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Putting a Value on Crime Analysts: Considerations for Law Enforcement Executives

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Putting a Value on Crime Analysts: Considerations for Law Enforcement Executives (PDF)
Source: Vera Institute of Justice (via Bureau of Justice Assistance

Crime analysis has become a common feature of U.S. law enforcement agencies. According to a 2008 Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) survey, 89 percent of responding agencies reported having staff whose primary or secondary duty was crime analysis, and the number of analysts has likely increased since then.

But in light of ongoing budget woes, elected officials are asking law enforcement executives to explain how civilian positions, especially those of crime analysts, contribute to the goals and mission of policing. Law enforcement professionals want to know how they can articulate the value of crime analysts, and whether cost-benefit analysis (CBA) can help demonstrate a return on investment for these positions. To put the bottom line up front: the field has not provided many cost-benefit studies of crime analysts to date.

This paper offers guidance for police executives grappling with this issue. The first section gives an overview of the steps involved in CBA and the challenges of using this technique. The second section poses questions about crime analysts that police executives need to answer as part of conducting a CBA. The final section of the paper discusses key considerations when performing a CBA of crime analysts.

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HHS OIG — Annual Fee on Branded Prescription Drug Companies Under the Affordable Care Act

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Annual Fee on Branded Prescription Drug Companies Under the Affordable Care Act
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

WHY WE DID THIS STUDY
Section 9008 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as amended, directs branded prescription drug companies to pay to the Secretary of the Treasury fees totaling $2.5 billion in 2011, $2.8 billion in 2012, and $2.8 billion in 2013. Companies are required to pay their fees to the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) each year by September 30. An amount equal to the fees received by Treasury each year is to be transferred to the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B) Trust Fund (hereinafter referred to as the Trust Fund). The total annual fee amount to be paid will rise to $4.1 billion in 2018, then will return to $2.8 billion in 2019 and remain at that level thereafter.

HOW WE DID THIS STUDY
We requested from CMS the total amount received by the Trust Fund for the 2011 and 2012 fee years and the dates these transfers were completed. We then compared these data to the Trust Fund data publicly available on Treasury’s Web site. We also requested CMS’s policies and procedures, conducted interviews, and sent questionnaires to the agency regarding these fees.

WHAT WE FOUND
We found that the Trust Fund received $2.5 billion for the 2011 fee, which equals the full amount that was to be paid by the companies for 2011. Of this amount, $1.876 billion was received by the Trust Fund in September 2011 and $624 million was received in December 2011. For the 2012 fee, the Trust Fund received all but $245,000 of the $2.8 billion amount that the ACA provides for the 2012 fee. The Trust Fund received $2.184 billion in September 2012, $603 million in April 2013, and $13 million in May 2013. According to CMS, after we sent our data request for the 2011 and 2012 fee years, the Trust Fund received approximately $2.6 billion in October 2013 and $199 million in December 2013, which is all but $693,000 of the $2.8 billion amount that the ACA provides for the 2013 fee. This means that between September 2011 and December 2013, the Trust Fund received all but $938,000 of the total $8.1 billion amount the ACA provides for the first 3 fee years. For the 2011 and 2012 fees, CMS used data that it received from Treasury to report on the fee’s activity and make actuarial projections.

WHAT WE CONCLUDE
Although the funds from the annual fee are allocated to the Part B Trust Fund, the ACA grants to Treasury the responsibility of administering the fee process, including transferring the fee to the Trust Fund. To the extent that the fees were not in the Trust Fund, the Trust Fund may have missed an opportunity to earn interest income on these fees. Our results indicate that it may be beneficial for CMS to periodically monitor the status of this fee in the Trust Fund, and to contact Treasury if CMS finds that the full amount to be collected under the ACA each year has not been received.

TIGTA Report: IRS Awards Program Complies with Federal Regulations; Some Employees with Tax and Conduct Issues Received Awards

April 23, 2014 Comments off

TIGTA Report: IRS Awards Program Complies with Federal Regulations; Some Employees with Tax and Conduct Issues Received Awards
Source: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

While an award program for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees complies with Federal regulations, some employees with tax and conduct issues received awards, according to a report released publicly today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

“These awards are designed to recognize and reward IRS employees for a job well done, and that is appropriate, because the IRS should encourage good performance,” said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. “However, while not prohibited, providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay Federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS’s charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration,” he added.

