Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Making love and buyouts — the connection
Friday - 3/23/2012, 2:00am EDT
Well, frequency is a common factor. So is technique. Generally speaking, surprises are welcome, but as one gets older a sure thing is nice too.
Consider: Last year the Interior Department didn't do it even one time. Air Force on the other hand did it once last year and twice this year. Go Air Force!
Meantime, the General Services Administration is still pondering whether to do it and, if so, when and how often. The Los Alamos National Laboratory said up to 600 people could do it, but not if they are federal workers. In the Forest Service, rumors that large numbers of people would be allowed to do it spread like a forest fire. But nothing so far.
Buyouts, like the weather and romance, are things that a lot of people talk about and hope for. But, more often than not, nothing happens. You think about it a lot — some people think about it all the time — but nothing happens.
The most popular four-letter word in the federal vocabulary is probably VSIP. It stands for Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment. VSIPs were authorized in the 1990s when the Clinton administration wanted to cut the civilian federal workforce down to JFK-administration levels. Defense was the first to pay employees (a maximum of $25,000 before deductions) to go. Later, Congress extended the program to other federal agencies. Even the super-secret National Security Agency got into the buyout act. Because NSA is better at listening than talking, details are hard to come by.
In 2011, 18 departments, agencies or parts of agencies offered buyouts. Most had a limit on the number who could take a VSIP. Most were quickies, meaning the first to sign up got them.
So far this year, 11 federal operations — some of them repeats from last year — have offered buyouts. Most wanted employees off the payroll by March to make them most cost-effective for the government. But a few are permitting employees to leave in April or May.
Buyouts are normally most cost-effective if offered early in the fiscal year (October, November or December). Depending on what Congress does with budgets and deficit-cutting plans (most likely not very much), agencies could be in a position where they must offer another round of buyouts this fall. Other options include furloughs in 2013 and/or layoffs which because of civil service seniority rules are often very disruptive.
Bottom line: No matter how much you think about it, how much you want and need it, the availability of buyouts, and frequency with which they happen depends on a lot of outside factors. For a look at the 2012 and 2011 buyout action, click here.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
By Jack Moore
"Baby-name regret" — that feeling of remorse after sticking junior with an ill-considered moniker for life — is on the rise, according to Live Science. "Maybe Jude would have fit better than Luke and totally changed your baby's life," a baby-name expert said.
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Insider trading ban sent to White House
The Senate on Thursday sent the White House a bill to explicitly ban members of Congress, the president and thousands of other federal workers from profiting from nonpublic information learned on the job.
House committee approves Republican budget plan
The House Budget Committee approved a Republican proposal that calls for shrinking U.S. deficits to $3.1 trillion over the coming decade. The budget bill also calls for a 10 percent reduction of the federal workforce, an extension of the federal pay freeze and an increase of federal employees' contributions to their pension plans.
Low morale at DHS is 'referendum on leadership'
Strong leadership is key to boosting employee morale at the Homeland Security Department, according to testimony today before a House Homeland Security subcommittee. DHS ranked among the lowest of large agencies when it came to worker satisfaction, according to the annual Partnership for Public Service Best Places to Work Survey. The agency ranked 31 of 33 large agencies overall, and last in the categories of "effective leadership" and "family friendly culture and benefits."