101691 interviews created 


The Mars Underground 2.0
What I would really like to see next is a next iteration architecture for the Mars Underground 2.0. I recommend starting with my architecture (see link below) since I cover all the bases that will be required for a site that complies with federal IT requirements. It is outdated and only a first cut since I was prevented from continuing on after 2010. If this is going to be an open innovation, open source project, then we need to share the architecture with anyone who wants to get involved.

Feel free to reject my design decisions, software choices, etc. but be prepared to discuss why. Modularity is key. Try to stay away from NASA-specific components for now. Keep it general for use by other federal agencies like Dept of State, i.e., wikis, blogs, groups, but not "mission assurance" "ISS".

Feel free to set up your own infrastructure, including blogs, around whatever aspect you plan to address. I would love to see the entire process open for view so that those who aren't ready to participate yet can at least read and watch what we are doing.

Go! See you online! :-)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwmbyHBeR6s4Sk5ucXhhNkNiN (...)
  13 Aug 15

Democratizing Space Exploration
I plan to make the Nebula tech docs publicly available when I get them. NASA claims to have no access to any records related to the project, which makes my architecture the only NASA-branded cloud architecture on record, until back-up docs are discovered or restored, or until NASA re-contracts with Dell Services (formerly Perot Systems) and makes the documents available to the public. Given that the work was funded by the US government, it seems that the documents could be made available to outside organizations such as the OpenStack Foundation to share with the OpenStack vendors to prevent fraud charges.

The lack of access to the documents is particularly problematic given that Nebula was one of the NASA OpenGov team's Flagship Initiatives, and was the basis for many claims made by the OpenStack vendors, some of which are highly suspect and likely false, including the origins of OpenStack.

"In both your request and your appeal you assume that NASA possesses electronic documents related to the Nebula project on a server maintained by Dell Services. However, as the ARC FOIA Office explained, when the Nebula project was terminated in 2012, the relevant SharePoint site was transferred to Dell Services. NASA chose not to maintain a server with the electronic documents in question: the documents were removed and the server deactivated. NASA no longer has a contract with Dell Services allowing it to access the electronic documents or server, it is not doing so on NASA's behalf. In short, NASA chose not to keep electronic documents related to the Nebula project when the project ended. Under the FOIA, where a document is no longer under an agency's control at the time it is requested, the agency is not obligated to produce it."

More here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/democratizing-space-explora (...)
  20 Apr 15

Join the US Open Government Online Discussion
The White House has set up a Google Group to discuss OpenGov issues. It is open to anyone. Join from:


Be sure to choose "Send me an email for every new message" or sign up for the daily digest, otherwise you will not receive any messages from the group.
   5 Sep 14

ExpertNet, Core Infrastructure Initiative and Internet.org
The 2nd US NAP for OpenGov calls for expert networking pilots at the federal agencies. Here is another pilot, the GovLab’s ExpertNet Living Lab http://thegovlab.org/the-govlabs-expertnet-living-lab-a-co (...) , a collaboration with the City of Buenos Aires. USC Viterbi Technology Accelerator, The Viterbi Startup Garage http://vsi2.usc.edu/startupgarage/ is now accepting applications, deadline June 4. Although my architecture http://www.slideshare.net/meskey/opennasav20slideshare-lar (...) has been cannibalized, the good news is that the various components are available as open source, and even if OpenStack has developed into something that won't be useful, the Open Stack slidedeck http://www.slideshare.net/meskey/the-yahoo-open-stack (...) is available for new dev. NASA Spacebook was decommissioned with only 14 users per month, but it was built on Liferay open source portal software https://www.liferay.com/ which is still available. Facebook also has an open source library https://code.facebook.com/projects/. Read more about Facebook and open source http://opensource.com/business/14/4/interview-james-pearce (...) The GovLab has set up an Open Governance Knowledge Base as a collaborative, wiki-style repository of information and research at the nexus of technology, governance and citizenship http://thegovlab.org/wiki/Main_Page.

Facebook, Google, Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, VMware and The Linux Foundation have formed a new initiative to support critical open source projects. They have each pledged $100,000 per year over the next 3 years to fund open source projects essential to internet security, at about $4M total per year.

Internet.org is a global partnership between technology leaders, nonprofits, local communities and experts who are working together to bring the internet to the two thirds of the world’s population that doesn’t have it. The social network is hiring as many as 50 experts in satellites, drones, and special data-carrying laser systems from places like NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Ames Research Center http://www.forbes.com/sites/techonomy/2014/05/23/how-big-c (...)

More here: http://www.intellitics.com/blog/2013/12/07/an-expertnet-pi (...)
and here: http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/announcements/20 (...)
and here: http://internet.org/about
  26 May 14

Doors to Democracy
My latest conundrum: is the world itself programmable? Let's find out.

How many doors to democracy would open if a few of the "Big Brands" like Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble, and the first OGP countries like the US and the UK, would implement internal policies and executive orders to allow for the exponential growth of social media and crowdsourcing? Although 2+ billion people are now online, there are still 2/3 of the world left out. I am gratified to see an increasing number of companies and government entities allowing for unrestricted staff access to social media during working hours. This is one of the best ways to fight corruption worldwide.

More here: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140427110431- (...)
  27 Apr 14

Law 2.0: 4 Real World Scenarios
42 Voices About Open Government: Continuous Improvement

Open Government is a process, not a product, and continuous improvement calls on government agencies to innovate in all areas, not just technology. This was the core message of my presentation to the Federal Intranet Content Managers on the topic of Open Government at NASA. What I meant at the time was that open policy making should be a core aspect of any strong Open Government plan, but apparently that message was lost in the translation. So I will reiterate this message again, with a stronger emphasis on legislative reform and ensuring that internal government and business policies are inclusive, and allow for an open process whereby contributors can comment, edit and review policy before it goes into effect.

More here: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140403151313 (...)

Of Pandas and POWADA

I think the crisis point is when ageism extends beyond appearances, which is an inevitable outcome of a shallow industry that promotes youth and beauty. But for scientific and technical industries to be ageist is just terrifying. The belief that younger workers are more innovative than older, more experienced scientists and engineers marks the beginning of the end of any competitive advantage the US may have today. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, so contact any member of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections to express your support for POWADA.

More here: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140404110436- (...)

Small Things That Make A Big Difference: California Crowdsources a Wiki-bill

I would like to see outreach efforts that include storytelling when the new reforms go into effect, so that we can learn more about these lawyers and how they manipulate the laws to enrich a few at the expense of many. President Obama has made wealth inequality a core issue for his Administration. This seems like an excellent place to start.

If you feel that you have been cheated by an unethical attorney in California, you can use this form to report them to the State Bar. Let your California elected officials know that you support Mike Gatto's wiki-bill to extend the rights of trust beneficiaries to living trusts.

More here: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140404110315- (...)

Thinking Outside Pandora's Box

With government dysfunction at an all-time high, I enjoy thinking outside Pandora's Box. Here are a few tips for federal employees and watchdog groups.

More here: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140404112547- (...)
  16 Apr 14

Announcing the Launch of an Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign to Fight Age Discrimination
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, we are excited to announce the launch of a campaign to raise awareness for POWADA, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act, and to raise funds for the legal fees of a former NASA employee who has filed an age discrimination complaint (Agency Docket No. NCN-12-ARC-0014) against the agency. POWADA also expands the definition of retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

San Jose, California (PRWEB) March 3, 2014-- Recent Supreme Court rulings have narrowed the definition of age discrimination, making it increasingly difficult for employees to win a lawsuit against a private employer. Raising awareness of POWADA is critical to help combat long term unemployment, a growing problem with "Over 50" workers and the #1 social and economic problem in America today.

Many older workers at NASA allegedly found themselves bullied out of work or laid off when the space shuttle program ended. Employees who were "Over 40" were allegedly let go, and younger workers were allegedly moved into key positions throughout the agency.

Crowdfunding legal and living expenses provides a new mechanism for leveling the playing field in workplace bullying and discrimination complaints. The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-me-crowdfund-my-leg (...) is one of the first of its kind. Indiegogo will match $1 for every $25 contributed to ‪#‎WomensDay‬‬ campaigns. Any contributions that are not used will be donated to positive aging and anti-bullying causes.

If you can't contribute, please spread the word, and let the media know about this effort to expose and eradicate age discrimination, retaliation and bullying in the workplace.

For status updates, please follow the Twitter accounts of meganesque and opengov20.

More here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11631589.htm (...)
   6 Mar 14

5 OpenGov Takeaways
1) The pretext for reassigning my OpenGov role to a young professional in 2011 was that he had a law degree and I did not. Interestingly, open policy making has no requirement that contributors have law degrees, and ironically, I was the one who identified the illegality of the workforce policy to "rebalance the aging workforce" at NASA. While I would be hesitant to over-define qualifications for OpenGov Leads, clearly some combination of IT management, social media influence, and policy making experience is important.

2) The "young blood" brought into NASA Ames to "bring the Silicon Valley outpost into the internet age" were unable to succeed until they tapped into the cloud architecture designed by an "Over 50" civil servant with almost 30 years of service.

3) The Open Stack module was "somewhat tangential to the agency's mission" only because it was a small component of a larger architecture that was in direct alignment with the White House Digital Government Strategy. Had the NASA Spacebook team included ExpertNet in their long term plan, SB may have succeeded as a pilot platform for internal use to work out user interface issues prior to the development and launch of a public-facing platform. It was this myopia that led to so many system and project failures at NASA between 2009 - 2013.

4) The desire to rid NASA of seasoned employees contributed to widespread long term unemployment in multiple states, and did nothing to improve NASA's bottom line, safety record, or hostile work environment. Lives were lost, and for what? Some misguided notion that young professionals are somehow more creative and innovative than seasoned employees? You tell me, I have no idea what drove this process.

5) While I can understand a group of young professionals drafting the "50% Fresh Out" policy back in 2009, what boggles the mind is that it was approved and implemented by the NASA Strategic Management Council (SMC), and was still active in 2013. Clearly, the broad spectrum of issues and concerns that Senior Management must deal with has surpassed their abilities. Therefore, OpenGov platforms such as Yammer and ExpertNet are critical in this age of complexity, where successful problem-solving requires expertise developed over decades and scattered geographically around the world.

More here: http://www.citeworld.com/social/20611/successful-enterpris (...)

and here: http://gigaom.com/2014/01/23/singularity-university-to-lau (...)

and here: http://www.salon.com/2006/03/06/seife_2/

and here: http://thegovlab.org/wiki/ExpertNet
   9 Feb 14

Former NASA Space Shuttle Engineers Still Looking for Work: "Nobody wants to hire the old guy"
Please share my latest #Storify story freely http://storify.com/meganesque/powada and embed in your own blogs.

I discovered an illegal workforce policy that was behind many of the bad decisions at NASA between 2009 - 2013. I've shared this with many lawmakers from both parties, as POWADA is a bipartisan bill, and with the White House OpenGov team at opengovostp.gov. Feel free to contact your elected officials and let them know you support POWADA: Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. I would also like to see more about criminal harassment in this bill.

Criminal Harassment

While prosecutors can charge someone with criminal harassment, victims of abuse or harassment may also petition the court for an order of protection or restraining order to prohibit someone from engaging in harassing behaviors. Orders against harassment and restraining orders frequently come into play in situations involving domestic violence. Such orders come from civil courts, but violation of these court orders may constitute a separate criminal offense and/or contempt of the civil court. Violating a protective order may also increase the severity of a harassment, stalking or menacing charge.

See more here: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/harassment.ht (...)

and here: http://www.dailytech.com/Former+NASA+Space+Shuttle+Enginee (...)
  18 Jan 14

Plaintiff Warren Gladden has filed a pro se action against the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) for race and age discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Defendant has moved to dismiss for failure to timely exhaust his administrative remedies and for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Because Gladden filed this lawsuit more than ninety days after receiving NASA's final agency decision (“FAD”), defendant's motion will be granted and this action will be dismissed with prejudice.

Here, it is undisputed that plaintiff failed to timely file this action. He received his FAD on August 16, 2010 (Compl. ¶ 15; see also Attach. 1 at 14), and he filed this action on November 16, 2010. Even accounting for the one-day window to which plaintiff was entitled because his ninetieth day fell on Sunday, November 14, 2010, plaintiff still failed to comply with the statute of limitations by filing this action ninety-two days after receiving his FAD. Because he filed suit two days after the expiration of the ninety-day statute of limitations, plaintiff's suit is untimely.

More here: https://casetext.com/case/gladden-v-bolden/

and here: http://www.aarp.org/work/employee-rights/info-03-2011/age- (...)

What did you do to get hired by NASA? See a few answers here: http://www.reddit.com/r/nasa/comments/1oo54u/what_did_you_ (...)
   8 Jan 14

Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I am pleased to join Senators HARKIN and GRASSLEY in reintroducing the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. This bipartisan bill seeks to restore crucial worker protections that were cast aside by five justices of the Supreme Court in the 2009 case Gross v. FBL Financial, Inc. The bill reaffirms the contributions made by older Americans in the workforce and ensures that employees will be evaluated based on their performance and not by arbitrary criteria such as age.

More here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r113:S31JY3-0022:/ (...)

and here: http://work.chron.com/handle-hostile-work-environment-fede (...)
   3 Jan 14

Leading the end of one space era, and the beginning of another
"What we’re looking for are what we call “fresh outs”—we want people fresh out of college, we want people from other professions, we want new ideas to help us as we try to mature NASA into an organization that’s dedicated to exploration.

We have an aging workforce, and that’s because people love what they do, and we don’t have a lot of talent that’s leaving. So our problems are trying to right size the workforce while making sure we’re getting in fresh blood, fresh ideas." - Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator

More here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2013/ (...)

and here: http://www.space.com/17598-nasa-mohawk-guy-future-space-ex (...)
  30 Dec 13

Bad Government Policy Has Created the Worst Inequality On Record … And It’s Destroying Our Economy
America is experiencing unprecedented inequality. And a who’s who of prominent economists (and investors) say that inequality is hurting the economy.

Defenders of the status quo pretend that this inequality is something outside of our control … like a force of nature. They argue that it’s due to technological innovation or something else outside of policy-makers’ control.

In reality, inequality is rising due to bad policy.

Nobel prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz said this month:

"Inequality is not inevitable. It is not … like the weather, something that just happens to us. It is not the result of the laws of nature or the laws of economics. Rather, it is something that we create, by our policies, by what we do.

We created this inequality—chose it, really—with [bad] laws …"

More here: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/09/bad-government-poli (...)

and here: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/05/u-s-income (...)

and here: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/09/us-inc (...)
  27 Dec 13

Capital Accounts: Lawmaker Asks Crowd to Craft 'Wiki' Probate Bill
"I think this is an innovative idea and will be interested in seeing how this develops," said Bart Schenone, chairman of the State Bar's Trusts and Estates Section. As for whether section members will be participating directly, Schenone said they're "prepared to assist by providing …technical expertise."