TIGTA conducted its audit because new Federal guidance issued in FY 2011 requires agencies to reduce spending on awards programs beginning in FY 2012. The overall objective of TIGTA’s review was to evaluate the IRS’s compliance with procedures for expenditures on awards and to review the IRS’s controls over awards made to employees with conduct and performance issues.

TIGTA found that the IRS awards program complied with Federal requirements to limit awards expenditures and saved additional funds by keeping aggregate incentive payments, individual employee compensation, and aggregate awards below the Federal limits. For FY 2011, the IRS awarded almost $92 million in cash and almost 520,000 hours of time off to 70,500 of its approximately 104,400 employees. For FY 2012, the IRS awarded $86 million in cash and almost 490,000 hours of time off to 67,870 of its approximately 98,000 employees.

However, between October 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012, more than 2,800 employees with recent substantiated conduct issues resulting in disciplinary action received more than $2.8 million in monetary awards and more than 27,000 hours in time-off awards. Among these, more than 1,100 IRS employees with substantiated Federal tax compliance problems received more than $1 million in cash awards and more than 10,000 hours in time-off awards.

TIGTA recommended that the IRS Human Capital Officer determine the feasibility of implementing a policy requiring management to consider conduct issues resulting in disciplinary actions, especially the nonpayment of taxes, prior to awarding all types of performance and discretionary awards.

The IRS agreed with TIGTA’s recommendation and plans to conduct a study by June 30, 2014 for the implementation of such a policy.

Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 110: Commonsense Approaches for Improving Transit Bus Speeds explores approaches transit agencies have taken to realize gains in average bus speeds.

The report also identifies metrics pertaining to measures such as changes in travel speed and its components, operating cost, and ridership. It shows the results of each or a combination of approaches implemented.

New From the GAO

April 22, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

Report

1. Department of Defense’s Waiver of Competitive Prototyping Requirement for the Air Force’s B-2 Defensive Management System Modernization Program. GAO-14-522R, April 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-522R

Testimony

1. VA Construction: VA’s Actions to Address Cost Increases and Schedule Delays at Denver and Other Major Medical-Facility Projects, by Lorelei St. James, director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, in Denver, CO. GAO-14-548T, April 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-548T
Highlights: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662690.pdf

64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe

April 22, 2014 Comments off

64,613 Software Engineers Join Class Action Hiring Conspiracy Lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe
Source: AllGov.com

The biggest legal story out of Silicon Valley these days involves more than 64,000 software engineers collectively suing several high-tech giants over their collusion to keep workers’ salaries down.

The class-action lawsuit, with 64,613 plaintiffs, targets Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe for secretly agreeing not to poach each other’s engineers and to share salary information in an effort to control salaries.

The collusion reportedly began in 2005, when Apple’s Steve Jobs approached Google’s top executive, Eric Schmidt, about working together to hold down salaries.

After getting Google on board, Jobs “strong-armed” Adobe into joining the secret pact, according to court documents. The documents show that Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen was reluctant to go along until Jobs threatened to poach Adobe engineers.

I Used to Work at Goldman Sachs! How Firms Benefit From Organizational Status in the Market for Human Capital

April 21, 2014 Comments off

I Used to Work at Goldman Sachs! How Firms Benefit From Organizational Status in the Market for Human Capital (PDF)
Source: Strategic Management Journal (forthcoming)

How does employer status benefit firms in the market for general human capital? On the one hand, high status employers are better able to attract workers, who value the signal of ability that employment at those firms provides. On the other hand, that same signal can help workers bid up wages and capture the value of employers’ status. Exploring this tension, we argue that high status firms are able to hire higher ability workers than other firms, and do not need to pay them the full value of their ability early in the career, but must raise wages more rapidly than other firms as those workers accrue experience. We test our arguments using unique survey data on careers in investment banking.

See: The Hiring Advantage of High-status Firms (Knowledge@Wharton)

USPS OIG — Preservation and Disposal of Historic Properties

April 21, 2014 Comments off

Preservation and Disposal of Historic Properties (PDF)
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

The Postal Service did not know how many historic properties it owned or what it cost to preserve them, as required by the National Historic Preservation Act. It did not report the status of historic artwork to the National Museum of American Art, as required by Postal Service Handbook RE-6, Facilities and Environmental Guide, when it sold 10 historic post offices.

