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2:00 am, July 13, 2014

Jack Moore Reports

Jack Moore is a web editor and general assignment reporter for Federal News Radio.

CBO: Congress could wring $300B in deficit savings from federal pay, pension changes

A new Congressional Budget Office analysis of proposed deficit-reduction efforts contained half a dozen proposals affecting federal employees, including reducing annual pay raises, requiring federal employees to contribute more toward their pensions and reducing the size of the federal workforce through attrition. All told, such proposals would reduce federal outlays or increase revenues by $308 billion, according to CBO estimates.

Friday - 11/15/2013, 12:30pm EST

Lawmakers raise cybersecurity concerns about HealthCare.gov

The troubled HealthCare.gov website has been the subject of at least one attempted but unsuccessful cyber attack, according to one of the of the Homeland Security Department's top cyber officials. Lawmakers at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing said the consolidation of personal information and the glitch-prone website are cause for concern.

Wednesday - 11/13/2013, 04:11pm EST

Archuleta looks to 'forge a new pathway' to better engage federal workforce

Just a week into the job and confronted with signs of the sagging morale of the federal workforce, new Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta said she wants to take steps to make sure federal employees feel engaged in their work. Tuesday's annual public meeting of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council focused on ways to improve employee engagement and morale. OPM released its annual Employee Viewpoint Survey last week, revealing continuing declines in federal employees' overall job satisfaction and a sharp drop in satisfaction with their pay.

Tuesday - 11/12/2013, 04:44pm EST

OPM Survey: Oldest federal employees most satisfied, engaged workers

The oldest federal employees are also the most satisfied and engaged workers, according to the Office of Personnel Management's annual Employee Viewpoint Survey. According to the survey, the pre-Baby Boom generation of federal workers is more likely to believe they are recognized for their service, believe they have sufficient resources and are satisfied with training opportunities. Knowing how satisfaction and engagement shake out across age barriers can be helpful as managers attempt to build back up the battered morale of the federal workforce, OPM said.

Monday - 11/11/2013, 04:44pm EST

Top 3 Tips for Open Season

Open Season, the time when federal employees and retirees can comb through more than 250 plans of the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program and make changes, kicks off today and runs through Dec. 9. Find some key pieces of information for the current Open Season and links to more information. Plus, benefits experts offer their three most important tips for Open Season.

Saturday - 11/09/2013, 12:18pm EST

Pay freeze, sequestration take bite out of employee satisfaction, OPM survey reveals

Frustrations over federal pay, budget cuts and uncertain agency funding have weakened federal-employee satisfaction, according to the Office of Personnel Management's Federal Employee Viewpoint survey released Friday. For the second year in a row, overall employee satisfaction scores fell, dipping below 60 percent this year. Meanwhile, less than half of federal employees said they believe they have sufficient resources such as material, staff and funding to do their jobs effectively.

Friday - 11/08/2013, 05:40pm EST

Mikulski seeks two-year sequestration solution

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, took to the Senate floor this week calling on House-Senate budget negotiators to look at replacing the across-the-board sequestration cuts for at least two years.

Friday - 11/08/2013, 12:23pm EST

Fed groups: Pay and benefits should be off the table in budget talks

A coalition of more than two dozen federal-employee unions and advocacy groups is calling on budget negotiators to come up with a way to undo the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts that are poised to slash agency spending by billions more this year. But following three years of a pay freeze and the recent 16-day government shutdown, the groups are equally adamant that changes to federal employees' pay and benefits should be off the table.

Friday - 11/08/2013, 10:24am EST

Disability claims backlog, EHR efforts top VA nominee's priorities

At his nomination hearing before a Senate committee Tuesday, President Barack Obama's pick to serve in the Veterans Affairs Department's No. 2 management slot pledged to tackle a host of challenges plaguing the department. Sloan Gibson, the president and CEO of the nonprofit USO, told members of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee if confirmed to be the VA's deputy director he would tackle the longstanding backlog of disability claims and will work to find common ground with the Defense Department on a new strategy for a joint electronic-health records system. The committee also considered the nominations of Linda Schwartz to be the assistant VA secretary for policy and planning and Constance Tobias to serve as the chair of VA's Board of Veterans' Appeals.