More here: http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/PubArticleCA.jsp?id=120263442119 (...)

and here: http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/0/documents/Regulation/20 (...)
  25 Dec 13

Option A:
Complainant hereby acknowledges that the Agency has provided Complainant a period of time not less than 21 days to consider the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement prior to signing the Agreement.
OR --
Option B:
Complainant hereby acknowledges that he/she was fully informed by the Agency of rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, including the right to a period of time not less than 21 days to consider the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement prior to signing. By signing this Agreement, Complainant acknowledges that he/she has knowingly and voluntarily waived rights or claims under the laws above, in exchange for consideration. Complainant affirms that this decision was made knowingly, voluntarily, and without any undue hardship, duress, or coercion by the Agency or its employees or representatives.

More here: http://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov/npg_img/HQ_PR_3713_003A_/D5.pd (...)
  25 Dec 13

California Governor Visits NASA Ames Research Center
Left: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger answers questions during a July 14, 2008, news conference at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Joining him are Mike Freilich, Director, NASA Earth Sciences Division, Steve Hiskind, Ames Earth Science Division Chief, Ames Director S. Pete Worden, Gov. Chief Del Walters, Assistant Region Fire Chief, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and Tom Maruyama, Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Services. Schwarzenegger visited Ames for a behind-the-scenes tour and briefings about NASA’s support to firefighters battling California wildfires.

More here: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/multimedia/images/2008/go (...)
  23 Dec 13

NASA EDGE: Yuri's Night - July 11, 2008
Featuring: Yuri’s Night Bay Area 2008 Celebration at NASA Ames Research Center

The NASA EDGE Team visits one of NASA’s most unique celebrations, Yuri’s Night. Bringing together a plethora of new technology, robotic demonstrations, music, space fashion, and aerobatics, Yuri’s Night is the Woodstock of the space community. And in the spirit of this techno-cultural bash, NASA EDGE introduces a brand new segment that will never be duplicated - Shuttle Bay Confessions. Tell the truth. You know you have to see it.

More here: http://www.nasa.gov/nasa-edge/0211-yuris-night/

and here: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/ne0211_yurisnight. (...)

and here: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/news/releases/2008/08_31A (...)
  23 Dec 13

Nearly 20 LA sheriff's deputies charged in corruption, inmate abuse probe
Among allegations in a criminal complaint and four grand jury indictments:

— Deputies unlawfully detained and used force on visitors to Men's Central Jail, including detaining and handcuffing an Austrian consular official in one instance, and in another, grabbing a man by the neck, forcing his head into a refrigerator, throwing him to the floor and pepper-spraying his eyes.

— Deputies falsified reports to make arrests seem lawful or in one case, struck, kicked and pepper-sprayed an inmate and made false reports to have the inmate charged with and prosecuted for assaulting deputies.

— Deputies tried to thwart the investigation by unsuccessfully seeking a court order to get the FBI to provide documents and attempted to intimidate a lead FBI agent by falsely saying they were going to seek a warrant for her arrest.

Those charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice include two lieutenants, one of whom oversaw the department's safe jails program and another who investigated allegations of crimes committed by sheriff's personnel.

More here: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/09/2183523 (...)

and here: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/correction-la-sheriff-c (...)
  23 Dec 13

California: Civil rights agency underfunded, hurt by poor policy, study finds
The problems include a “secret” policy that gives the governor’s office the power to decide whether the department will pursue discrimination cases against other government agencies, according to the report by the state Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.

“This constitutes unequal treatment for public employees, creates a potential for abuse, and compromises DFEH’s statutory independence,” the report said. “Taken to its extreme, it allows a California governor, in effect, to exempt public agencies from the state’s anti-discrimination law.”

Public agencies made up 15% of the enforcement actions before the policy took effect in 2008, but that number dropped to 1% last year, according to the report.

The policy was adopted during the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and continues under Gov. Jerry Brown, according to Dorothy Korber, a principal consultant for the senate office.

Gov. Brown's office indicated in the report that it has not formally denied a request to pursue a discrimination complaint since one was denied in February 2011.

More here: http://t.co/FmScaJgz4S
  23 Dec 13

OpenGov Flash Mob Theme Song: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"

[1st Verse]
Lovely Is The Feelin' Now
Fever, Temperatures Risin' Now
Power (Ah Power) Is The Force The Vow
That Makes It Happen It Asks No Questions Why (Ooh)
So Get Closer (Closer Now)
To My Body Now Just Love Me
'Til You Don't Know How (Ooh)
Keep On With The Force Don't Stop
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Keep On With The Force Don't Stop
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Keep On With The Force Don't Stop
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Keep On With The Force Don't Stop
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

More here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yURRmWtbTbo&feature=youtu.b (...)

and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VeJxUtp0Zc
  22 Dec 13

DARPA Robotics Challenge 2013
Seventeen teams from around the world will be participating in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials at Florida’s Homestead Miami Speedway, December 20-21, 2013. The Trials will provide a baseline on the current state of robotics and determine which teams will continue on to the DRC Finals in 2014 with continued DARPA funding. Competing in the 2014 Finals will lead to one team winning a $2 million prize.

Semi-final Scores:

MIT 16

More here: http://www.theroboticschallenge.org/
  22 Dec 13

Best Places to Work Numbers Are Out - How Can Gov Get Its Mojo Back?
"We looked at the perceptions between the senior executive service and the rest of the workforce and just like last year there is a big gap. The numbers for the rank and file feds are about 57.7 and for the SES it is almost 81. So huge differences in how leaders and rank and file feel about satisfaction and commitment."

More here: http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/best-places-to-work- (...)
  22 Dec 13

Dismantling the Surveillance State
On Tuesday, Judge Richard Leon held that the National Security Agency’s controversial phone records program likely violates the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” But when the inevitable appeal comes, far more than a single surveillance program will be at stake. Whether far higher courts are prepared to embrace Leon’s logic could determine if Americans enjoy any meaningful constitutional protection against government monitoring in the information age.

The dismantling of the surveillance/security state is long overdue. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with incidents that are a reflection of the militarization of law enforcement, the militarization of the federal agencies as a whole, and the abuse of power in the name of national security. Big changes needed. YAY for OpenGov.

More here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/21/dismantli (...)
  21 Dec 13

A Better, More Diverse Senior Executive Service in 2050
Measures to identify and support emerging talented people of color and women within agencies who might form part of the Senior Executive Service in the future

Around half of the Senior Executive Service vacancies are likely to be filled from within, and agencies should do everything they can to ensure minority and female talent is nurtured. They should build lists of the most talented women and people of color at more junior grades, and they should ensure they are supported to maximize their potential. This should provide mentoring, training, and networking opportunities and advice on how to successfully compete for Senior Executive Service roles. It is essential that this support for talent is kept separate from the recruitment process. Applicants who have benefited from a development scheme should not receive any preferential treatment, and recruiting managers should always hire the best possible applicant.

More here: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/09/pdf/ses_pap (...)

and here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr2721/text (...)
  21 Dec 13

EEOC Class Complaints
Although the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) plays a key role in adverse actions that lead to suspensions of over 14 days or separation from the federal government, most of the complaints that allege discrimination focus on lesser adverse actions such as poor performance reviews, denial of benefits, non-selection, etc. In these incidents, the EEOC handles the complaint. If the discrimination is systemic, employees can bring a class complaint against the agency. See below for recent changes to complaints processing in the Federal Sector Complement Plan for EEOC.

The Commission's newly revised complaint processing regulations provide that an AJ decision on the merits of a class complaint is a final decision, rather than a recommended decision. If an agency decides not to fully implement AJ decision, it must appeal that portion which with it disagrees. 29 CFR 1614.204(i) & (j). This makes the class action procedure in the hearing and appellate process a more effective tool to address systemic practices that impede non-discriminatory recruitment and hiring.

More here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/federal_complement_plan.cfm (...)
  20 Dec 13

Obama gives military one year to curb sexual assault
It was hailed by Gillibrand’s chief opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who backed more modest reforms.

“I agree with him that we should give these significant reforms the time they need to succeed," she said in a statement. "And I too, plan to spend the next year holding commanders accountable, and ensuring that these historic reforms are implemented forcefully and effectively.”

Obama said he would direct Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey to “continue their efforts to make substantial improvements with respect to sexual assault prevention and response, including to the military justice system.”

He said he wanted a “full-scale review of their progress” in December 2014.

“If I do not see the kind of progress I expect, then we will consider additional reforms that may be required to eliminate this crime from our military ranks and protect our brave service members who stand guard for us every day at home and around the world,” Obama said.

The president’s comments suggest he could potentially support Gillibrand’s proposal to strip the decision to prosecute sexual assault cases outside the chain of command.

More here: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-strategy/19374 (...)

and here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congress-poised-to- (...)
  20 Dec 13

Government by Design: Four principles for a better public sector
Governments everywhere face a daunting paradox. On the one hand, they operate in an increasingly complex environment and must deliver on an expanded set of policy objectives. In a world characterized by macroeconomic uncertainty, rapid social change, and technological innovation, citizens’ expectations of what government ought to deliver are rising. On the other hand, governments are hampered by unsustainable debt burdens and shrinking budgets. The ratio of general government debt to gross domestic product for member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) now exceeds 100 percent. Meanwhile, public trust in government is eroding. Against this backdrop, not only must governments do more with less; they must do so in highly visible ways, if they are to regain the faith of their constituents.

1. Better evidence for decision making
2. Greater engagement and empowerment of citizens
3. Investments in expertise and skill building
4. Closer collaboration with the private and social sectors

More here: http://www.mckinsey.com/Insights/Public_Sector/Government_ (...)
  20 Dec 13

Reception Welcomes Summit Attendees
After the first full day of the NASA IT Summit, Monday, Aug. 15, conference-goers were invited to a reception at a large ballroom on the Yerba Buena level of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. The reception was hosted by NASA CIO Linda Cureton, and included a talk by the CIO as well as Summit organizers.

An unexpected development came during the grazing part of the
reception, as a DJ cranked up a medley of Michael Jackson hits and a “flash mob” of about 25 dancers hit the floor, with a coordinated combination of jazz, rock, hip-hop and MJ dance moves. Who says feds don’t know how to have fun?

More here: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/588054main_ITTalk_Sep2011_Approved (...)

and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en_gdkD-po8
  20 Dec 13

Generation Y Perspectives
"This week we had the opportunity to participate in the NGEC-2 Conference at Ames Research Center in California. Garret Fitzpatrick and I gave the presentation – and to our surprise, even had a chance to present it to Buzz Aldrin since he was at the conference. ARC Center Director Pete Worden – who has ignited a movement at NASA (CoLab) – was also present and was encouraging as ever. Looking back, it was a really interesting experience to present to a man who has inspired thousands of people throughout the world through by something many of us dream of doing – walking on the moon. My expectation is that our generation will soon follow in his footsteps and participate ourselves – but it will require engaging a generation to do so…This presentation has been created so that anyone who wants to can take it and use it. Share this with your management. Share this with your parents. Share it with people who don’t understand why you like to snowboard in the afternoon, work from “offsite” on your mac, use Twitter to communicate with your friends, and expect to be involved in the “big picture” at work." - Nick Skytland, February 19, 2008

More here: http://www.opennasa.com/2008/02/19/generation-y-perspectiv (...)

and here: http://millennialmarketing.com/2008/06/the-nasa-brand-and- (...)

and here: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/02/nasas-gen-y-ste/ (...)
  20 Dec 13

A discrimination settlement was so big it skewed Mississippi’s income data
In the late 1990s, two class action lawsuits were filed against the government alleging that the Agriculture Department was discriminating against black farmers by either denying them loans or making them wait longer to get loans. Those two class-action suits were eventually combined, and a settlement agreement was reached. President Obama signed it into law in late 2010. Claims were then collected, and payments finally started going out this fall.

The final settlement was valued at $1.25 billion and went out to about 18,000 farmers. That translates to roughly $69,500 a head. And it was big enough to skew Mississippi’s third-quarter income results.

More here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/12/19/ (...)
  20 Dec 13

MSPB report on perceived favoritism
A new report from the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), "Preserving the Integrity of the Federal Merit Systems: Understanding and Addressing Perceptions of Favoritism" reinforces the need for Federal agencies to understand and address employee perceptions of personal favoritism.

Favoritism—granting an advantage to an employee or applicant based on personal feelings or relationships, rather than merit-based criteria—is contrary to statutory merit system principles that require Federal agencies protect employees against personal favoritism, hire solely on the basis of relative ability, and base rewards and retention on job performance.

Results of the Federal Merit Systems Survey conducted for this study reflect continuing concern among Federal employees that personnel decisions, from day-to-day work assignments to selections for promotion, are affected by favoritism. Notably, 28 percent of employees indicated that their own supervisor had engaged in favoritism within the past two years, and 53 percent of employees believed that favoritism had influenced the decisions of other supervisors in their organization.

The report outlines steps that Federal agency leaders and supervisors can take to ensure that decisions are merit-based and untainted by personal favoritism and discusses what Federal employees can do to help them successfully compete for advancement and recognition in a merit system.

More here: http://www.mspb.gov/netsearch/viewdocs.aspx?docnumber=9458 (...)
  19 Dec 13

Assemblyman Mike Gatto Blog: a plan to introduce new film and television production tax credits
California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) today announced a plan to introduce new film and television production tax credits for the state in January 2014, when the legislature returns from interim recess. Competition from out-of-state incentive programs have been a prime concern in recent years particularly in Gatto’s Southern California district which spans Burbank, Glendale, and Hollywood and includes many of LA’s most prominent studios and post-facilities including DreamWorks, Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros.

More here: http://assemblymanmikegatto.blogspot.com/2013/10/deadlinec (...)
  19 Dec 13

Danny Glover blasts worker intimidation at Nissan
More than low wages are motivating Nissan workers to organize. Two Smyrna workers have died on the job in the past four months. At Thursday's press conference Glover said, "It's unconscionable that a company can operate in the United States while their own workers are injured on the job and then ignore the worries of employees. It's undemocratic to prevent these workers from having a voice to express their concerns without fear of reprisal from the company."

While Nissan's workforce is unionized in South Africa, Brazil, Japan, and other countries around the globe, the company doggedly fights giving workers a voice here in the U.S.

More here: http://peoplesworld.org/danny-glover-blasts-worker-intimid (...)

and here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000418/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm (...)
  19 Dec 13

No Fear: The Marsha Coleman-Adebayo Story Green Lit for Pre-Production
No Fear is the story of whistle-blower and human rights activist Marsha Coleman Adebayo. In 1996 Coleman-Adebayo discovered that a U.S. company was mining vanadium in South Africa and harming the environment, the health of the workers and nearby community residents. Her efforts to conduct an investigation were stifled and she was made a target of personal abuse. On August 18, 2000, a federal jury found the EPA guilty of violating the civil rights of Coleman-Adebayo on the basis of race, sex, color and a hostile work environment, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Her first book, No Fear: A Whistleblower's Triumph over Corruption and Retaliation at the EPA, was published in September 2011 by Lawrence Hill Books. Actor, producer and director Danny Glover is working on a feature narrative film about Marsha’s life.

More here: http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/no-fear-marsha-co (...)

and here: http://greenshadowcabinet.us/member-profile/7571

and here: http://www.marshacoleman-adebayo.com/no-fear-the-book.html (...)
  19 Dec 13

11 Disruptors Creating Social Change to Follow on Twitter
Hey, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about all of the big problems that need fixing in the world. With issues like bad actors preventing folks from voting and the search for news we can trust, how do we expect to react to colossal disasters, global health crises, and other really big stuff?

