Shows & Panels
- Accelerate and Streamline for Better Customer Service
- Ask the CIO
- The Big Data Dilemma
- Carrying On with Continuity of Operations
- Client Virtualization Solutions
- Data Protection in a Virtual World
- Expert Voices
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal IT Challenge
- Federal Tech Talk
- Feds in the Cloud
- Health IT: A Policy Change Agent
- Improving Healthcare Outcomes through IT Policy
- IT Innovation in the New Era of Government
- Making Dollars And Sense Out of Data Center Consolidation
- Navigating the Private Cloud
- One Step to the Cloud, Two Steps Toward Innovation
- Path to FDCCI Compliance
- Take Command of Your Mobility Initiative
Shows & Panels
Asteroid strike, furloughs - it's always something
Wednesday - 2/13/2013, 2:00am EST
According to NASA, the 130- to 160-foot long space streaker will miss us by 17,000 miles. That's the good news.
So, unless NASA is wrong and that 130-foot long rock actually hits Earth on Friday, the biggest problem facing federal workers, government contractors and the people who depend on them is the prospect of furloughs.
If Congress and the White House fail to reach agreement on spending or tax cuts, Uncle Sam will send hundreds of thousands of workers home. Worse-case scenario, like the Defense Department, would be one-day-per-week furloughs between March and the end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30. Other agencies (like Treasury's Bureau of the Public Debt and Financial Management Service) believe they can make the necessary savings without resorting to layoffs.
(Think about it: This time last year if somebody said they were going to sequester your sister you would have probably slugged them. Now that we know what it really means (sort of) we still don't like the idea. But it is no longer a dueling offense).
Thanks to this game of legislative chicken, being played by the House, Senate and White House, productivity has probably slowed as agencies plan for and brace for a March 1 shutdown.
Prepping for possible furloughs has been a full-time job for many workers in many agencies. They've had to dust off previous shutdown guidelines, parse words, talk with lawyers to determine how things will work when hardly anybody is working because they are not allowed to work. Forced furloughs raise lots of questions. For example:
- Can furloughed feds take a day of vacation to preserve their full paycheck? Answer — no!
- Can a furloughed fed take a day of sick leave instead? Answer — probably not. If you do it, the smartest move is to probably just die to tie up loose ends.
- Will this sequestration, if it happens, be like previous shutdowns? What's the difference between the shutdown of 1995-96 and a smaller one in the FAA last year? Feds got retroactive pay from Congress after the 1990s shutdown. But Congress said 'no' to retroactive pay last year. The Transportation Department found the money to pay the furloughed workers. What happens this time if what we are afraid might happen happens?
Later in the show, Federal Times reporter Stephen Losey will give us the latest on the sequestration struggle, the possibility of a 1 percent pay raise, the OMB furlough instructions and the American Federation of Government Employees report on possible cuts in government contracts.
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Compiled by Jack Moore
The most overused phrase in the English language (currently) is "At the end of the day." That's according to scholars at Oxford University, who combed through a database of magazines newspapers and Internet publications
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Could cutting service contracts avert sequestration furloughs?
In an analysis prepared for the American Federation of Government Employees, Charles Tiefer, a professor at the University of Baltimore Law School and a former member of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that agency managers have a number of tools at their disposal to legally scale back service-contract spending.
Finger-pointing trumps problem-solving on budget
Just about everyone in official Washington is in agreement that big across-the-board spending cuts at the Pentagon and throughout domestic federal programs on March 1 are a bad idea. So far, however, the warring tribes in the nation's capital seem more interested in finger-pointing than problem-solving.
White House issues cyber order, giving NIST, DHS lead roles
The White House's long-awaited, and much anticipated, Executive Order to improve the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure is far from an answer to the lack of congressional action on the issue, and more about doing something to spur change.
Obama calls on Congress to stop sequestration, pass cyber bill
President Barack Obama, in his fifth State of the Union, reiterated many of the common management themes that have been at the center of the administration over the last four years.
Military issues dire warnings of readiness crisis, decries political gridlock
The leaders of each of the military services warned senators Tuesday that the military is on the brink of a readiness crisis as sequestration looms just two weeks away. And in some areas, they say the consequences of the budget scenario are already being felt.