The Postal Service did not collaborate with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to improve its compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and did not submit its 2011 status report to the council. The council could help the Postal Service establish covenants to protect historic features and help secure covenant holders to monitor compliance with those covenants. Also, the council could help review public requests to participate in the preservation process. The Postal Service could also use the U.S. General Services Administration — which employs experienced real estate and historical preservation professionals — to assist in the preservation process.

New From the GAO

April 21, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Department of Health and Human Services: Solicitations of Support for Enroll America. GAO-14-305R, March 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-305R

2. Private Pensions: Pension Tax Incentives Update. GAO-14-334R, March 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-334R

3. Internal Revenue Service: Absorbing Budget Cuts Has Resulted in Significant Staffing Declines and Uneven Performance. GAO-14-534R, April 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-534R

Like, Share, Tweet: Social Media and the Postal Service

April 21, 2014 Comments off

Like, Share, Tweet: Social Media and the Postal Service
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

No doubt about it, social media has revolutionized the world of communication and commerce, radically changing the way people decide what, where, and when to buy. Accordingly, most businesses and organizations now view social media as an opportunity to reach and engage large customer audiences in ways impossible before: directly, in-real time, and at lower cost.

Indeed, effectively integrating social media into an omnichannel marketing and communication strategy will likely offer businesses numerous benefits well into the future as Millennials – the generation that has grown up with the Internet and smart devices – wield more and more economic influence.

The U.S. Postal Service has a presence on 18 social media sites, including the two most popular, Twitter and Facebook. Its social media strategy, however, is currently limited. This new white paper, based on research by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG), concludes that a stronger, more robust social media strategy could help the Postal Service remain competitive in the digital age by better responding to changing communication needs, improving the customer experience, creating value through social commerce, and cutting costs.

Suggestions for the Postal Service include among others: allocating additional resources for social media; increasing social media visibility; improving customer care via social media; turning social media into a valuable data source; and creating new products. Although not a “cure all,” social media offers significant benefits, and many opportunities exist for the Postal Service to expand in this area, particularly regarding new products and services.

HUD’s Fiscal Year 2013 Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010

April 21, 2014 Comments off

HUD’s Fiscal Year 2013 Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General

We conducted an audit of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) fiscal year 2013 compliance with the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 as amended by the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 (IPERA).  IPERA was enacted to eliminate and recover improper payments by requiring agencies to identify and report on programs that are susceptible to significant improper payments.  IPERA also requires each agency’s Inspector General to perform an annual review of the agency’s compliance with IPERA.  Our audit objectives were to (1) determine HUD’s compliance with IPERA reporting and improper payment reduction requirements and (2) determine whether corrective action plans addressed the root causes of HUD’s improper payments and were effectively implemented.

HUD did not comply with IPERA reporting requirements because it did not sufficiently and accurately report its (1) billing and program component improper payment rates; (2) actions to recover improper payments; (3) accountability; or (4) corrective actions, internal controls, human capital, and information systems as required by IPERA.  In addition, HUD’s supplemental measures and associated corrective actions did not sufficiently target the root causes of its improper payments because they did not track and monitor processing entities to ensure prevention, detection, and recovery of improper payments due to rent component and billing errors, which are root causes identified by HUD’s contractor studies.

FY 2013 Review of VA’s Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act

April 21, 2014 Comments off

FY 2013 Review of VA’s Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General

Why We Did This Review
We conducted this fiscal year (FY) 2013 review to determine whether VA complied with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA). VA reported $1.1 billion in improper payments in its FY 2013 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR). The OIG’s assessment of VA’s compliance with IPERA for FY 2013 is based on FY 2012 data as reported by VA.

Report Highlights:
FY 2013 Review of VA’s Compliance With the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act Why We Did This Review We conducted this fiscal year (FY) 2013 review to determine whether VA complied with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA). VA reported $1.1 billion in improper payments in its FY 2013 Performance and Accountability Report (PAR). The OIG’s assessment of VA’s compliance with IPERA for FY 2013 is based on FY 2012 data as reported by VA. What We Found VA met five IPERA requirements for FY 2013 by publishing a PAR, performing risk assessments, publishing improper payment estimates, providing information on corrective action plan s, and reporting on its payment recapture efforts. VA also implemented a new risk assessment process in FY 2013 across all of its programs.