The deal is that sometimes the best thing to keep you moving forward is to learn from people who are already working to change the world and set things right. Fortunately, there are lots of inspiring, smart people doing great things. They are builders and thinkers, disruptors, innovators, and philanthropists.

I've compiled a list of some of the Top 11 social change makers who really are making the world a better place. I hope they inspire you to change the world too. - Craig Newmark

More here: http://craigconnects.org/2013/11/11-disruptors-creating-so (...)
  18 Dec 13

Best Places to Work in the Federal Government (2011, 2013)
The 2013 Best Places to Work data present a disturbing picture of federal employees throughout the government who are increasingly dissatisfied with their jobs and workplaces. Government-wide, the federal employee job satisfaction and commitment level dropped for the third year in a row, tumbling 3 points to a score of 57.8 on a scale of 100. This represents the lowest overall Best Places to Work score since the rankings were first launched in 2003, and follows a 3.2-point drop in 2012 and a 1-point decline in 2011. In contrast, private-sector employee satisfaction improved by 0.7 points in 2013 to a score of 70.7, according to Hay Group.


NASA Ames Research Center - 2013
Over 40: 45
Under 40: 31
Overall: 42

NASA Ames Research Center - 2011
Over 40: 138
Under 40: 15
Overall: 105

2013 Scores by Category

Ames Research Center (NASA) Air Combat Command (Air Force)

Effective Leadership 64.3 59.2
Effective Leadership: Empowerment 57.4 54.8
Effective Leadership: Fairness 63.7 63.2
Effective Leadership: Senior Leaders 56.5 54.8
Effective Leadership: Supervisors 75.9 63.7
Employee Skills–Mission Match 81.3 79.1
Pay 53.1 48.4
Strategic Management 55.7 54.2
Teamwork 73.1 69.2
Training and Development 66.0 58.6
Work–Life Balance 63.3 61.0
Support for Diversity 67.6 54.2
Performance-Based Rewards and Advancement 57.6 45.3

More here: http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/index.php
  18 Dec 13

ExpertNet aka OpenNASA v2.0
Concept: Enterprise Architectural Models combined with “Crowdsourcing” Web Development.

Federal in-house IT developers are no longer able to keep up with the demand to:

maintain legacy sites and applications

transition legacy sites and applications to new implementations

integrate innovative or cross-cutting technology

develop new applications, roll out new COTS

keep pace with web policy changes

We can leverage Enterprise Architecture processes and solutions to minimize redundancy and maximize ROI

standardize on specific applications for each functional area in Federal Enterprise Services Catalogs

integrate agency applications and/or expose functionality via XML Web Services

decommission underutilized, obsolete or redundant legacy sites and applications

With Open Source/Opensocial, some development can be “crowdsourced” leveraging citizen “idea sourcing” via challenges and apps contests

More here: http://www.slideshare.net/meskey/opennasav20slideshare-lar (...)

and here: http://codeforamerica.org/

and here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/egov/dig (...)

and here: http://www.usa.gov/webreform/state-of-the-web.pdf
  18 Dec 13

5 Horrifying Facts You Didn't Know About the Space Shuttle
1. The Shuttle killed more people than any other space vehicle in history
2. It was extremely expensive
3. It never went very high.
4. It never worked according to parameters.
and the good news is:
5. It’s going to be replaced by something much better.

Instead of building its own spacecraft, NASA will off-load the business of transit to and from space to the private sector, which can now do it better and cheaper, while the space agency can get back to doing what it does best—pushing the frontiers of science and the exploration of space.

Best of all, these new vehicles will eventually become cheaper through demand and competition, which means that I can expect to fly in space at some point in my lifetime. And so can you.

More here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolpinchefsky/2012/04/18/5-h (...)
  18 Dec 13

Drafting the Nation's First Wiki-bill.
Government has a responsibility to listen to the people and to enable everyone to be an active part of the legislative process. That's why I've created this space for you to draft real legislation. Just like a Wikipedia entry, you can see what the current draft is, and propose minor or major edits. The marketplace of ideas will decide the final draft.

We're starting with a limited topic: probate. Almost everyone will face the prospect of working through the details of a deceased loved one's finances and estate at some point during their life. I want to hear your ideas for how to make this process less burdensome.

Mike Gatto
Assemblyman, 43rd District
Los Angeles, California

More here: http://mikegatto.wikispaces.com/

and here: http://www.asmdc.org/members/a43/
  17 Dec 13

President Obama nominates the first ever female 4-star Navy admiral
Michelle Howard is not only female, she is an African American.

'For some of the sailors, it was a big deal—not because of the woman thing, but because of the African-American thing,' she told Time.com.

Howard is famous for helping to win back Captain Richard Phillips when he was taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009 and is part if the inspiration for the film Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks.

According to a recent demographic report published by the Pentagon, only 14.5% of active-duty military personnel are women. Women represent 13.5% of the Army, 16.4% of the Navy and 19% of the Air Force. Women account for only 6.8% of the Marine Corps, whose highest-ranking woman achieved three stars before retiring earlier in 2013.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2523600/President- (...)
  16 Dec 13

Silicon Valley Is Living Inside A Bubble Of Tone-Deaf Arrogance
AngelHack CEO Greg Gopman apologized last week for a series of posts on Facebook in which he said that homeless "trash" had no place in the "heart of our city," San Francisco. He wrote:

"You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It's a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I'd consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn't made anyone's life better in a while."

No doubt being homeless and mentally ill is a "burden," but it doesn't fall most heavily on tech entrepreneurs. Gopman's Facebook message was preceded by a tweet announcing he was on vacation in Bali.

Gopman has since apologized. "I trivialized the plight of those struggling to get by and I shouldn't have."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/silicon-valley-arrogance-bu (...)
  16 Dec 13

Changing Lives... One Product at a Time
For over 50 years, NASA has created new technologies with direct benefit to the private sector, supporting global competition and the economy. The resulting commercialization has contributed to over 1,800 recorded developments of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, industry, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources. To better understand how partnering with NASA can help enable innovative technology development for your organization, please see the NASA Spinoff Magazine at http://spinoff.nasa.gov.  16 Dec 13

The Secret History of OpenStack, the Free Cloud Software That’s Changing Everything
Chris Kemp was hired to change NASA. In 2006, a new director took over at NASA Ames, intent on bringing the agency’s Silicon Valley outpost into the internet age, and he immediately brought in some young blood, including Kemp and four others who moved into the Rainbow Mansion — about a 15-minute drive from Ames.

Kemp went on to become the chief information officer at Ames and later the chief technology officer of NASA as a whole. While there, working alongside several others with close ties to the Rainbow Mansion, he spearheaded the creation of NASA Nebula, an effort to bring Google’s web genius to the rest of the world. And after two years of struggle, a key part of this project — an open source platform called Nova — would merge with a complementary platform from Rackspace and give birth to OpenStack.

Like Linux, OpenStack is a bit of a miracle. The odds were against Kemp even getting Nebula off the ground at NASA — not only because it’s somewhat tangential to the agency’s mission, but because the NASA bureaucracy was so unsuited to the creation of something openly shared with the rest of the world. And NASA is only half the story. It’s even more remarkable that a project created at NASA would so quickly find a home among the giants of the tech world.

More here: http://www.slideshare.net/meskey/the-yahoo-open-stack (...)

and here: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/04/openstack/all (...)

and here: http://sf.blockshopper.com/news/story/2500096010-NASA_exec (...)

and here: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_22789305/california-treasure (...)
  15 Dec 13

Income Inequality’s Ripple Effect
The basic facts bear repeating. Income inequality in the United States today has reached levels last seen during the Roaring ’20s. Over the last three decades, the top 1 percent of incomes have risen by 279 percent, while the bottom fifth of workers have seen an increase of less than 20 percent. In 1979, the middle 60 percent of households took home 50 percent of U.S. income. By 2007, their share was just 43 percent.

These trends have continued since the end of the Great Recession. Ninety-five percent of income gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1 percent of earners. In 2012, the top 10 percent took home more than 50 percent of the nation’s income—a record high. After a brief period in the late 1990s during which incomes rose across the board, median wages stagnated during the 2000s, and have remained depressed during the economic recovery.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/12/income-equa (...)
  15 Dec 13

Finding of discrimination by the agency
Where the agency has issued a finding of discrimination on the merits of a case, or otherwise admitted discrimination, it is bound by that finding. EEOC regulations require agencies to make findings on "each issue." Omitting one issue from a final agency decision (FAD) can lead to a reversal or a vacating of a FAD on appeal.

Some characteristics of a FAD are:

•Signed by an appropriate agency official;
•Contains appeal rights;
•Entitled "final agency decision";
•Contains a clear finding of discrimination;
•Held out to the Commission to be the final agency decision

More here: http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/digest/xi-4-3.cfm
  15 Dec 13

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is an independent quasi-judicial agency established to protect federal merit systems against partisan political and other prohibited personnel practices and to ensure adequate protection for federal employees against abuses by agency management. More specifically, when an employee of most Executive Branch agencies is separated from his or her position, or suspended for more than 14 work days, the employee can request that an employee of MSPB conduct a hearing into the matter. In that hearing, the agency will have to prove that the action was warranted and the employee will have the opportunity to present evidence that it was not. A decision of MSPB is binding unless set aside on appeal to federal court.

More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Merit_Systems_P (...)

and here: http://www.mspb.gov/decisions/decisions.htm
  14 Dec 13

The Coalition for Change, Inc. (C4C)
Have you filed or won a civil action in the court system?
Have you filed a formal EEO complaint?
Have you received a finding of discrimination?
Are you aware of a pending class action either at the EEOC or court-level?

If so, let us hear from you. If you would like C4C to review your case for website posting, you may make your request either via regular mail or e-mail. See address below. When making your request please be sure to cite the case number as assigned by the court or the EEOC.

The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C)
P.O. Box 142
Washington, DC 20044
or E-mail c4ccoalition4change.org

More here: http://www.coalition4change.org/
  14 Dec 13

Obama’s Military Purge
Navy Replaces Admiral Leading Mideast Strike Group Because of Ongoing Investigation

U.S. Air Force fires general overseeing nuclear missiles

General Carter Hamm has allegedly made the decision to "retire."

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charles M.M. Gurganus was terminated.

Major General Baker, a two-star general who served as commander of the Joint Task Force-Horn at Camp Lamar in Djibouti, Africa, was fired for alcohol and sexual misconduct charges.

The firing of military leaders goes much further than top generals, however. On its Facebook page, Breitbart.com compiled a list of more than 197 military commanders, mostly at the rank of Colonel or above, who have been purged by the Obama administration since 2009.

More here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/navy-replaces (...)
and here: http://news.yahoo.com/u-major-general-overseeing-nuclear-m (...)
and here: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/11/sacking_general_car (...)
and here: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2013/arnold-ahlert/obamas-mili (...)
  14 Dec 13

What You Should Know about Obstruction of Justice
I think the biggest problems today lie within the executive agencies. Congress is becoming less obstructionist with the filibuster rule change, and the agencies are becoming more so. With approximately 7,100 of the federal agencies' workforce rated at Senior Executive Service (SES) levels, most of them do not belong there and are making what will become increasingly fatal errors that effect the lives and well-being of government employees and the general public. Obstructing a Congressional investigation is a crime. Having an attorney advise a witness to provide false testimony is illegal. Yet, agencies do this as general practice. Where is the accountability? Where is the integrity? I think the first order of business is to re-categorize the majority of the federal agencies' SES positions to lower GS-levels, and to move experienced people into those roles.

More here: https://www.ohiobar.org/forpublic/resources/lawyoucanuse/p (...)
  13 Dec 13

Allow NASA to Do Great Things Again (Op-Ed)
NASA is supposed to work on daring, cutting-edge technology that it is not profitable for industry to develop. It made sense for NASA to create its own rockets in the 1960s and 1970s, when producing boosters was a new and highly experimental field. But now, industry has taken the booster tech that NASA developed back then and adapted it; today, the private sector can develop such vehicles more economically and efficiently than NASA can.

Meanwhile, page 55 of a report issued by the Government Accountability Office states that workers developing NASA's Orion spacecraft (costing another 1 billion dollars a year) want to lighten the vessel by 5,000 pounds (2,300 kilograms) without compromising either capability or safety.

NASA could be working on real advancements instead of the obsolete monstrosity that is SLS/Orion — advancements that could lead to exciting deep-space missions. The money would come from the budget savings made available by using commercial market vehicles.

More here: http://www.space.com/23898-let-nasa-change-course.html (...)

and here: http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653866.pdf
  13 Dec 13

House Committee Approves Bill Requiring Congressional Approval Before Terminating JWST, ISS, SLS or Orion
JWST has been very controversial because of significant cost overruns and schedule slips. In 2011, Congress imposed a cap of $8 billion for development of the spacecraft in the FY2012 appropriations act that included NASA (P.L. 112-55). The program has encountered a number of technical problems since then, but NASA insists that it has sufficient cost and schedule reserve that they will not impact the cost cap or the 2018 launch date. The language added by Edwards could be construed as suggesting that such optimism may not be warranted.

Another change made by the amendment replaces language that would have voided existing contract provisions that provide for payment of termination liability costs in a manner inconsistent with the bill. The new language simply states that funds being held in reserve for termination liability "shall be promptly used" for executing the program.

The bill also makes clear that it is the intent of Congress to authorize appropriations to cover termination liability if, in fact, Congress agrees that the Administration should terminate a contract and that it is the Administration's responsibility to spend such funds for that purpose.

More here: http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/house-committee-appr (...)
  13 Dec 13

For NASA, the best of times and the worst of times
Even as agency officials were celebrating Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) and looking ahead hopefully to human flights, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin released an audit illustrating how the COTS really isn’t working very well for the Commercial Crew Program. The report found that while the three commercial partners are making good process, NASA faces a number of challenges, including a failure thus far to develop a life cycle cost estimate for the program and the need to coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration and US Air Force.

Although NASA’s challenges are solvable, there is a much bigger problem that is well beyond the space agency’s control. Congress has refused to fully fund the program, which has already caused the start of commercial flights to slip from 2015 to 2017. “Specifically, the Commercial Crew Program has received only 38 percent of requested funding for fiscal years 2011 through 2013, bringing the current aggregate budget gap to $1.1 billion when comparing funding requested to funding received,” the audit found.

The delays could worsen unless the program is fully funded, which will result in more money being spent to launch US astronauts to ISS on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. “Between 2012 and 2017, NASA will pay Roscosmos $1.7 billion to ferry 30 NASA astronauts and international partners to and from the ISS at prices ranging from $47 million to more than $70 million per person. After 2017, NASA hopes to obtain transportation to the ISS from American spaceflight companies,” according to the report.

More here: http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2405/1
  13 Dec 13

Conference Title and Summary Conference Dates Location Total Attendees Total Cost Reported

2012 PM Challenge February 22-23, 2012 Orlando, FL 883 $537,623a
Provided a forum to discuss a wide range of project management-related topics with the objective of instilling a spirit of collaboration through shared experiences.

2011 IT Summit August 15-17, 2011 San Francisco, CA 1,786 $1,291,889
Provided a forum for NASA’s IT workforce and the broader IT community to address IT innovation. A similar conference was held in FY 2010 in the Washington, D.C., area.

2011 PM Challenge February 9-10, 2011
Long Beach, CA 1,537 $1,648,880
Same objectives and purpose as the 2012 PM Challenge.

