GSA Paid $44 Million in Undisclosed Bonuses

Newsmax - It pays to be a GSA employee. The embattled government agency 's employees are reaping 10 percent of the entire federal government's bonus checks which accounted for $44 million last year alone, according to House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla. Mica opens a new round of hearings Wednesday on the GSA probe.
The $44 million amount, Fox News reports, exceeds previous reports as part of the probe of the agency, which has been under fire for lavish and expensive conferences, among other scandals. Mica, who is in charge of the House investigation, said bonuses totaled $44 million, with many bonuses worth $50,000 apiece. Some employees now under investigation received bonuses. One employee got a $79,000 bonus, for nearly $260,000 in total compensation.
Lawmakers also said overtime payments were excessive. Mica cited one case where a worker with an $84,000 salary received $115,000 in overtime. "There's something wrong at GSA when you have to pay an employee $115,000 in overtime," he said.
Though agency bonuses were worth 10 percent of all government bonuses, GSA staff makes up just 1 percent of the total federal workforce. The embattled GSA investigation is also expanding. Another 77 conferences are under investigation. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Labor Department Letter: "It is ok to disobey the law until after the election"

Daily Caller - On Monday, the Department of Labor sent a letter to all state workforce agencies, administrators and liaisons, hoping to deter defense contractors from notifying employees of diminishing government funding, and urging them to forget about telling employees about the potential for massive layoffs “right before Election Day.”
As lawmakers on Capitol Hill work to deliver a solution to a looming deadline that could “sequester” billions from the defense budget, the Obama administration is advising defense contractors to forget about the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act – ensuring employers that the standards in the law need not apply to them.
“Such federal announcements would be sudden and dramatic, and in such cases, consistent with the WARN Act, employers would not have to provide the full period of notice,” the letter stated.
While defense contractors and GOP lawmakers have been probing the White House for guidance on the sequestration, the Department of Labor’s only suggestion is to delay notification until after the November 6 election.
Members of both the House and Senate along both party lines are working to avoid more than $1 trillion in defense cuts, yet the Obama administration has yet to offer a solution to either the Department of Defense and defense contractors. Read full story here: News New Mexico


How NM measures up on small, medium and large businesses

New Mexico Business WeeklyNew Mexico has a higher percentage of small and midsized businesses than Idaho, Nebraska and West Virginia, states that have similar population numbers. That data is part of an analysis the Business Weekly did using information from an On Numbers report. The On Numbers report by G. Scott Thomas was compiled using U.S. Census Bureau figures for the number of small, medium and large businesses over 938 metropolitan and metropolitan areas. States included in the population analysis have between 1.5 million and 2.5 million people. New Mexico lags behind other Southwestern states in the number of small, medium and large businesses. In total, New Mexico has 42,029 businesses. Small businesses in New Mexico make up 98.06 percent of total businesses, midsized businesses make up 1.80 percent, large businesses make up 0.15 percent and megabusinesses make up 0.01 percent of total businesses. Read More News New Mexico



Son of Cuban Immigrants, Cruz Wins Texas Runoff

Ted Cruz
KRWG - Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz says his victory in a primary runoff for the GOP Senate nomination is a testament to the hard work of tea party leaders and other grass-roots conservatives.

Cruz, who has never held political office, beat Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in Tuesday's runoff. Cruz told a crowd of more than 200 supporters at a Houston hotel ballroom that every conservative in Texas came together and won the runoff. He thanked his many supporters, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Cruz was joined on stage by his family. He says if he wins in November, he will work to repeal President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, "stop the out of control spending and turn around our national debt." Read full story here: News New Mexico


Cuba, NM Down to Three Volunteer Firefighters

KOAT - CUBA, N.M. - Only Action 7 News cameras were there as almost the entire Cuba volunteer fire department resigned. One by one, 18 firefighters turned in their helmets at the station Tuesday night. Only three firefighters decided to stay. The firefighters said it was a decision that was years in the making. "It's hard for us as well, as you can tell we love this department. We love this community, (the) people in the community, and that's who we're there for," Cuba Fire Chief Alyssa Short said. The firefighters said politics are to blame for their departure. Read full story here: News New Mexico

Dianna Duran is Doing What Her Predecessors Didn't Do: Cleaning Up Voter Rolls

KRQE - The secretary of state's office is sending out postcards this week, urging voters to update their mailing information. Secretary of State Dianna Duran says the mailings are necessary to clean up voter files. Those who confirm their address will remain on the voter rolls. Addressees who do not return the postcards and haven't voted in certain elections will have their names removed. Read full story here: News New Mexico

ACLU Questions APD Use of Mini Cameras

KOB - A recently employed Albuquerque Police Department surveillance program has triggered widespread criticism - it is believed to violate privacy rights.
APD is using small, discreet cameras to take pictures of car license plates in effort to catch more car thieves.
The license plate readers snap photos of plates at random, but some argue it goes against the right to privacy.
"Why do they need to take my license plate down if I did nothing wrong," one man said.
Others agree.
"It's just invading people's privacy," a woman said. "I understand they're trying to do their job, but I think there's other ways of getting it done." Read full story here: News New Mexico

Lobos Sell Naming Rights to Law Firm

Albuquerque Journal - The University of New Mexico’s new synthetic turf football field now has a name. In recognition of a $1.5 million gift to the UNM athletic program pledged by Albuquerque lawyers Turner and Margaret Branch, the Lobos will be playing on Branch Field at University Stadium when they step on that new turf for the season opener Sept. 1.
The announcement was made Tuesday on Albuquerque’s ESPN Radio, KQTM-FM (101.7). The Branches are part-owners of the station. Paul Krebs, UNM’s athletic director, interviewed by the station, said the turf will bear a “Branch Field” logo at both 25-yard lines, with “Turner & Margaret” below in smaller letters.
“It’s a tremendous day for UNM athletics,” Krebs said. “I think it’s certainly appropriate recognition for a family that’s stepped up in support of our student-athletes and our program.” Read full story here(subscription required) News New Mexico