VA did not comply with two of seven IPERA requirements for FY 2013. The Veterans Health Admi nistration reported a gross improper payment ra te of greater than 10 percent for one program and did not meet reduction targets for two programs. This represents an improvement over FY 2012 when VA did not comply with four of the seven IPERA requirements.

Nonetheless, we identified areas for improvement in the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) IPERA reporting. VBA underreported improper payments for its Compensation program. Test procedures for the Compensation program and one Education program also did not include steps needed to identify all types of improper payments.

What We Recommended
We recommended the Under Secretary for Health implement the corrective action plan included in the PAR to reduce improper payments for the State Home Per Diem program, and develop achievable reduction targets for that and Beneficiary Travel programs. We also recommended the Under Secretary for Benefits ensure thorough procedures for testing sample items used to estimate improper payments for the Compensation and Post 9/11 G.I. Bill programs.

Agency Comments
The Under Secretary for Health concurred with Recommendations 1 and 2. We closed Recommendation 2 based on the actions already completed.

The Under Secretary for Benefits partially concurred with Recommendation 3, citing completed actions to enhance Compensation program testing. The Under Secretary did not agree with a need to change the current Education test plan, but proposed an acceptable alternative analysis to determine risk in Education payments. We will follow up on implementation of this action during our next annual IPERA review.

Taxation — Interim Results of the 2014 Filing Season

April 21, 2014 Comments off

Interim Results of the 2014 Filing Season
Source: Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

IMPACT ON TAXPAYERS
The filing season, defined as the period from January 1 through mid-April, is critical for the IRS because it is during this time that most individuals file their income tax returns and contact the IRS if they have questions about specific laws or filing procedures.

WHY TIGTA DID THE AUDIT
The closure of Government operations between October 1 and October 16, 2013, reduced the time the IRS had to implement tax law changes and bring tax return processing systems online. The objective of this review was to provide selected information related to the IRS’s 2014 Filing Season. TIGTA plans to issue the final results of our analysis of the 2014 Filing Season in September 2014.

WHAT TIGTA FOUND
As a result of the Government closure, the IRS delayed the start of the filing season from January 21, 2014, to January 31, 2014. As of March 7, 2014, the IRS had received more than 67.1 million tax returns—more than 62.2 million (92.6 percent) were filed electronically and nearly five million (7.4 percent) were filed on paper. The IRS has issued more than 55.4 million refunds totaling more than $164 billion.

The IRS continues to expand identity theft filters to identify fraudulent tax returns. As of February 28, 2014, the IRS reports that it identified and confirmed 28,076 fraudulent tax returns involving identity theft. In addition, the IRS identified 57,316 tax returns with $385 million claimed in fraudulent refunds and prevented the issuance of $336 million (87.3 percent) of the fraudulent refunds it identified. The IRS also identified 36,801 prisoner tax returns for screening.

The use of the split refund option to direct deposit a refund into multiple bank accounts continues to grow. Through March 6, 2014, a total of 585,331 individuals chose to split refunds totaling more than $2.6 billion into multiple accounts. However, TIGTA continues to identify that some taxpayers and return preparers misuse this option to direct a portion of a tax refund to a preparer for payment of services.

TIGTA also found that some paid tax return preparers continue to be noncompliant with Earned Income Tax Credit due diligence requirements, but the number has decreased substantially when compared to the same period last filing season.

Finally, the IRS plans to assist 5.6 million taxpayers through face-to-face contact at the Taxpayer Assistance Centers during Fiscal Year 2014, which is one million fewer taxpayers than were assisted during Fiscal Year 2013. As of March 8, 2014, approximately 46.3 million taxpayers had contacted the IRS by calling one of the various toll-free Customer Account Services lines. The IRS continues to offer more self-assistance options that taxpayers can access 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including its IRS2Go app; YouTube channels; interactive self-help tools on IRS.gov; and Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook accounts. However, the IRS did not always ensure that the self-help tools were updated with the most current tax information before the start of the filing season.