2010 International Symposium on the A-Train Satellite Constellation October 25-28, 2010 New Orleans, LA 650 $578,104

At the 2011 IT Summit, the Marriott Marquis offered and NASA accepted one complimentary room for every 50 rooms rented, 25 room upgrades at the government rate, and complimentary use of the hotel’s presidential suite. The steering committee determined who received the free and upgraded rooms.

Ultimately, the Chief Information Officer stayed in the presidential suite and other senior NASA managers, conference planners and speakers, and individuals who volunteered to help at the conference stayed in the other free and upgraded rooms. The presidential suite was also used for meetings hosted by the Chief Information Officer and members of the steering committee at no additional cost to NASA.

We found no evidence that NASA incurred any additional expense by accepting the upgraded and complimentary rooms. Moreover, we understand that hotels routinely provide such rooms at no cost to customers who hold large conferences at their facilities.
The hotels that hosted the 2012 PM Challenge and the 2010 International Symposium on the A-Train Satellite Constellation offered similar concessions.

In response to our report, the Chief Financial Officer stated that NASA intends to develop guidance limiting acceptance of room upgrades by employees who attend NASA-sponsored conferences.

More here: http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY13/IG-13-020.pdf (...)
and here: http://fedscoop.com/nasa-it-summit-set-for-san-francisco-a (...)
  13 Dec 13

Employee falls to death at NASA launch pad
An employee of a company that has contracts with NASA fell to his death on Monday at the launch pad where the shuttle Endeavour is set to launch from next month, the US space agency said.

"We had a United Space Alliance worker fall at the pad. NASA emergency medical personnel responded but were unable to revive him," spokeswoman Candrea Thomas told AFP.

"The incident is under investigation," she said.

NASA declined to give any details about the employee. Operations at the Kennedy Space Center launch pad where the incident occurred were suspended for the rest of the day, Thomas said.

The shuttle Endeavour was rolled out to the launch pad last week and is set to blast off from Kennedy Space Center on April 19, becoming the second shuttle to embark on its final voyage to the International Space Station.

Discovery ended its last mission into orbit last week and is soon headed for a museum. The final shuttle launch by Atlantis is scheduled for late June.

Thousands of employees of NASA and its contracting agencies have already been laid off and thousands more are set to lose their jobs when the US space shuttle program officially ends later this year.

More here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/8381330/Employee- (...)
  13 Dec 13

Hacked NASA Sites Still Down
On September 11, a Brazilian hacker took down fourteen NASA Ames Research Center websites, replacing them with the message:

NASA HACKED! BY #BMPoCWe! Stop spy on us! The Brazilian population do not support your attitude! The Illuminati are now visibly acting!

Obama heartless! Inhumane! you have no family? the point in the entire global population is supporting you. NOBODY! We do not want war, we want peace!!! Do not attack the Syrians.

Within hours, the message had been removed, to be replaced with a standard “down for maintenance” message. Eight days later, these sites are still inaccessible; there is no word from NASA on the cause of the delay.

The motives of the hacker are unclear: it has been proposed that the hacker intended the message for the National Security Administration (NSA) and confused the two acronyms, while others think NASA’s lax cybersecurity makes it an inviting target. In point of fact, the same hacker was traced to an attack against NASA in April of this year.

There is no word as to when the sites, which include Kepler, planetary protection, and lunar mission sites, will be back up.

More here: http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/2013/09/20/hacked-nasa- (...)
and here: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/09/12/multiple-nasa-websi (...)
and here: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/09/12/hackers-att (...)
  13 Dec 13

It's Time to Tackle the New Frontiers of Open Government
The second NAP, released Dec. 5, builds on a plan unveiled in September 2011 by introducing 23 new or expanded commitments designed to further advance open government efforts. It also outlines a variety of actions, which the administration will carry out over the next two years, to build on past successes and initiate new ones.

Those initiatives include improving the functionality of various government websites such as Performance.gov and Data.gov, expanding the use of challenges and crowdsourcing through the Challenge.gov program, and improving how agencies respond to Freedom of Information Act requests.

"The commitments are going in the right direction," Joel Gurin, senior advisor at New York University's GovLab, told us. "But to make open data effective as a business driver and economic resource, it's going to require a lot of work on the side of the federal agencies, such as updating their systems and making the data usable." Gurin, who served as chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission in the Obama administration, is author of the upcoming book Open Data Now.

More here: http://www.informationweek.com/government/open-government/ (...)

and here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152080941959600& (...)
  13 Dec 13

Decommissioning Spacebook
In the past three years, the pace at which NASA users have adopted Spacebook is inverse to the pace at which third-party companies have launched enterprise social networking products. Spacebook has provided valuable lessons in user adoption.

The OCIO decommissioned Spacebook on June 1, 2012, and is archiving all user accounts and content. John Hopkins, OCIO Chief of Staff, sees the positive side. “Something that we often fail to do in government is…to not close [applications] when they cease to be viable,” he said. Emma Antunes agrees: “We need to be agile and not be wedded to any one thing.”

More here: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ocio/ittalk/Decommissioning-Sp (...)
  13 Dec 13

NASA's public cloud contracts slammed over wrong security controls, lack of oversight
The audit (PDF) only covers a small component of NASA's overall computing infrastructure, but one that is expected to play an increasingly important role in the near future and could be under threat if NASA does not build a more coherent cloud computing strategy.

NASA of course, along with Rackspace, contributed the IP to launch cloud foundation OpenStack and in 2012 ditched its Nebula private cloud in favour of Azure and Amazon Web Services after a five-month study found the latter more efficient.

More here: http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY13/IG-13-021.pdf (...)

and here: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/04/openstack/all (...)

and here: http://www.zdnet.com/nasas-public-cloud-contracts-slammed- (...)
  13 Dec 13

More Than 1,000 Shuttle Workers To Lose Jobs This Month, Including 800 from USA
The most significant attrition is at USA, NASA’s main shuttle contractor. The Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture expects to end the summer with a work force less than a third the size it was following the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident.

USA, which laid off 1,550 workers immediately following the final space shuttle mission’s July 21 landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will lay off another 515 Aug. 12, spokeswoman Kari Fluegel told Space News Aug. 3. Most of these will come out of Houston.

“On the 12th of August [2011], that’s going to be our biggest layoff in Texas,” Fluegel said.

More here: http://www.spacenews.com/article/more-1000-shuttle-workers (...)
  13 Dec 13

Govt Agencies Responsible For Enforcing Civil Rights Worse Under Obama
The seven obstacles in the C4C report include: 1) intentional discrimination, 2) retaliation, 3) the failure to discipline managers for unlawful discrimination, 4) the provision of free legal counsel to all alleged discriminating officials, 5) the unshakable practice of favoritism and nepotism, 6) the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) recruitment policies, and 7) the flawed EEOC redress system.

C4C's Federal Workplace Evaluation and Reports Committee prepared the report after in-depth research and extensive consultations with class agents from various key federal agencies and civil rights organizations including the No FEAR Coalition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coalition of Minority Employees, the International Association of Whistleblowers, and the Black Females For Justice II at the Social Security Administration.

"The C4C report, which includes stakeholder comments, is timely because it coincides with the recent dialogue about the devastating impact racial biases play on African Americans not just in the criminal justice system, but also within the executive branch of government, headed by President Barack Obama, a man of color," said Jordan. "Officials found guilty of race discrimination in government rarely, if ever, face discipline."

More here: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Govt-Agencies-Responsible (...)
  13 Dec 13

“Racism, Sexism, and Space Ventures”: Civil Rights at NASA in the Nixon Era and Beyond
The bottom line here is that women and minorities comprise nearly two-thirds of the population and a majority of the American labor force, but only a vastly smaller share of its high-technology and science skills pool. In physics (14 percent) and engineering (8 percent), it is still rare to find a woman holding a Ph.D.-level job. The quarter of the nation’s science and engineering workforce that is female has also changed little in the last decade. The growth of science and engineering graduates among minorities is still very slow. In a decade when an estimated half of all NASA employees and a quarter of all NASA engineers will be eligible for retirement, and in which noted trade journal Aviation Week & Space Technology reports that the average age of aerospace workers in American corporations is the early 50s, recruiting and utilizing historically under-represented groups may be only intelligent selfishness in the longer run, for NASA or for any other organization, which is “an investment in America’s future.”

More here: http://history.nasa.gov/sp4801-chapter22.pdf
  13 Dec 13

Age Discrimination In Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
Employers cannot adopt discriminatory age‐based policies

Maximum age for hire, recent college graduate
Mandatory retirement (few exceptions such as pilots)

An employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of age, can be illegal if it has a negative impact on applicants or employees age 40 or older (disparate impact) and is not based on a reasonable factor other than age (RFOA).

Age Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person because of age. Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person's age.

Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co‐worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

More here: http://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/documents/fourth (...)
  12 Dec 13

EEOC FY 2010 Annual Report on the Federal Work Force
Targeted Disabilities Employment Trends

As of September 30, 2010, NASA employed 208 (1.11%) Individuals with Targeted Disabilities (IWTD). In order to have met the federal 2% participation rate goal, 373 IWTD were needed. This represents an increase of 25 employees over FY 2009 and an increase of 34 employees since FY 2006. The participation rate for FY 2009 was 0.99% and for FY 2006 was 0.94%. Over the 5-year period NASA had a net increase of 0.17% in the participation rate of employees with targeted disabilities.

Women in Management

As of September 30, 2010, NASA employed 6,155 Women in permanent positions. Women occupied only 27.61% of NASA’s permanent senior level management positions. This represents an increase of 37 women in senior management positions since FY 2009 and an increase of 131 women since FY 2006.

More here: http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/fsp2010_2/upload/fsp20 (...)
  12 Dec 13

2012 Senior Executive Service Report
Table 3, Senior Executive Service (SES) Agency, provides counts and percentages of SES employees by agency for all the Cabinet level agencies in Fiscal Year 2012. The table also has a category, “ALL OTHER AGENCIES” which contains all non-Cabinet level agencies. The Cabinet level agencies contain over three quarters of the SES employees


Table 5. Senior Executive Service (SES) Age Trends
Statistics restricted to pay plan ES from Fiscal Years 2008 to 2012 (FY2008-FY2012) FISCAL YEAR
2008 53.4 48.6 53.8 58.7
2009 53.8 48.9 54.2 59.0
2010 54.0 49.0 54.3 59.2
2011 54.1 49.1 54.3 59.2
2012 54.2 49.3 54.3 59.3

More here: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-doc (...)
  12 Dec 13

Obama Needs to Fire Some People
One White House excuse for keeping people in place was the difficulty of the Senate confirmation process. With Republicans filibustering most confirmations, a 60-vote supermajority was required to fill politically sensitive jobs. Under those rules, firing someone didn’t mean you could replace them with a better candidate. It meant risking that the position would go unfilled. Before Tavenner took over CMS, the agency hadn’t had a confirmed director in more than seven years.

In November, Senate Democrats eliminated the filibuster against executive-branch nominees. The White House now needs only 51 votes -- a number Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can easily deliver. President Obama now has a far freer hand with which to staff the executive branch. The question is whether he wants to use it.

More here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-11/obama-needs-to-fi (...)
  12 Dec 13

Report on Senior Executive Service pay and performance appraisal system for fiscal year 2009
Table 1 is a summary of the number and percent of career SES members who received a performance rating at the highest available performance level.

Career SES Performance FY 2006-FY 2009
Career SES Rated Percent at Highest Level
AGENCY FY 2006 FY 2007 FY 2008 FY 2009 Percent Change FY 2008-FY 2009

DEFENSE 1,068 31.4% 1,084 31.0% 1,136 27.7% 1,168 28.5% 0.8%
EDUCATION 68 42.7% 64 53.1% 68 45.6% 65 58.5% 12.9%
GSA 69 23.2% 68 48.5% 76 43.4% 78 44.9% 1.5%
HHS 340 59.1% 355 63.7% 354 72.6% 357 68.9% -3.7%
DHS 239 53.6% 300 52.3% 361 49.0% 413 51.8% 2.8%
JUSTICE 563 62.9% 601 66.9% 634 67.0% 657 68.7% 1.7%
NASA 382 55.5% 415 59.0% 430 59.5% 424 65.8% 6.3%

More here: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/senior-executive- (...)
  12 Dec 13

Preserving access to the legal system and improving federal employee's faith in the integrity of agency EEO programs
The Federal Sector will continue its robust training and outreach efforts in the area of retaliation and efforts to discourage use of the EEO process. Through the coordination mechanism established in the Case Management Plan, Hearings Units and ARP (in addition to ordering stringent traditional remedies) will identify cases that demonstrate egregious retaliation or a culture tolerant of retaliation. FSP may then determine whether to initiate a program evaluation and/or provide targeted outreach to the offending agency.

When Federal agencies repeatedly ignore regulatory requirements to provide files, conduct timely investigations, fail to meet hearing deadlines, etc. and are not held accountable, it erodes employee faith in the EEO program and discourages employees and applicants from accessing the system.

Using appeal records and information provided during hearings, through the coordination mechanism established in the Case Management Plan, Hearings Units and ARP will identify those agencies that regularly ignore regulatory processing requirements and/or fail to comply with MDs110 and 715 and will consider imposing sanctions where they deem that the agency's behavior might have an adverse effect on the integrity of the EEO program. Through the coordination mechanism established in the Case Management Plan, Hearings Units and ARP will identify "repeat offenders". Based upon this information and based upon its review of agencies' MD-715 compliance, FSP will consider program evaluations of such agencies and/or utilize 29 CFR § 1614.102(e) (new regulation permitting EEOC to issue notices to agencies when non-compliance is found).

More here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/federal_complement_plan.cfm (...)
  12 Dec 13

Agencies should be developing next generation of Senior Executive Service, study says
"Senior agency leaders, the top political and career leaders, pay insufficient attention to identifying, developing, recruiting and selecting talent for the SES," the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and the management consultants McKinsey & Co. concluded in the report released in July 2013.

Of the approximately 7,100 senior executives in the federal government, almost two-thirds will be eligible to retire within five years. But the report's authors found no government-wide effort to take charge of career development.

More here: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-07-26/news/bs-md-sen (...)

and here: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/senior-executive- (...)
  11 Dec 13

NASA Strategic Management Council
My question to all of the members of the Strategic Management Council (SMC) at NASA who were responsible for approving and implementing the 2009 workforce policy to "rebalance the aging workforce" is why didn't any of them retire at that point? Most were of retirement age themselves. The SMC was made up of all of the SES, Center Directors, C-level managers, etc. This policy is almost like something out of The Onion. Very hard to believe that not a single one of them understood that what they were approving was in breach of US age discrimination laws.

More here: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=23926
  11 Dec 13

Logan's Run
It's 2274 and on the surface, it all seems to be an idyllic society. Living in a city within an enclosed dome, there is little or no work for humans to perform and inhabitants are free to pursue all of the pleasures of life. There is one catch however: your life is limited and when you reach 30, it is terminated in a quasi-religious ceremony known as Carousel. Some, known as runners, do try to escape their fate when the time comes and it's the job of Sandmen to track them down and kill them. Logan is such a man and with several years before his own termination date, thinks nothing of the job he does. Soon after meeting a young woman, Jessica-6, he is ordered to become a runner himself and infiltrate a community outside the dome known as Sanctuary and to destroy it.

