representative to issue guidelines and report findings to the public. It remains to be seen whether the Senate takes up the legislation.
  7. Due to the current stalemate in deficit reduction negotiations, Moody’s has threatened to downgrade US Treasury securities from their current triple A credit rating. Standard & Poor already downgraded their rating in August 2011, further damaging the standing of US Treasury securities. If there is no action by the end of the year decreasing medium-term debt levels, it is likely the downgrade will take place.
A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
  • Innovative App of the Week: VA’s Blue Button reaches 1 million users. Blue Button gives vets easy access to their own health records that had theretofore been locked up in VA's data systems and visible only to health care providers.Federal News Radio reports,  the Defense Department and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have adopted VA's personal health record (PHR) framework, as have several of the large insurance companies that serve civilian federal employees.
  • Dealing with the Workplace Whiner: The Wall Street Journal says workplace whiners can cause productivity problems. WSJ says just listening to someone complain constantly can undermine your own performance?—but also, God almighty, they are annoying. You're just trying to complete that spreadsheet peacefully, a bagel and coffee by your side, and suddenly you have to listen to innumerable gripes about the office water bubbler temperature, really?
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