WHAT TIGTA RECOMMENDED
This report was prepared to provide interim information only. Therefore, no recommendations were made in the report.

USDoE Office of Scientific and Technical Information Newsletter — April/May 2014

April 20, 2014 Comments off

OSTI.gov Newsletter — April/May 2014
Source: USDoE Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Issue Contents

  • OSTI Focused on Meeting Public Access Challenge
  • ScienceCinema: Searchable Videos Showcasing DOE Research
  • What is Audio Indexing?
  • Statistically Speaking: The Contents of ScienceCinema
  • Publication Metrics: Measuring and Evaluating the Impact of DOE’s Research Results
  • 15th Anniversary of DOE R&D Accomplishments
  • OSTI Director Walter Warnick Honored at Retirement
  • SciTech Connect Full-Text MARC Records
  • Most Viewed Documents
  • Search Tip: In-Document Search
  • DOE Science Showcase: Carbon Sequestration
  • The Latest from OSTIblog

Facts and Figuring: An Experimental Investigation of Network Structure and Performance in Information and Solution Spaces

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Facts and Figuring: An Experimental Investigation of Network Structure and Performance in Information and Solution Spaces
Source: Harvard Business School Working Papers

Using data from a novel laboratory experiment on complex problem solving in which we varied the network structure of 16-person organizations, we investigate how an organization’s network structure shapes performance in problem-solving tasks. Problem solving, we argue, involves both search for information and search for solutions. Our results show that the effect of network structure is opposite for these two important and complementary forms of search. Dense clustering encourages members of a network to generate more diverse information but discourages them from generating diverse theories: in the language of March (1991), clustering promotes exploration in information space but decreases exploration in solution space. Previous research, generally focusing on only one of those two spaces at a time, has produced inconsistent conclusions about the value of network clustering. By adopting an experimental platform on which information was measured separately from solutions, we were able to reconcile past contradictions and clarify the effects of network clustering on problem-solving performance. The finding both provides a sharper tool for structuring organizations for knowledge work and reveals the challenges inherent in manipulating network structure to enhance performance, as the communication structure that helps one antecedent of successful problem solving may harm the other.

Offshore Outsourcing of Administrative Functions by State Medicaid Agencies

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Offshore Outsourcing of Administrative Functions by State Medicaid Agencies
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

WHY WE DID THIS STUDY
Outsourcing occurs when State Medicaid agencies enter into agreements with contractors to perform administrative functions. Outsourcing can occur inside the United States (domestic outsourcing) or outside (offshore outsourcing) and can be direct (when a Medicaid agency contracts with an offshore contractor) or indirect (when a Medicaid agency’s contractor subcontracts to an offshore contractor). There are no Federal regulations that prohibit the offshore outsourcing of Medicaid administrative functions. However, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires covered entities to have business associate agreements (BAAs) to protect personal health information (PHI).

HOW WE DID THIS STUDY
We conducted a survey of 56 Medicaid agencies, including those of the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. We asked Medicaid agencies (1) whether they had any policies, Executive Orders, State laws, or contract requirements (collectively, “requirements”) addressing the outsourcing of administrative functions offshore and (2) whether they directly or indirectly outsourced administrative functions offshore. For Medicaid agencies with outsourcing requirements, we asked whether these requirements address PHI and whether the Medicaid agencies monitor contractors’ compliance with the requirements. We reviewed the Medicaid agencies’ requirements and BAAs. For the Medicaid agencies that outsource offshore, we asked what types of administrative functions are outsourced offshore.

WHAT WE FOUND
Only 15 of 56 Medicaid agencies have some form of State-specific requirement that addresses the outsourcing of administrative functions offshore. The remaining 41 Medicaid agencies reported no offshore outsourcing requirements and do not outsource administrative functions offshore. Among the 15 Medicaid agencies with requirements, 4 Medicaid agencies prohibit the outsourcing of administrative functions offshore and 11 Medicaid agencies allow it. The 11 Medicaid agencies that allow offshore outsourcing of administrative functions each maintain BAAs with contractors, which is a requirement under HIPAA. Among other things, BAAs are intended to safeguard PHI. These 11 Medicaid agencies do not have additional State requirements that specifically address safeguarding PHI. Seven of the eleven Medicaid agencies reported outsourcing offshore through subcontractors, but none reported sending PHI offshore. If Medicaid agencies engage in offshore outsourcing of administrative functions that involve PHI, it could present potential vulnerabilities. For example, Medicaid agencies or domestic contractors that send PHI offshore may have limited means of enforcing provisions of BAAs that are intended to safeguard PHI. Although some countries may have privacy protections greater than those in the United States, other countries may have limited or no privacy protections.