More here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074812/
and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WUUnc1M0TA
  11 Dec 13

Civil Rights at USDA: A Backgrounder on Efforts by the Obama Administration
For decades, the United States Department of Agriculture had an unfortunate and checkered history with regards to civil rights. Reports going as far back as the 1960’s have found discrimination at USDA in both program delivery and the treatment of employees, and we are the subject of a number of lawsuits brought by minority farmers and ranchers alleging discrimination. This reputation is so pervasive that USDA has been called “the last plantation.” The bottom of this document addresses this history in more detail in a section entitled “A Brief History of Discrimination at USDA.”

President Obama and Secretary Vilsack have made civil rights a top priority for the Department, and USDA is working to turn the page to move into a new era for civil rights. We are correcting past errors, learning from mistakes, and taking definitive action to ensure that there is no disparity in program benefits based on race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation or disability. It is Secretary Vilsack’s goal that the USDA achieves Abraham Lincoln’s vision of “the people’s department” where each employee and customer is treated fairly and equitably.

Read more: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/doc/Background.pdf
  11 Dec 13

NASA Ames looking for solutions to internal mistrust and Agency animosity
“Two areas particularly important – Hiring and promotions. Director hires outside friends. Those brought in by Director have different set of rules. Director makes all investment decisions. Traditional Ames strengths ignored. ‘Insiders’ only ones who get attention.”

Listed under the title of Factors, Excuses and Hot Buttons, another page cites Director Worden on the problems he found when he took over at the Center, along with what appears to be a retort of an accusation from within the Ames workforce.

“SF Bay Area highest cost of living. Resources provided by HQ lower relative to rest of Agency. Ames has always done poorly on surveys. When I started. Concern that the Center was about to be shut down – needed dynamic ‘military’ leadership. Agency moving to mission focus – we didn’t have expertise – esp. Space systems – new personnel needed. New entrepreneurial spirit needed.

“I’m the Director – I know better where investment is needed ‘Does a former drill sergeant make a good guidance counselor?’ I don’t buy these – need action not excuses – I take ownership!”

More here: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2011/01/nasa-ames-solutions (...)
  11 Dec 13

NASA Aeronautics Research: An Assessment (2008)
Due to constraints on hiring new NASA civil servants, the NASA workforce strategy of mentoring younger engineers and scientists is not being universally implemented due to the lack of young NASA personnel available to be mentored. It is particularly difficult to recruit new staff at Ames Research Center because the extremely high cost of housing and other living expenses in the area deter young engineers and scientists from moving into the area. In 2006, only seven new civil servants were hired at Ames Research Center—not all of them necessarily researchers.

According to NASA’s Workforce Strategy, from fiscal year (FY) 2005 to FY 2011, the civil servant workforce at NASA’s four research centers will be reduced by 19 percent, while the workforce at the rest of NASA is reduced by 5 percent (NASA, 2006b). The Workforce Strategy notes that “changes in workyear requirements through fiscal year 2010 are primarily driven by continuing redeployment of the workforce, especially to effect the restructuring of the aeronautics program and the development and testing of the Space Shuttle follow-on systems.”

More here: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12182&page=71 (...)
  11 Dec 13

"Blurred Lines", Bad Judgment, & Transparency
Many government employees try to use the internal processes to help out with Principle #11, but face retaliation, even when the info remains internal. Principle #11 of 14 from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics clearly states that federal employees: "shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities".

When you see info leaking to the press or being made available to Congress, that is usually because the employees have exhausted all internal remedies and are finally at a point where sharing the info with the press is the only way to resolve the problems.

What gets reported is rarely a one time occurrence, and the whistleblowers are often only seeing the tip of a larger iceberg, and usually not seeing it clearly.

It has been interesting to read the testimonials from women who were sexually assaulted in the military, and found themselves the focus of retaliation by their chain of command. There was no sense of resolution or justice until the word got out. I think that was the real moment of relief for the survivors: when they shared the information and got feedback that what had happened to them was terrible, because inside the gates it was trivialized, buried and forgotten.

More here: http://www.govloop.com/profiles/blogs/blurred-lines-bad-ju (...)
  10 Dec 13

Your guide to building an organization that values experienced workers
With many boomers nearing retirement age, employers must explore a variety of options to meet their staffing needs. See the information about employer programs and strategies from employers that value older workers. Learn about recruiting and retaining experienced workers, "Best Employers" for the 50-plus, trends and best practices, and more.

More here: http://www.aarp.org/work/employers/#!
  10 Dec 13

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Passing of Nelson Mandela
At his trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela closed his statement from the dock saying, “I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

And Nelson Mandela lived for that ideal, and he made it real. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today, he has gone home. And we have lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us -- he belongs to the ages.

More here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/12/05/president-obama- (...)
  10 Dec 13

Open Data Executive Order Compliance: The Bad and The Good. But where is NASA?
We had hopes that some agencies might choose to publicly release their entire Enterprise Data Inventories, providing a full picture of their data holdings. Unfortunately, so far, that does not seem to have happened. Until the full inventories are available, the public will still be stuck in the dark, not knowing what we don’t know about government data holdings.

More here: http://t.co/bT0BVUm5Nb
and here: http://aws.amazon.com/datasets/Climate/1571164061367186 (...)
  10 Dec 13

NASA Looks to Rebalance Aging Workforce
NASA’s aging workforce has long been a focus of discussion. With over thirty percent of the NASA workforce eligible for retirement, it has been widely recognized that the space agency needs to attract a new generation of workers, but also preserve institutional memory. NASA’s Strategic Management Council (SMC) decided that the risk of a shortfall in critical skills is so great, that dramatic action was needed to change these trends.

Not many people leave NASA in any given year, so the agency doesn’t hire many civil servants in one year. However, the average age of NASA is now 47 and yet the average age of their few new hires is just shy of 40. Only 19% of recent hires have been in their 20’s. “It’s been no wonder that the space business continues to age rapidly,” a member of the SMC wrote.

They continued, “If we get close to the 50% fresh-out hiring goal this year, that’ll probably mean more than doubling the number of new people in their 20’s and early 30’s that we hire.”

Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/28471/nasa-looks-to-rebalance (...)
  10 Dec 13

Historic lows in trust in government creates icy headwinds for U.S. open government policies
It is a sad reflection of the current political environment when even members of the Open Government community can't be trusted. I think there are some good people on the White House team, but the agency teams need a complete overhaul, working from a more formal model with processes to ensure accountability and merit-based hiring practices.

If you feel like reading through the comments on “White House promises more transparency in second Open Government plan” at The Verge or “White House announces second open government plan” at Politico or ”New White House plan reaffirms commitment to open data” at The Washington Post, you’ll find anger, disbelief and mockery.

More here: http://e-pluribusunum.com/2013/12/08/historic-low-trust-in (...)
   9 Dec 13

EPA Corruption Investigation Started
The new EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy will not only have to focus on climate change and the toxicity of our air and water, but also highly public trials that are scheduled within months of her assumed-confirmation. These trials will expose massive incompetence in the Office of Civil Rights, the inner-workings of a corrupt environment at the EPA that retaliates against whistleblowers attempting to protect public health.

Two EPA employees, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Susan Morris, will be taking EPA back to court to expose its treatment of whistleblowers and the impact on public health and civil rights. Senior former and current officials within EPA will be deposed, such as Ray Spears, former Deputy Chief of Staff to three EPA administrators; Rafael DeLeon, former Director of Civil Rights and Human Resources as well as legal advisor to EPA administrators; and Karen Higginbotham, former Civil Rights Director now a special assistant in the Office of the Administrator. The depositions will cover decades of allegations of corruption at the highest levels of the EPA. Corruption that has, no doubt, placed the public and EPA employees in jeopardy.

More here: http://mspbwatcharchive.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/epa-corru (...)
   8 Dec 13

Developing a Model Civil Rights Program
A strong civil rights and diversity program at EPA is essential for creating a high performing organization, attracting and retaining a talented and diverse work force, and ultimately creating an environment in which employees can succeed and meet the challenge of EPA’s mission. Over the past year, EPA’s civil rights program made significant progress, and the Administrator has taken several actions to strengthen EPA’s commitment to civil rights, equal employment opportunity and diversity in the workplace, and implementation of Title VI. EPA has set a record for training its employees under the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act (No FEAR); submitted on time its Management Directive 715 Report (MD-715) to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; incorporated equal employment opportunity (EEO) language into the performance standards of all supervisors and managers; revised and strengthened the EEO performance standard for all Senior Executive Service members; and issued a new anti-harassment policy.

With regard to Title VI, the Administrator appointed a special counsel to help address longstanding complaints of discrimination, and through a focused team approach, EPA succeeded in processing in 2011 the highest number of complaints in any year, including some of the oldest Title VI complaints. EPA issued a Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Order (“internal Title VI guidance”) to comply with Executive Order 13166, and revised its Worker Protection Standard Agricultural Inspection Guidance (to assure access to individuals with limited English proficiency).

More recently, EPA for the first time has included standard Title VI compliance language in National Program Manager’s (NPM) guidance across EPA programs to highlight for grant recipients their affirmative responsibility to comply with Title VI.

While these are promising signs of moving forward, a large challenge remains to build a model program for EPA that will broaden responsibility and strengthen accountability for civil rights across the Agency. Improvements in OCR alone cannot effectuate a model program for the Agency. Senior level awareness, commitment, training, accountability systems, and adequate resources, are all critical to a sustained model civil rights program. In short, EPA’s civil rights program cannot be the responsibility of solely one office or one program, but instead must reflect “One EPA” principles and involve managers and staff from across the Agency.

More here: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/pdf/executive_committee_final_r (...)
   8 Dec 13

Research: Your Firm Probably Isn't an Equal Opportunity Employer
So why did equal employment progress stop? We see two primary reasons. The first is tied to national efforts to pressure firms to regulate equal opportunity. The second is related to what is currently happening (or not happening) in your workplace.

Starting in the late 1970s, there was growing white resentment in the courts regarding affirmative action and “reverse discrimination” in employment and education (see McDonald v. Santa Fe Transport and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke). And after the 1980 presidential election, the Reagan administration rolled out a deregulation agenda that included reducing the organizational capacity of the EEOC and the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance to monitor and enforce equal employment opportunity legislation. Thus, federal court appointments began to interpret discrimination law more narrowly.

These shifts in the political and legal environments removed the political pressure on politicians and CEOs to address discrimination and practice affirmative action. And as political pressure for equal employment opportunity waned, so did private sector vigilance and progress. Indeed, many human resource managers who had hung their professional hats on affirmative action in the 1960s and 1970s rebranded their focus as “Diversity Management.” What we show in our book, and others have shown in recent research, is that diversity management alone does not promote racial and gender integration or equal employment opportunity gains.

Today only about 1 in 6 firms hold their managers accountable for the progress of women or minorities in their workplaces. Instead, most firms rely on symbolic public commitments to equal opportunity, occasional diversity training, and defensive legal responses to discrimination complaints as their core diversity practices.

More here: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/06/is-your-firm-really-an-equal- (...)
   8 Dec 13

US Labor Department announces final rules to improve employment of veterans, people with disabilities [08/27/2013]
If you are an employer, avoid taking actions such as "rebranding to attract early career persons" or "rebalancing the aging workforce". While it may seem beneficial to attract an underrepresented group such as disabled employees to "rebalance the workforce" via targeted outreach efforts, wait until the DOL announces final rules such as these: http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/ofccp/OFCCP20131578.htm (...)    7 Dec 13

Employment Discrimination FAQs
If you think you are a victim of discrimination, look at who the decision-maker is (a known bigot or a fair-minded boss) and compare your qualifications to the successful candidate (be honest about your flaws). If the decision looks suspicious, ask the decision-maker for an explanation. If the explanation is bogus, add it to your arsenal of evidence.

Direct, or "smoking gun" evidence, such as:
•disparaging remarks
•admissions of bias ("women don't belong around heavy construction equipment")
•illegal workforce policies

Indirect evidence, such as:
•statistics (an all white, male executive team or a higher than expected proportion of older workers laid off)
•Other cases of discrimination
•Pretext (bogus reasons given for employment decisions to cover up the unlawful reason)
•Better treatment of people outside of the protected class who have equal or lesser qualifications.

More here: http://www.fklaborlaw.com/faqs/employment-law-discriminati (...)
   7 Dec 13

US Releases Ambitious, Focused Plan for Open Government
In the coming days we will be working with our partners and allies to provide in-depth analysis of each of the commitments and develop recommendations for how the government should meet its promises. These commitments will not execute themselves, and they alone are not enough to meet our-- or the government's-- broader goals. We will continue to work with the Administration to make sure that the plan is executed well, and that the work of developing a more open and accountable government does not stop.

More here: http://www.openthegovernment.org/node/4226
   7 Dec 13

Use Disciplinary Actions Effectively and Legally
Company past practices, in similar situations with other employees, must be consistent with the current employee reprimand. Inconsistency is potential grounds for charges of discrimination, if employees in a protected group are over-represented in disciplinary action cases. If you discover this is so, relook at your hiring practices, policies, and any other employment practice that may be a red flag for discriminatory treatment.

More here: http://humanresources.about.com/od/discipline/qt/disciplin (...)
   7 Dec 13

Federal Sector Complement Plan for EEOC
Provide guidance on agency counsel intrusion

Ensuring separation between the agency's EEO complaint program and defensive function enhances the credibility of the EEO office and the integrity of the EEO complaints process. Where employees believe that EEO investigations are controlled by agency counsel, they will not use the system and turn to other avenues (e.g., administrative grievance) for relief. Issuing additional guidance on this issue would assist agency EEO offices to assert their independence from agency counsel and underscore to Federal employees and applicants that agency EEO investigations are neutral and unbiased.

A revised MD-110 with detailed guidance on the issue of agency counsel intrusion is in development and once final will be accompanied by outreach and stakeholder training.

More here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/plan/federal_complement_plan.cfm (...)
   6 Dec 13

2nd US National Action Plan for OpenGov
The White House released its second action plan (PDF) for improving the state of open government in the United States. The action plan is required for as part of U.S. participation in the Open Government Partnership, an international, multilateral initiative that seeks to push nations to make and keep commitments to open government.

Quick thoughts on the plan here: http://lnkd.in/bjjQdJS

Download it here: http://lnkd.in/bs9gRf5
   6 Dec 13

Preventing Workplace Bullying
Despite the potential legal ramifications and penalties that may be imposed, many employers are largely unaware of their legal responsibilities in relation to workplace bullying.

Whilst this practical guide has been developed to assist all workplaces, it is of particular value to small business, to identify, assess, minimise, control and review the risks to health, safety and welfare caused by workplace bullying. It aims to provide practical advice and information on making workplaces safer for everyone concerned.

Although it is recognised a client or customer may commit bullying behaviour, this guide only addresses the management of bullying behaviour committed within the workplace. Employers also have the responsibility to minimise risks to their staff from
bullying behaviours that may arise from clients or customers.

More here: http://www.stopbullyingsa.com.au/documents/bullying_employ (...)
   5 Dec 13

Adapting your business to the aging workforce
Strategy: Create a workplace that provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) for all workers, regardless of age.

