ProPublica: Poorly Protected Postal Workers Are Catching COVID-19 by the Thousands. It’s One More Threat to Voting by Mail.. “More than 50,000 workers have taken time off for virus-related reasons, slowing mail delivery. The Postal Service doesn’t test employees or check their temperatures, and its contact tracing is erratic.”
New York Times: N.Y.C. Mayor to Furlough 495 Staff Members for a Week, Including Himself. “Facing a $9 billion, two-year revenue shortfall because of the coronavirus’s impact on the economy, Mr. [Bill] de Blasio this year closed the city’s budget with $1 billion in unspecified labor savings. He warned that he would have to lay off 22,000 employees, a number that could be reduced depending on three factors: negotiated union givebacks, state approval for New York City to finance its operations with up to $5 billion in long-term debt and more federal assistance.”
CBS 3 Philly: White House Staff Members Reportedly Test Positive For COVID-19 Less Than 24 Hours After President Donald Trump Visited Philadelphia. “White House staff members have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump visited Philadelphia. Globo News reporter Raquel Krahenbuhl says she was informed of the positive COVID-19 cases Wednesday, but Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says he is not releasing any further information.”
NPR: ‘We’re Risking Our Lives’: Front-Line Federal Workers Sue For Hazard Pay. “Some 6,000 federal employees are expected to have contracted COVID-19 on the job as of this week, and as many as 60 have died, according to a Department of Labor report issued last month. Heidi Burakiewicz, a Washington, D.C., attorney who brought the suit in collaboration with the American Federation of Government Employees, says such federal workers ‘are risking their health and safety to go to work. They have the types of jobs that are necessary to keep the country up and running and safe.'”
Politico: The congressional underclass erupts in fury after Gohmert gets Covid-19. “The revelation Wednesday that Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, a renegade lawmaker known for stalking the halls of Congress without a mask, tested positive for Covid-19 has unleashed a fusillade of anger on Capitol Hill — a sudden release of built-up tension over how the institution has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic within the confines of its own workplace.”
NBC News: Diplomats plead with State Department not to rush return to offices. “More than 500 State Department employees are privately pleading with the Trump administration to pull back its decision to send up to 80 percent of its staff members in Washington back to work in person after an employee who works near Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office tested positive for the coronavirus this week.”
Washington Post: About 4,000 federal employees say they contracted the coronavirus at work — and 60 have died. “About 4,000 federal employees are seeking disability compensation on grounds that they contracted the novel coronavirus at work, while survivors of 60 deceased employees are seeking death benefits for the same reason. The total number of claims is expected to increase to 6,000 within weeks, according to a report that amounts to one of the first accountings of the pandemic’s impact on the health of the federal workforce.”
Washington Post: More than 13,000 federal workers face a possible furlough of 30 days or longer. “Three-fourths of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services workforce — more than 13,000 employees — could be told as soon as Wednesday that they face extended furloughs starting Aug. 3 that would cut off their salaries and severely curtail the agency’s work, the union representing the employees has said. The agency has said it will need to take that action unless it receives a cash infusion from Congress because the fees from visa and citizenship applications and other services it provides are down sharply in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Those fees largely fund the operations of USCIS, which is a component of the Department of Homeland Security.”
Federal News Network: OPM launches new online collection of agency bargaining agreements, per Trump workforce EOs. “The Office of Personnel Management on Thursday launched a new online database of collective bargaining agreements from agencies across government. The creation and launch of the new collective bargaining agreement database, which Federal News Network previewed earlier this week, fulfills a requirement of one of the president’s May 2018 workforce executive orders.”
Patch: GA City Officials May Be Allowed To Sue Social Media Critics. “City officials are considering passing a law that would allow them to sue anyone on social media who they believe have defamed them. The ordinance, set to come before the Peachtree City council on Thursday, would allow a council member, the city manager or any city worker to sue its residents, at taxpayer expense, for damages.”
TechCrunch: Hackers publish personal data on thousands of US federal agents. “A hacker group has breached several FBI-affiliated websites and uploaded their contents to the web, including dozens of files containing the personal information of thousands of federal agents and law enforcement officers, TechCrunch has learned.”
CNET: Federal employees set up 1,000 GoFundMe pages amid government shutdown. “Government employees have set up roughly 1,000 fundraising pages as they seek help in meeting their expenses, said a GoFundMe spokeswoman in an email statement. Campaigns on the crowdfunding platform seek anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars for everyday expenses, such as utilities and groceries.” 1. Don’t read the comments unless you’ve just given up on a healthy blood pressure. 2. There is some concern on Twitter (search gofundme ethics) that this kind of crowdfunding might violate ethics rules.
POGO: Pentagon Revolving Door Database. “The revolving door of Pentagon officials and senior military leaders seeking lucrative post-retirement jobs often leads to confusing what is in the best financial interests of defense contractors with what is in the best interest of our citizens or national security. This database tracks senior Pentagon officials and military officers who have gone to work for Pentagon contractors, lobbying firms, and consultants trying to win Department of Defense contracts.” Not sure when this launched. It’s new-to-me.
Civil servant who watched porn at work blamed for infecting a US government network with malware . “A U.S. government network was infected with malware thanks to one employee’s ‘extensive history’ of watching porn on his work computer, investigators have found. The audit, carried out by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s inspector general, found that a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) network at the EROS Center, a satellite imaging facility in South Dakota, was infected after an unnamed employee visited thousands of porn pages that contained malware, which downloaded to his laptop and ‘exploited the USGS’ network.'”
Bellingcat: After Strava, Polar is Revealing the Homes of Soldiers and Spies. “Polar, a fitness app, is revealing the homes and lives of people exercising in secretive locations, such as intelligence agencies, military bases and airfields, nuclear weapons storage sites, and embassies around the world, a joint investigation of Bellingcat and Dutch journalism platform De Correspondent reveals.”