The Business of Government — Spring 2014 Edition

April 18, 2014 Comments off

The Business of Government — Spring 2014 Edition
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

We highlight the latest trends for improving government effectiveness by introducing you to key government executives, detailing the work of public management practitioners, and offering insights from leading academics.

Worksharing and Long-Term Unemployment

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Worksharing and Long-Term Unemployment (PDF)
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

The Great Recession was especially deep and especially long. The sustained departure of output from its trend path was accompanied by a large drop in employment, which stayed low relative to trend for an extended period as well. As this occurred, the percentage of workers who were long-term unemployed increased sharply. Even as the U.S. economy recovers, the painful legacy of the Great Recession lives on as these long-term unemployed workers continue to struggle to reconnect to society.

In light of this, policymakers and economists must ask whether smart policy could have mitigated large employment losses and the high incidence of long-term unemployment. We believe the answer is yes, and that worksharing is such a policy. Under worksharing, a firm can reduce the hours of its workforce in lieu of a layoff, and workers whose hours have been reduced are eligible for a prorated unemployment insurance (UI) benefit. In this way, a firm can weather a temporary lull in demand by reducing its payroll costs without laying off large number of workers.

In this paper we make three points. First, the impact of long-term unemployment on the lives of those affected is so significantly negative that addressing the issue should be a top priority for policymakers. Second, extended unemployment insurance benefits are an insufficient way to deal with unemployment, and additional policies are needed. Finally, an alternative reform of unemployment insurance could reduce the risk that the next recession might lead to another surge in long-term unemployment, help keep some of the millions of workers who are laid off every year in their jobs, and in so doing help avoid the problem of “hysteresis” associated with long-term unemployment.

DoD OIG — Section 847 Ethics Requirements for Senior Defense Officials Seeking Employment with Defense Contractors

April 17, 2014 Comments off

Section 847 Ethics Requirements for Senior Defense Officials Seeking Employment with Defense Contractors
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General

Objective
Our objectives were to (1) address the central database and DoD IG oversight provisions of Public Law 110-181, “The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008,” Section 847, “Requirements for Senior Department of Defense Officials Seeking Employment with Defense Contractors,” January 28, 2008; (hereinafter referred to as “section 847”) (2) address subsequent direction from the House Armed Services Committee (HASC); and (3) accordingly determine:

  • Whether written legal opinions required by section 847 were “being provided and retained in accordance with the requirements of this section.” (Public Law 110-181, section 847 [b][2]).
  • “The Department of Defense’s record of compliance with section 847 of Public Law 110-181.” (HASC Report on the National Defense Authorization Act For Fiscal Year 2013).
  • Quantitative data specified by the HASC, as follows:
    • “the total number of opinions issued,
    • the total number of opinions retained in accordance with section 847,
    • any instances in which a request for a written opinion pursuant to section 847 lacked a corresponding written opinion, or
    • in which the written opinion was not provided to the requesting official or former official of the Department of Defense by the appropriate ethics counselor within 30 days after the request for a written opinion.”

DoD did not retain all required section 847 records in its designated central repository, the After Government Employment Advice Repository (AGEAR).

This occurred because the Department did not:

  • implement the 2010 DoD Inspector General (IG) report recommendation to transfer historical records into AGEAR when the database became operational,
  • centrally supervise section 847 activities by its decentralized Components, and
  • comply with Deputy Secretary guidance making AGEAR use mandatory as of January 1, 2012.

As a result:

  • The AGEAR database was incomplete with limited or no use by specific DoD organizations with significant contracting activity.
  • Individual section 847 records were located in multiple or decentralized locations, and in a number of cases were inaccurate, incomplete, and not readily accessible for examination.

New From the GAO

April 17, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Information Security: SEC Needs to Improve Controls over Financial Systems and Data. GAO-14-419, April 17.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-419
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662614.pdf

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