•Check that EEO policies address age bias in recruitment, promotion and career development.

•Ensure that age and the assumption of retirement are not factors in managerial decision-making. For example: failing to offer an older worker career development opportunities or redeploying only younger people during a business restructure.

•Strive to create a work environment that respects and values older workers as much as younger workers. For example: involve older workers in brainstorming sessions and meaningful work, or recognise excellence and achievements.

Recruitment Strategy: Introduce a recruitment strategy so you draw from the widest possible talent pool across all age groups.

•Review recruitment practices to ensure they are free of age bias. To do this, examine the age profiles of candidates and recruits in the past three years and test the level of age awareness amongst those responsible for recruiting staff.

•Train recruitment staff in the benefits of age diversity and ensure they use age free recruitment practices.

•Identify candidates who share your company's values and objectives, and are right for the job (regardless of age).

•Brief external recruitment agents about your aim to have a workforce with a diversity of ages. Ensure that processes do not disadvantage older or younger applicants. Review how positions are advertised and ensure they do not present age bias. Advertisements should focus on the nature of the position and skills required.

•Check that the placement of advertisements attracts the full range of age groups. For example: you may not reach all applicants if you advertise only on your website. Review job application forms. Asking for information about an applicant's age may cloud judgement.

•Monitor the age of applicants. This will show the effectiveness of your strategy to attract an age-balanced pool of candidates, and identify any barriers to either younger or older applicants.

More here: http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/fair-and-safe-work/industria (...)
   5 Dec 13

EEOC and court cases of interest to Federal workers who have faced discrimination, retaliation and / or other management abuses involving prohibited personnel practices
Pro Se

More here: http://www.coalition4change.org/cases.htm
   5 Dec 13

UC researcher fights feds over "security risk" tag
Su's suit is simple: He denies being a security threat, stresses that he never conducted security-sensitive research and claims his reputation was ruined when his NASA/Ames bosses revealed to his colleagues that the FBI had identified him as a security threat.

Su, through his attorneys, declined to comment. But in a deposition, the 51-year-old with a Ph.D. in agronomy testified that the disclosures clouded his life, leaving people with the impression "this guy must be doing something wrong."

"I'm every day been thinking I'm a security-risk person, labeled by people," he testified. "This is huge impact, and hardship to my family."

More here: http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_24647425/uc-resea (...)
   4 Dec 13

At the NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley the proportion of retirement-eligible employees stands at almost 28 percent
Among federal organizations with more than 1,000 employees, NASA’s Ames Research Center had the highest proportion of retirement-eligibles: More than one out of four of its 1,200employees are able to retire immediately. That percentage is well above other NASA agencies.

At Ames, the staff is “very energized” by its work on aeronautics and space applications, Associate Director Deborah Feng said in written answers. In addition, she said, employees often leave to take jobs at local companies, only to return later on to Ames’ benefit.

But, while the center has a succession plan, Feng said, “limited hiring flexibility” is hampering its ability to prepare for “the departure of a large share of our seasoned workforce.”

More here: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20131201/PERSONNEL01/3 (...)

and here: http://www.slideshare.net/meskey/nasa-2011-draft-workforce (...)
   3 Dec 13

A felony conviction does not automatically make one unsuitable for Federal employment
When making a suitability determination, an agency will evaluate the individual’s character traits and decide whether their employment or continued employment would or would not protect the integrity or promote the efficiency of the service. The factors that may form the basis for finding a person unsuitable can be found under 5 CFR 731.202(b) and include criminal or dishonest conduct.

To the extent deemed pertinent to an individual’s case, the agency making the determination must give consideration to the additional considerations found under 5 CFR 731.202(c) which include things like the nature of the position for which the person is applying, the circumstances surrounding the conduct, the recency of the conduct, and the absence or presence of rehabilitation.

More here: http://www.opm.gov/faqs/QA.aspx?fid=cb3cafac-1e73-4a6b-bd8 (...)
   3 Dec 13

Open Government Progress in the United States
I would love to see a Quora discussion on the Preview Report for the 2nd US National Action Plan for OpenGov.

From the White House blog dated October 31, 2013:

"Launched in September 2011 by President Obama and seven other country leaders, the Open Government Partnership was founded on the principle that the strength and vibrancy of nations depend on an active civil society and robust engagement between governments and their citizens to advance shared goals of peace, prosperity, and the well-being of all people. In just over two years the OGP has made incredible progress – expanding to more than 60 countries that have made more than 1000 commitments to make governments around the globe more open, accountable, and transparent to their citizens.

Building on these efforts to create more efficient, effective, and accountable governments, the Obama Administration today issued a new report, outlining ambitious new open-government commitments, including modernizing and improving the administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which provides the public with access to government information, and expanding the President’s open data initiatives across the Federal Government to fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth. These commitments, and many others, will be part of a second U.S. Open Government National Action Plan to be released later this year.

As we work with stakeholders to complete our second National Action Plan, we will continue to take steps to further support a vibrant civil society – both in the United States and around the world. Over the next year, the Administration will continue to intensify and broaden engagement with civil society, as well as work together with the international community to roll back and prevent new restrictions on those who seek to have a voice in their societies, and identify and share best practices and innovative approaches to help civil society succeed.

For more information on the second U.S. Open Government National Action Plan, see a fact sheet on the report."

More here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/10/31/open-government- (...)
  29 Nov 13

Age Discrimination Worldwide
This appears to be an issue all over the world - with people working longer and younger people also wanting opportunity. It has to be a balance - the young do not necessarily have fresh ideas or new approaches - the older are not always good examples of best practice or willingness to share experience.

NASA who looks to the future - obviously looks at what a future work force will be and how it is made up - a combination of young and old makes for a more exciting scenario where things do not have to be relearned but passed down in an evolutionary way.

Basing a workforce on statistical goals is just insulting to the workforce! I am sure some of the ladies who work in NASA would be very offended if they thought they were only there because of some male/female percentage requirement drawn up by a man.

I think there is something extremely valuable having an older employee mentoring a younger one! - Graphic Designer/Illustrator/Artworker

More about the US Age Discrimination laws here: http://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/documents/fourth (...)

More about US discrimination laws in general here: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/4-26-13.cfm (...)
  29 Nov 13

End the Code of Silence
Too often managers use the excuse of "maintaining good order and discipline" to mob an employee out of government for other reasons completely. Overusing or misusing the disciplinary process is rampant, with "mobbing" or gang harassment on the rise.

The real reason for this is usually "retaliation". Retaliation against a whistleblower, retaliation against an employee who complained about discrimination, retaliation against a Union or other administrative grievance.

In the military, retaliation has been reported in 63% of the cases of reported sexual assault. New legislation will make this a crime. It is this betrayal of trust, this betrayal of justice, that leads to so much of the financial and emotional wreckage for soldiers and employees reporting malfeasance in government.

The leadership of the U.S. military at every level has proven they lack the moral courage to solve the sexual abuse crisis. Commanders discourage reporting because it is the reporting of the crimes, far more than the crimes themselves, that interfere with good order and discipline.

Unreported sexual assaults harm the victims. Reported sexual assaults harm the entire unit. Good order and discipline is therefore easier to maintain in a culture that enforces a code of silence. This will never change unless the culture changes. The culture will never change unless Congress imposes fundamental structural changes from the outside.

The approximately 90 percent of the assaults that go unreported most likely disproportionately involve members of the victims’ chain of command. This is because it is absurd to expect victims to come forward to report a crime when it is the criminals or their cohorts themselves to whom the victims will reporting. And the criminals or cohorts will also be responsible for doing the prosecuting. How can this make sense?

Maintaining the readiness of our military force does not require silencing 90 percent of the victims of military sexual assault. Senior leaders in the Pentagon are using the excuse of maintaining good order and discipline to hide their failure as leaders. There is an epidemic of failed leadership across government, not only in the military.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) is an important management tool that allows leaders and managers to receive feedback from their employees and to take actions to increase satisfaction and engagement with the ultimate goal of improving services to the American public.

This year, agencies will receive even more granular survey results at manager levels that will allow them to identify challenges and to take specific actions. Let's drill down into the problem organizations. Let's remove the poorly rated managers. Let's prosecute the perpetrators of crimes and civil torts. Let's end the code of silence in government.

More here: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/2013/11/ (...)

and here: http://www.fedview.opm.gov/2013/
  28 Nov 13

Microbiologist and Biotechnologist and Consultant
If only reason to 'get rid off' aging work force is their age ....that can't be right and just that is age related discrimination covered by a need to get fresh employees...according to many voices inside NASA for example is the fact that there aren't enough skilled and educated workers available in USA to fill those posts which may come open when older generations are leaving NASA...transition should be smooth so that those older workers could transfer their 'quiet knowledge and skills' acquired within long period of time to younger incumbents so that very valuable knowledge, skills and attitudes wont be wasted. If there is lacking a culture of honor in workplace in such atmosphere there is no future for such a company.

There should be a real culture of honor in all workplaces. Real one I mean not a written statement but really one that is enforced and followed up. There should be a atmosphere where older employees could share their silent knowledge and skills to younger incumbents without any pressure and fear to have to leave in a hurry. If a state or an institution tries to develop or enhance its functions only by cuts and savings (economical) that road will come to its end soon. You can only cut and save life out from your workplace with continuous lay offs and cuts. That builds a atmosphere of fear where no one is creative and every one is defending only his/her rights to keep job...Many times these things are very simple maybe too simple to understand and agree. ...

It is not only the "knowledge" ....the value that older employees give to the workplace's atmosphere important...productivity as only metrics is soon history....because of lessening natural resources for example it senseless count on continuous growth along coming years...it will definitely not happen in future.

Population in world grows and it reaches soon 10 billion and with lessening land for growing crops for enough food for growing demands. If we are not learning new way of thinking here when there is a minor window in time to step in new way of thinking about honoring each other (really) and giving value for life as it is...we have to be ready to be able to live with less and be able to share ...companies who treat their employees badly will be disappearing...in these companies it only happens waste of resources and nothing is created...think about that...

If company's key values are measured only in numbers (productivity) such a company does not exist for a longer period of time. If companies whether federal or non-federal are not supporting creativity and good value working environment there will no future. Productivity is not the most important driving force for an thriving company. When company stops creating its end is near. There are so many examples of this in near past...
  28 Nov 13

They pulled a good old boys routine and still expect to get away with it.
“I came forward to make it easier for other people, to be a role model for other people who are younger because I couldn’t have done this 25 years ago or 30 years ago. But they did their best to assassinate my character. They pulled a good old boys routine and still expect to get away with it,” Hanks said.

“I’m going to do everything that I can within my legal rights to try to bring those things to light, but I can’t let it define me so I’m starting to let it go and just live my life,” Hanks told POLITICO. “But these guys — I don’t think everybody in the military is like this — but I think these guys are so full of themselves that they’re at a point where they feel that they’re untouchable. It’s almost like a God-like factor and they’re an embarrassment to the rest of the military.”

More here: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/accuser-kimberly-han (...)

And here: http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131018/NEWS/3101800 (...)
  27 Nov 13

8 female Marines claim gang rape and sex assault at Washington D.C. barracks
This is a great article because is shows how vicious the retaliation can be, and how broad the support is for invalidating the complaint (and the complainant). Be sure to read the comments at the bottom. This issue is not unique to the US, and happens in government all around the world. End the "Code of Silence". Let's prosecute the perpetrators, not protect them.

The recent focus on the Military Justice Improvement Act has been helpful in that there have been a flurry of news articles and testimonials describing retaliation against the women (and men) who reported sexual harassment and sex assaults in the military.

At the core, retaliation looks quite similar across all cases, whether the basis is sex, age, race, disability, etc. #PassMJIA

More here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2111016/8-female-M (...)
  27 Nov 13

The Most Frequently Alleged Basis and Issue Remain Unchanged
Of the 16,974 complaints filed in FY 2011, the basis most frequently alleged was reprisal/retaliation (7,553) and the issue most frequently alleged was non-sexual harassment (5,863). As shown in Tables 7 and 8, this has remained unchanged for the past five fiscal years. FY 2011 also saw a continuance of a five-year upward trend in complaints alleging both reprisal and age discrimination. Also in FY 2011, the number of complaints filed with allegations of race (Black/African American) once again exceeded those complaints filed with allegations of disability (physical).

An agency may not take an adverse action or otherwise “retaliate” against applicants or employees because they engaged in a protected activity.

See EEOC’s Facts About Retaliation for examples of adverse actions, protected activities and other guidance on retaliation.

More here: http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/fsp2011/upload/FY-2011 (...)

and here: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/facts-retal.cfm
  27 Nov 13

NASA gets away with blatant age discrimination
For openers, NASA is concerned that its workforce of engineers is aging and losing expertise through retirements. But paradoxically, for the most part it refuses to hire seasoned engineers in midcareer who have been cut loose by defense contractors and very much would like to get hired by NASA. The agency is largely replacing retirees with kids just out of school who bring nothing in the way of experience, and they sometimes lack good judgment.

In addition (and here I know the forces of political correctness will excoriate me, but it must be said), NASA has been tripping over its feet striving too hard for diversity. It wants to have a workforce that "looks like America." The problem is that a workforce that looks like America might end up being about as smart as America, which means NASA won't have many bona fide rocket scientists in its ranks.

Another troubling thing is that "a workforce that looks like America" has come to represent code words for: "White middle-aged males need not apply." It has been said NASA is trying to shake the image that it is populated by guys with crew cuts wearing white shirts and neckties.

Age discrimination, however, seems to be endemic to the entire aerospace industry. The CEO of one prominent aerospace company says his firm and others in the business "fill the front end with people right out of school." They do this even though, he admits, it often makes aerospace companies repeat the mistakes they have made earlier. Increasingly, there is no more tribal lore to help avoid catastrophes.

More here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1007763/posts (...)
  27 Nov 13

Systems/Spacecraft/Software Engineer in the job market
"I am in total agreement...about the meta-story. (My creativity was shunned, perhaps because it was misrepresented by me, or perhaps from lack of imagination on the management's part. I will never know.) What I do know is that in 2011, there were massive layoffs of over-50 year olds in the JSC area by the largest contractors. Younger staff from STS were moved into desks in ISS, and older, experienced staff were released. Corporate knowledge base went out the window. Many of us would have placed a class-action suit, had we been able to find this smoking gun, perhaps.

I think what is most shocking about the OpenNASA article, is that it shows HR contempt for the target accomplishments of NASA, and what it took to get there. If you do not have the right balance of experience and fresh ideas on a project, it will reinvent wheel after wheel. One cannot arbitrarily set age requirements, excuse me, FO needs, that ignores what it takes for success in a project, legal or not. A better approach would have been to hugely encourage on-campus hiring, not set arbitrary numerical goals."

More here: http://www.opennasa.com/2009/04/02/balancing-nasas-workfor (...)
  27 Nov 13

How to Differentiate Between Experts and Fraudsters
1. Ask for examples of relevant experience

Any “expert” should be able to readily and easily provide a laundry list of real-world experiences where they’ve utilized the skills they profess to have. Make your expert cough up the stories about how they’ve used what they’re teaching during previous job assignments or consulting assignments. If they can’t, your warning siren should be warming up.