Wednesday - 11/06/2013, 03:22pm EST

Retirement backlog continues to drop as fewer feds file to retire

For the fourth month in a row, fewer federal employees than expected put in for retirement, allowing the Office of Personnel Management to continue cutting away at a longstanding backlog of claims. About 1,000 fewer employees than expected filed for retirement, according to new OPM data. The backlog fell by more than 3,500 cases.

Tuesday - 11/05/2013, 01:35pm EST

OMB, OPM tell agencies to take different approach on employee bonuses

The Obama administration trying a different tack on federal-employee bonuses and awards in fiscal 2014. A new directive from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management continues clear-cut spending caps on employee awards but won't outright ban them -- even if the across-the-board spending constraints, known as sequestration, continue.

Monday - 11/04/2013, 11:23am EST

Senators say embattled DHS IG slow to respond to requests for information

Two top senators on a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee say a delay by the acting inspector general of the Homeland Security in providing documentation is hindering the committee's investigation into allegations of nepotism and misuse of agency resources. Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Financial and Contracting Oversight subcommittee, wrote to the Deputy IG Charles Edwards Wednesday pressing him to respond to their requests for information.

Friday - 11/01/2013, 04:52pm EDT

What shutdown? TSP ends October with strong showing

Fears that the two-week government shutdown and the threat of a catastrophic default on the national debt would roil the stock market and shrink federal employees' retirement accounts turned out to be unfounded. For the second month in a row, all the funds in the TSP posted in positive territory, according to data released Friday by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

Friday - 11/01/2013, 11:30am EDT

In House-Senate budget talks, feds fear being familiar target

When House and Senate lawmakers kicked off formal budget negotiations this week for the first time since the government shutdown ended, both Republicans and Democrats said replacing sequestration, the blunt across-the-board budget cuts, with an alternative plan would be a top priority. The sticking point remains how to pay for it. Federal-employee unions and advocacy groups fear federal pay and benefits will once again be on the table.

Thursday - 10/31/2013, 12:51pm EDT

Senate approves Archuleta to head OPM

The 62-35 vote comes more than five months after President Barack Obama nominated the former Labor Department chief of staff and Obama reelection campaign official to serve as the next head of the agency.

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 06:56pm EDT

DOJ joins whistleblower suit against company that vetted Snowden, Alexis

The Justice Department has joined a whistleblower False Claims Act suit against the federal government's largest provider of background investigations. Filed under the False Claims Act, the suit alleges that USIS, which currently has a multimillion-dollar contract with the Office of Personnel Management, failed to properly review its casework before providing it OPM.

Wednesday - 10/30/2013, 04:21pm EDT

Will new budget negotiations unravel the sequestration riddle?

For the first time since the government shutdown ended two weeks ago, House and Senate lawmakers are sitting down at the table to negotiate about the fiscal 2014 budget. At the top of the agenda will be what to do about the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration that have ensnared what remained of the traditional budget process this year. However, budget experts and insiders say sequestration is likely to stick around -- at least in some form -- and about the best agencies can hope for is a small-bore deal that grants them some greater flexibility in implementing the cuts, these experts said.

Tuesday - 10/29/2013, 03:12pm EDT

Thousands of feds turned to TSP to weather shutdown

Hardship withdrawals shot up in the first few weeks of October and thousands more employees opted to shift their investments out of higher-risk areas and into the G Fund, TSP officials said at at the board's monthly meeting Monday. During the shutdown, some 8,200 participants requested hardship withdrawals, compared to 5,500 during the same period of time last year.

Monday - 10/28/2013, 05:17pm EDT

HealthCare.gov contractors point fingers at CMS for site bottlenecks

The House Energy and Commerce Committee called representatives from four contractors including prime contractor CGI Federal to the committee to investigate the bumpy launch of the health care website. Contractors responsible for key parts of the website told lawmakers that the federal government was responsible for comprehensively testing the site and that a late decision to require logging into the system before browsing for insurance plans created bottlenecks that crippled the site.

Thursday - 10/24/2013, 03:35pm EDT

After the shutdown: Federal employees cite drain on morale

Eighty-three percent of respondents to a Federal News Radio online poll said morale at their workplace is now worse than before the shutdown. Another 5 percent of respondents said they didn't feel personally affected but the morale of their co-workers had worsened. Federal workforce experts and employees, themselves, say the the two-week government shutdown has opened up a rift of resentment between groups of federal employees which, in part, is fueling the morale drain.

Tuesday - 10/22/2013, 02:03pm EDT
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