2. Ask for evidence of impact they’ve had

I’ve said this a million times – I don’t care about activities. I care about impact. An expert must be able to link the provision of their expertise to real tangible results. Your organization must improve as a result of your investment in this person’s services. The likelihood of that happening if the “expert” has never before demonstrated bottom line impact is pretty low. If the expert is unable to provide direct evidence of the results they generate (either in the form of numbers for “hard” impact services or testimonials and survey results for “softer” skill services) the warning siren should begin emitting its wail.

3. Ask how they’ll transfer or apply their expertise

Experts can be like a street drug. Once you get hooked on their services, you might need to keep having them back to provide those skills. That gets expensive over time. The best kinds of experts are those who put clients first and try to render their services obsolete. Yes, I know you once again think I’ve lost it but that approach benefits both the expert and the client.

More here: http://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/2013/02/how-to-differenti (...)
  26 Nov 13

The Open Government Partnership Second Open Government National Action Plan for the United States of America: A Preview Report
Here is my feedback on the preview report:

1) The plan does not nearly cover the breadth of OpenGov activities

2) Not enough about accountability and how to hold government officials accountable via laws that protect against retaliation, whistleblower sites for reporting waste, fraud, abuse, etc.

3) Not enough about open innovation via social platforms such as the ExpertNet concept in the first plan, and how to extend access to the internet and social media to the remaining 2/3 of the world who are not online

4) Not enough about corruption, and reducing corruption in government.

5) Not enough about open procurement, open contracting. With the ObamaCare website troubles front and center, this seems critical

6) Not enough about surveillance vs. privacy

7) Not enough about institutionalizing OpenGov in the federal agencies and departments

8) Not enough about private public transparency: as we privatize governmental functions, how to we bring the same processes for transparency such as FOIA into these new institutions?

More here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/preview (...)
  25 Nov 13

It's almost impossible to hold government accountable
So where are we now? With drone strikes, with no accountability for the atrocities of the last administration, with corporate and financiers totally immersed in malfeasance (political as well as economic), not charged or fined, with a broken political system, with the will of the people being ignored because of a conventional wisdom influenced by the desperate desire for campaign contributions and an even greater desire to hold on to political office merely to occupy it rather than to stand for anything?

More here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/31/1198199/-40-Years (...)
  24 Nov 13

Behind the Scenes
The findings also resulted in a number of sexual assault and harassment reports – how many wasn’t disclosed – many from “third parties” who knew of incidents and reported them on behalf of their colleagues.

In one unit, junior female soldiers — the demographic that most often falls victim to sex crimes — meet weekly in small groups and write down accounts of harassment and assault they’ve heard about or experienced. They swap and share the stories, pseudo-anonymously, in the presence of personnel trained to respond to allegations of sex crimes.

More here: http://www.stripes.com/the-military-s-behind-the-scenes-st (...)
  23 Nov 13

The Slow Pace of Revolution
Those veterans working and hoping for change were understandably disappointed when no vote on the legislative proposals was taken, and the Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until December 9. The veterans can of course be forgiven for wishing for change, and it is sad to see those who already lost one kind of innocence by being assaulted by trusted military comrades and then lost other kinds of innocence by having their integrity and human worth impugned when the perpetrators' misdeeds were ignored or, in some cases, the perpetrators were even held up as model service members, now losing their innocence about the pace of change when bureaucracy, power, politics, and sexism combine.

Read more: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-isnt-golden/20 (...)
  23 Nov 13

8% Prosecution Rate
Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, who served five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, faces possible court martial on charges that include forced sex, wrongful sexual conduct, violating an order, possessing pornography and alcohol while deployed, and misusing a government travel charge card and filing fraudulent claims, officials said.

Read more and listen to the audio: http://voiceofrussia.com/us/radio_broadcast/70924886/89550 (...)
  23 Nov 13

The Basics of Evidence for Fraud and Corruption Investigators
Direct evidence, as the name implies, is evidence that tends to prove a fact directly – for example, a statement from an eyewitness or the cancelled check used for a bribe payment or a confession by the subject. Direct evidence is usually considered to be the strongest method of proof, but circumstantial evidence – evidence that tends to prove a fact indirectly, or by inference from other facts – also can be quite convincing if presented correctly.

To be convincing (and admissible in court), circumstantial evidence must:

•Be relevant, of course, that is, tend to prove or disprove a fact in issue;

•Be cumulative, that is, not limited to one, isolated piece of evidence, but of several inter-connected parts; for example, a husband not only comes home late, without an excuse, but has lipstick on his collar, liquor on his breath and a matchbox in his pocket from the Stagger Inn Lounge;

•Be tightly organized and clearly presented: many circumstantial cases fail not because the evidence is weak, but because it is presented in a disorganized and confusing manner which the fact finder cannot understand;

•And finally, to be persuasive (and admissible in court) circumstantial evidence must exclude all plausible innocent explanations.

More here: http://guide.iacrc.org/the-basics-of-evidence-for-fraud-an (...)
  22 Nov 13

We’ve Heard the Same Tired Refrain of Zero Tolerance
“It was a very huge disappointment to know that the chain of command was going to throw me aside because my assailant was a senior person, [had an important job] and of course you can’t ignore the possibility of the commanding officer and senior people making rank,” Lewis said. “What commanding officer wants to have to pick up the phone, call his boss and say, ‘Excuse me, I’ve had a sexual assault or I’ve had a rape aboard my ship’? That’s a black mark on the officer’s record.” - Brian Lewis, a former Navy petty officer 3rd class

More here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ruth-marcus-hidden- (...)
  22 Nov 13

The Perpetrator is Often Allowed to Continue Working
"It's very scary and often a career-killer. The Department of Defense's own survey found that 62 percent of women who reported unwanted sexual contact said they were retaliated against. I know I felt my command went to extremes to punish survivors for reporting the crime, and this was the same command that had the power to decide whether my case would proceed to trial. My fellow Coast Guardswomen told me that because of what our command did to me, they would never report a sexual assault if it happened to them. Being sexually assaulted is difficult enough—without the added trauma of being blamed or not believed. And on top of that, you're fighting for your career." - Panayiota Bertzikis enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in 2005 and served at Coast Guard Station Burlington, VT and Coast Guard Boston.

More here: http://www.glamour.com/inspired/blogs/the-conversation/201 (...)

and here: http://militaryrapecrisiscenter.org/our-team/our-executive (...)
  22 Nov 13

Because He Was Deeply Biased in Protecting the Chain of Command
"I became depressed, suicidal, unfit to fly, and was removed from any functional job in the fleet. I did endure a UCMJ Article 32 hearing to present evidence against my attacker, but the case was dropped. The convening authority, a Marine General who later became the CMC, dismissed my case based on a meeting he had with the accused and the accused's minister, citing that he was a good Christian and could not have committed the crime. My case was over, no one was ever prosecuted or convicted of any criminal assault at Tailhook '91." - Paula Coughlin, Tailhook whistleblower; retired lieutenant, U.S. Navy

More here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paula-coughlin/military-sexu (...)
  22 Nov 13

"The investigation by the Commander (my boss) was eventually concluded and the court date was scheduled. The day before our “Administrative Hearing” I was contacted by the Commander who informed me that both of the individuals we filed Equal Employment Opportunity complaints on were willing to plead out but that would mean that it would not be a matter of public record. I wanted it to be over so I agreed to the terms. Of course I was fine with no public records because I wanted privacy. In essence what I did was unknowingly withdraw the original complaint and the whole thing disappeared.

I returned to relentless forms of retaliation that literally ran me out of the squadron. First when I got back to the squadron, I realized that I no longer had the positions of leadership or authority that I once had (demoted), then they would assign me menial tasks that would ensure that I was by myself (isolated), then there were the verbal cues and statements made by the very bold who had no problem making it known to me that I was no longer a part of the team (bullying), and finally the entire Chain of Command held me up at every turn by denying me the training I needed to attain my promotions (withholding of training, promotions, etc.)." - Jennifer Norris, USAF Ret, Military Policy

More here: http://militaryjusticeforall.com/2013/10/11/betrayed-again (...)
  21 Nov 13

Cover-ups, Clemency, and Credible Witnesses
"After my assault at Aviano Air Base in Italy and reporting the crime, I endured eight months of public humiliation. The defense did everything they could to drag my name and character through the mud. And, I still went to work and did my job.

I watched as my assailant's commanders sided with my perpetrator before, during and after the trial. During the trial, three current or former commanders testified to Lt. Col. James Wilkerson's "good military character." Many others wrote affidavits touting his character as well. Over 30 current or former commanders wrote letters supporting overturning his conviction through clemency. Many of these letters from commanders attacked the prosecution, the court members, the judge and me.

If it were not for the persistence of the prosecution team, my case would not have gone forward." - Kimberly Hanks is a physician's assistant based in California. Until September 2013, Kimberly worked as a contractor at Aviano Air Base in Italy.

More here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/11/18/sexual-as (...)

and here: http://www.mysanantonio.com/twice-betrayed/

and here: http://www.thenation.com/blog/177177/military-stifling-dis (...)
  20 Nov 13

A Declining Number of Feds Feel Empowered to #Innovate
The 2013 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, released last week by the Office of Personnel Management, found that only 40 percent of federal workers believe that workplace awards depend on how well employees perform their jobs, while just 38 percent believe that creativity and innovation are rewarded. Positive responses in both of these areas have seen a steady decline of roughly 6 percent over the past two years, according to the survey.

More here: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/wired-workplace/2013/1 (...)

and here: http://www.fedview.opm.gov/2013/Reports/
  18 Nov 13

Retaliation: Are compensatory and punitive damages available and appropriate?
Compensatory and punitive damages are available for retaliation claims under all of the statutes enforced by the EEOC, including the ADEA and the EPA. Compensatory and punitive damages for retaliation claims under the ADEA and the EPA are not subject to statutory caps.

Punitive damages often are appropriate in retaliation claims under any of the statutes enforced by the EEOC. [Note that punitive damages are not available against the federal, state or local governments, but only against private employers.]

More here: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/retal.html
  17 Nov 13

Post-Employment Retaliation
Examples of post-employment retaliation include actions that are
designed to interfere with the individual's prospects for employment, such as giving an unjustified negative job reference, refusing to provide a job reference, and informing an individual's prospective employer about the individual's protected activity.

Read more: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/retal.html
  17 Nov 13

The Biases in Open Government that Blind Us
“New techniques, not just new technologies, are important in advancing open government innovation” noted Andrew Stott of the UK Transparency Board. He should know. Stott led the work to open up UK government data and create Data.gov.uk. And in his experience, the means are just as important as the ends.

More here: http://www.aspeninstitute.org/about/blog/biases-open-gover (...)
  15 Nov 13

The Most Disturbing Part Of The JPMorgan News Is That It's Not Shocking At All
Although what happened in the financial institutions is beyond what the average person will deal with in his/her life, many people lost their wealth due to the fraudulent activity in the banks.

Fraud is a crime that is 1) difficult to recognize 2) difficult to investigate 3) difficult to prove in civil court.

The more preventative measures we can put into place via legislation, the better. My log discusses fraud in its myriad forms in quite a bit of detail. It is something that happens with increasing frequency in families, with remarriages at the core of the issue. It happens in government, with corruption at the core of the issue. It happens to elderly citizens, with age discrimination at the core of the issue.

More here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-s-goodman/jpmorgan-chi (...)
  15 Nov 13

Do You Suspect Fraud by the Executor of a California Estate?
As a "fiduciary" of the estate and beneficiaries, the executor has a duty of trust and responsibility. This means that, if you suspect the executor is engaging in fraudulent activities or mismanagement, you have options.

After you have collected evidence of the executor's misconduct, you can file a petition with the probate court to compel the executor to abide by the dispositions of the will. If the court agrees with your allegation, the court will order the executor to correct the situation within a specific deadline. Failure to do so will prompt the court to consider his or her removal as executor of the estate. The court may appoint a new executor or agree to one proposed by the heirs and beneficiaries.

You may also file a petition for an accounting. If accepted by the court, the executor will be required to provide a detailed accounting report of all the amounts and assets that have come in and out of the estate. If there is evidence of theft, criminal charges may be filed in a civil court.

More here: http://www.grossmanlaw.net/blog/do-you-suspect-fraud-by-th (...)
  15 Nov 13

Special Victims Counsel
I would love to see the Special Victims Counsel (SVC) program extended to other agencies and to other forms of malfeasance such as harassment, retaliation, child abuse, work-related injuries and death, etc. I have recommended that we add some "teeth" to the No FEAR Act as well, with mandatory discipline for the offenders.

More here: http://www.stripes.com/news/services-get-sex-assault-advoc (...)

and here: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2013/11/08/MILITARY-JUS (...)

and here: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2013/11/08/astronauts-nomination-ya (...)
   9 Nov 13

U.S. Census Bureau Projections Show a Slower Growing, Older, More Diverse Nation a Half Century from Now
According to the projections, the population age 65 and older is expected to more than double between 2012 and 2060, from 43.1 million to 92.0 million. The older population would represent just over one in five U.S. residents by the end of the period, up from one in seven today. The increase in the number of the “oldest old” would be even more dramatic — those 85 and older are projected to more than triple from 5.9 million to 18.2 million, reaching 4.3 percent of the total population.

More here: https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/populati (...)
   9 Nov 13

#OGP13 Country Commitments
Some of these commitments are new open government reforms that will be part of OGP action plans being developed over the coming months, and some are enhanced commitments from previous plans. Each country filled out a short template about their commitment that can be found below. These are unedited documents being published for the first time. We encourage governments and civil society in each of the countries to work together on further refinement and implementation of the commitments.

See more at: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/blog/blog-editor/2013/11 (...)
   7 Nov 13

The False Claims Act
The False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. §§ 3729–3733, also called the "Lincoln Law") is an American federal law that imposes liability on persons and companies (typically federal contractors) who defraud governmental programs. The law includes a "qui tam" provision that allows people who are not affiliated with the government to file actions on behalf of the government (informally called "whistleblowing"). Persons filing under the Act stand to receive a portion (usually about 15–25 percent) of any recovered damages. Claims under the law have typically involved health care, military, or other government spending programs, and dominate the list of largest pharmaceutical settlements. The government has recovered nearly $22 billion under the False Claims Act between 1987 (after the significant 1986 amendments) and 2008.[1]

Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_Claims_Act
   7 Nov 13

Open government should be about accountability and social justice, not the digital economy
Surely what matters is not openness per se, but the way in which this openness is used to improve the lives of citizens: to reduce inequality, to bring more people out of poverty, to tackle corruption and injustice, to increase access to education and healthcare, to mitigate the effects of catastrophic changes in the earth’s climate, and so on. In other words to ensure that states and public institutions are being used to promote the wellbeing of citizens, rather than the interests of wealthy and powerful elites.

More here: http://blog.okfn.org/2013/11/05/open-government-should-be- (...)
   6 Nov 13

11 Sneaky Ways Companies Get Rid Of Older Workers
What works against sneaky companies and agencies is that these tactics are almost always executed in a clumsy way, with managers who won't win any Oscars for their acting, and other obvious tells. If the problem is systemic, and happening across the entire organization, other employees will have inevitably experienced the same, and may be willing to share war stories. Social media makes this collective exposure of obvious age discrimination easier.

More here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2013/11/03/11-s (...)
   5 Nov 13

Open Government Partnership: Case Studies
Access to Information (2)
Budget Transparency (3)
Citizen Participation (5)
Corporate Accountability (1)
E-Government (6)
Legislative Openness (2)
Open Data (5)
Political Financing (1)
Public Service Delivery (5)
Rule of Law (3)
Sub-national Governance (1)

More here: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/topics?f%5B0%5D=type%3Ac (...)
   4 Nov 13

Wealth/Income Inequality Worldwide
“Open government is at the heart of ending extreme poverty”-Sanjay Pradhab, WB_Institute [See: #corruption.] #ogp13 http://pic.twitter.com/wQUXw4N03b

And ending a number of other extreme problems: extreme ignorance, religious intolerance, racism, climate change, violence, etc. But many people agree that income inequality is the most important issue, at the heart of solving many of the others.

More here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/15/shiller-income-in (...)
   1 Nov 13

#OGP13 Country Commitments by theme
Government Integrity: Open up their governments further to fight corruption and strengthen democracy

1.Albania - "Improvement of the Public Administration Recruitment service through more transparent, merit-based and efficient process"
2.Estonia – "Creation of Database Aggregating Declarations of Financial Interest to Optimize Prevention of Corruption and Conflicts of Interest"
3.Uruguay - "Citizen services: close, easy and modern", "New stage towards paperwork reduction" and "Evolution of public procurement"
4.Romania - "Open contracting in Romania"
5.Serbia - "Prevention of corruption: Adopting the law on inspection control"
6.Colombia – “High Level Reporting Mechanism - A mechanism for the participation of the private sector in identification, prevention and prosecution of corruption cases”
7.El Salvador - "Integrated government, integrated public. Public institutions ensure accounts and budgets are public, maximise the availability of public information, citizen participation and prevent corruption. Establishing coordination between departments. Achieving this through information technology and new technologies"
8.Latvia - "Empowering Citizens" & "Improve Corruptions Perception Index"
9.Norway - "Municipality reform"

More here: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/summary-london-summit-co (...) #OpenGov
   1 Nov 13

Can you go to jail for fraud?
Short and simple...Yes you can go to jail! Fraud is a deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain. This can be punishable by a sentence of incarceration as directed by the court.

More here: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_can_you_go_to_jail_for_fraud (...)

and here: http://www.ask.com/question/what-is-the-jail-time-for-frau (...)
   1 Nov 13

2012 Disciplinary Best Practices Guide Under the No FEAR Act
As noted above, five agencies and five agency components OPM interviewed took disciplinary actions for conduct inconsistent with Antidiscrimination Laws. Overall, the types of conduct on
which discipline was based included creating a hostile work environment, harassment, sexual harassment, making ethnic slurs toward another employee, and other inappropriate conduct
based upon race, gender, or some other protected category. The level of discipline agencies took included removal, demotion, and suspension. In some instances, employees resigned or retired to avoid discipline. [Note that an employee can be handed a reprimand and a demotion after separation which would result in reduced retirement benefits.]

Agencies also used alternative means for correcting behavior. For example, some employees who could have been disciplined were reassigned or transferred. In addition, lesser penalties of
written and oral counseling were used by one agency for misconduct by employees in certain circumstances. In another agency, alternative discipline was used where the collective bargaining agreement provided it could be initiated by the employee being disciplined. While alternative dispute resolution processes were available in some agencies, those agencies generally did not use them.

Read more: http://www.feddesk.com/freehandbooks/102212-1.pdf
   1 Nov 13

Living Trust Fraud
The executor is my sister. She has never sent an accounting of the trust to any of the beneficiaries. Would this act of not compensating this woman as was requested in the trust be an act of fraud? There is about $200,000 in the trust that had to be drawing some kind of income through those years. Do I as a beneficiary have any say in this matter? This act took place in the State of California.

Read more: http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/living-trust-fraud-32996 (...)
  31 Oct 13

Discipline - No FEAR
OPM must conduct a study of best practices in the executive branch for taking disciplinary action against employees for conduct that is inconsistent with employment discrimination and whistleblower protection laws. OPM will then issue advisory guidelines incorporating these best practices. Within 30 working days of their issuance, each agency must submit to Congress, EEOC, DOJ and OPM a statement indicating whether it has adopted the OPM guidelines, and if not, its reasons for not adopting them.

Read more: http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/nofear/qanda.cfm (...)
  31 Oct 13

Under the law, a penalty amount such as "double damages" or "treble damages" is a common liquidated damages penalty. For example, while the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) do not provide for punitive damages, liquidated damages of up to twice the amount of back pay may be awarded in the event of a "willful" violation, if the employee proves that employer knowingly violated the ADEA or acted in "reckless disregard" of its provisions, or willfully violated the FLSA. (For more information, see our site's pages on age discrimination and pay and hours.)

More here: http://www.workplacefairness.org/damages

and here: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/remedies.cfm

and here: http://www.theemploymentlawyers.com/Articles/punitives.htm (...)
  31 Oct 13

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
There seems to be a lot of confusion about the role of Darrell Issa's Committee, which is stymied by government bureaucrats who throw up roadblocks at every opportunity. His House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has a site where you can report waste, fraud and abuse, but if you don't use it, he can't investigate. Most of the investigations get no press. The ones you hear about are overpublicized, making the whole process into a circus sideshow. I am far more interested in the ones that get no press (like the VA cleanup).

The oversight and reform process is also stymied by government bureaucrats who retaliate viciously when a government employee has the audacity to actually use the processes that are in place to clean up corruption in government (this is just one of many).

Here are some very specific changes to existing legislation that I would love to see 1) Strengthen the No FEAR Act 2) Extend the rights of trust beneficiaries to living trusts. And while you're at it, please vote no on any cuts to social security, Thanks for your support!

Here is the link: http://oversight.house.gov/
  30 Oct 13

The Open Government Partnership's Multilateral Partnerships
The World Bank, OECD, United Nations Development Programme - UNDP & the Inter-American Development Bank have joined forces with Open Government Partnership. Don't miss the OGP London Summit - Oct 31 - Nov 1, 2013.

Agenda: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/get-involved/london-summ (...)

Live blog: http://www.scribblelive.com/Event/2013_Open_Government_Par (...)

See More
http://www.opengovpartnership.org/press-release-ogps-multi (...)

#OGP13 #opengov
  30 Oct 13

Victims must prove employers would not have taken action against them but for their intention to retaliate
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the opinion, agreed with the lower court and the university, saying people "must establish that his or her protected activity was a but-for cause of the alleged adverse action by the employer." But he didn't rule completely for the medical center, sending the case back to the lower courts after saying a decision on the resolution of the case "is better suited by courts closer to the facts of this case."

In another case, the court's conservatives, in two 5-4 decisions, ruled that a person must be able to hire and fire someone to be considered a supervisor in discrimination lawsuits, making it harder to blame a business for a co-worker's racism or sexism.

Ginsburg, and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented together both times.

Ginsburg said she hopes Congress intervenes in both cases. For example, President Barack Obama in 2009 signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which effectively overturned a Supreme Court decision that had strictly limited workers' ability to file lawsuits over pay inequity.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/court-makes-harder-sue-businesses-15 (...)
  30 Oct 13

Mixed Motives in Age Discrimination Cases
In a recent decision, the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO) found that the "mixed motive" analysis still applies to age discrimination cases in the federal sector, even though the Supreme Court had barred private-sector employees from using the argument in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., 557 U.S. _____, 129 S. Ct. 2343 (2009).

More here: http://www.passmanandkaplan.com/Federal-Legal-Corner/Mixed (...)
  29 Oct 13

1 in 3 older adults reports age discrimination
Better-educated people may be more attuned to inequities and more likely to report discrimination of any kind, Rippon said.

Seventeen percent of all participants - the highest proportion - reported being treated with less respect because of their age. Less than five percent said they had experienced age-related harassment.

"Of particular concern were the 10 percent of all respondents who felt that they had been discriminated (against) due to their age in health settings," Rippon said. "This provides further evidence for the existence of ageism in healthcare."

One third of all participants attributed at least some of their perceived discrimination to age. That rose to 37 percent of those over age 65.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/10/09/1-in-3-older-adul (...)
  28 Oct 13

What is fraud?
Fraud is defined as a deception deliberately practiced to secure unfair or unlawful gain. It has also been defined as the intentional misrepresentation of truth for the purpose of obtaining something of value by inducing another to rely upon false information.

Regardless of definition, the key elements of fraud are these: intent, the misrepresentation or untruth, reliance on misrepresentation or untruth, and something of value obtained as a result.

To the average person, the definition of fraud is confusing by itself. Not only is fraud a complex and confusing crime, but also very difficult to prove. IBRC Investigators have years of law enforcement experience dealing in fraud investigations. We have investigated and submitted for prosecutions fraud cases involving losses that vary from several thousand dollars to several million dollars.

Read more: http://www.californiainvestigator.net/fraud-investigations (...)
  26 Oct 13

NASA reverses conference's ban on Chinese scientists
The US space agency has said it will allow Chinese scientists to attend an astronomy conference in California next month, reversing an earlier ban.

NASA put the earlier ban down to a misinterpretation of its policy on foreign nationals.

Chinese officials had called the rejection of Chinese scientists' applications a form of discrimination.

Congressman Frank Wolf's (R-VA) letter to Charles Bolden, NASA's Administrator, stressed the danger posed to the US by Chinese espionage and raised much deeper concerns over the running of NASA's Ames facility. "The misrepresentation of NASA policy quoted in the Guardian article is the latest in a series of questionable actions taken by the Ames Center leadership that have resulted in criminal investigations of export violations and inspector general reviews of illegitimate contracts issued by the center. I believe the center has become a rat's nest of inappropriate and possibly illegal activities that appear to have occurred with the concurrence of the center's leadership," the congressman wrote.

In a reply to Wolf on Thursday, Bolden said it was "unfortunate" that Chinese nationals had been refused attendance to the Kepler conference and blamed the mistake on middle managers at the NASA Ames site.

A number of Ames’ staff have been investigated by the FBI, the NASA inspector general and other law enforcement agencies related to illegal technology transfers and other federal violations.

More here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24618824

And here: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/11/nasa-chines (...)
  25 Oct 13

How the OGP London Summit can make a difference
Sessions on privacy and whistleblowing will take OGP out of its comfort zone. Tackling the reasons that some countries are cracking down on civil society will similarly ensure that OGP does not become irrelevant to the wider concerns of citizens. Open government is about more than open data and, as OGP grows, the range of issues countries choose to tackle in their action plans should evolve. It is important that the relatively low-hanging fruit of publishing datasets is built on to include more ambitious targets, which will require political leadership and cross-government reform.

Read more: http://www.trust.org/item/20131014104024-0pxzf/?source=hpe (...)
  15 Oct 13

Researchers Find Three Causes to Ageism
Hoping to understand what causes ageism, Princeton University psychology professor Susan Fiske and graduate student Michael North focused their research on the challenge society faces to adjust to a graying population and the intergenerational tensions that can arise.

While most are familiar with descriptive ageist prejudice, in which seniors are discriminated against based on negative stereotypes (i.e. seniors are “slow” or have poor memory), the researchers focused on ageism that is based on what psychologists call prescriptive prejudice. Prescriptive ageist prejudices are beliefs about how older adults should differ from others. When older adults do not adhere to these beliefs, they are punished by those who discriminate against them.

The researchers found that the prescriptive stereotypes center on three key issues:

◾Succession, the idea that older adults should move aside from high-paying jobs and prominent social roles to make way for younger people;

◾Identity, the idea that older people should not attempt to act younger than they are; and

◾Consumption, the idea that seniors should not consume so many scarce resources such as health care.

Read more: http://www.alfa.org/News/3113/Researchers-Find-Three-Cause (...)
  14 Oct 13

Should officials in the federal government who engage in bullying and unlawful violations face discipline?
Chronic problems of discrimination and retaliation against federal employees and citizens have costs taxpayers in the billions. Yet, presently managers do not face any mandatory discipline for breaking the No FEAR law. No FEAR was intended to make federal managers and agencies more accountable when allegations of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment are made. Yet, eleven years after the passage of No FEAR federal officials continue to violate laws with impunity and without "consequences."

Read more: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130426113331 (...)
  12 Oct 13

2011 Draft Workforce Plan - NASA
Slide #25

Goal 3: Workforce Sustainability

FY 11 Priorities:

Implement a succession management program

Strengthen our pipelines to backfill and refresh our workforce (including branding to attract early career persons)

Address the aging workforce issues

Improve communications – to drive engagement, motivation and sense of value

Enforce performance management (addressing poor performers)

Use hiring flexibilities (term, temp, perm, etc.)

Expand Shuttle Transition Liaison Office services

Roll out workforce transition tools

Utilize results from the Employee Viewpoint survey to improve NASA’s FY11 “5th Best Place to Work" ranking

More here: http://www.actgov.org/knowledgebank/documentsandpresentati (...)
  12 Oct 13

Quick dismissal of caregiver abuse cases puts Calif. patients at risk
In 2009, the state Department of Public Health quietly ordered its investigators to dismiss nearly 1,000 pending cases of abuse and theft – often with a single phone call from Sacramento headquarters. The closing of cases en masse came after officials determined their swelling backlog had become a crisis.

Four years later, state investigators are opening and closing investigations into suspected abuse without ever leaving their desks, The Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED have found. In some instances, caregivers who have sexually assaulted or abused patients have retained their licenses and moved to other facilities.

Read more: http://cironline.org/reports/quick-dismissal-caregiver-abu (...)
  10 Oct 13

Building a Better NASA Workforce: Meeting the Workforce Needs for the National Vision for Space Exploration ( 2007 )
More than one-third of NASA’s workforce is in the age range from 35 to 45, compared to only 27 percent of the aerospace workforce generally. In addition, the aerospace industry workforce’s second peak, in the age range from 50 to 55, a peak that is lacking in NASA’s workforce, represents people with vital experience who are present in higher numbers in industry than at NASA. It appears that NASA’s workforce issue is not one of age or sheer numbers; it is one of skill and experience. Most of the space hardware development over the past one to two decades has been done by industry, not NASA, and therefore agency employees have not benefited from this experience.

Read more: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11916&page=16#p2 (...)
   6 Oct 13

Case Study: California Sues "Living Trust Mill"
The defendants deceptively sold tens of thousands of living trusts and related services, and annuities worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the complaint.

"Defendants use the pretext of the offer and sales of estate planning products and services to establish confidential relationships with the consumers and find out about the consumers' assets," the complaint alleges.

"Defendants then exploit those confidential relationships and use the financial information they obtain to induce those consumers to purchase annuities. Defendants make untrue or misleading statements about, and do not fully disclose the significant disadvantages of, the annuities they offer."

More info here: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/ca_living_trust (...)
   5 Oct 13

Open Government Should Mean Much More than Better Service Delivery
One thing I would like to see addressed when the doors of government reopen is institutionalizing Open Government *inside* the walls with Leads at every Center and at the agency level. We have such sporadic and inconsistent oversight, with the external watchdog groups relying on whistleblowers, leakers and partial information. An internal clean-up crew with standard processes across government would go a long way towards resolving some of the core issues: waste, fraud, abuse, bullying, corrupt leadership, etc.

More ideas here: http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2013/oct (...)
   5 Oct 13


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Megan Eskey
San Jose, CALIF

[meganesque] Megan Eskey
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