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3:08 pm, August 20, 2014

Emily Kopp Reports

Emily Kopp covers civilian agencies in the federal government with a focus on workforce issues. Emily's reports can be heard Monday - Friday on the Federal Drive and In Depth.

Agencies finalize diversity plans

Most agencies are on track to implement new diversity strategies by March 16, Office of Personnel Management Director of Diversity and Inclusion Veronica Villalobos told Federal News Radio. Five months ago, President Barack Obama directed agencies to improve the diversity of their ranks through strategic plans.

Friday - 02/10/2012, 07:27am EST
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Postal Service posts $3.3B loss for the quarter

The Postal Service said large losses would continue until the agency can trim its workforce, close some facilities, and restructure its healthcare program. The Postal Service posted a total loss of $5.1 billion in fiscal 2011.

Thursday - 02/09/2012, 02:12pm EST
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VA comes under fire for telework policy

AFGE has accused the Department of Veterans Affairs of failing to expand telework opportunities despite a new law designed to encourage the practice. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) has demanded an explanation. Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration John Sepulveda said managers aren't convinced that telework is good for the agency.

Thursday - 02/09/2012, 05:30am EST
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Lawmakers continue battle over federal retirement benefits

In the latest attempt to cut federal retirement benefits, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has reported out legislation that would make feds contribute more of their salaries to their pensions and end the FERS annuity supplement for people who retire before age 62.

Wednesday - 02/08/2012, 05:41am EST

Section 508 revision nears home stretch but compliance problems remain

The Access Board hopes to publish new accessibility standards this fall, known as Section 508, which agencies use to buy tech products. The agency has been working on the standards for six years. But some advocates of disabled employees say the update, while necessary, doesn't address the real problem: lack of enforcement.

Monday - 02/06/2012, 03:18pm EST
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Survey: Telework still elusive at many agencies

Many agencies are not as gung-ho on telework as the Obama Administration or lawmakers would have it, according to a recent Congressional Research Service survey. The Department of Veterans Affairs allows just one-tenth of its employees to telework. At other agencies, most workers who are eligible to telework do not.

Friday - 02/03/2012, 06:50am EST

Senators take OPM to task over long wait for pensions

The Office of Personnel Management has a new strategy for tackling its backlog of 62,000 retirement applications. But, after 25 years of hearing such promises, lawmakers are skeptical. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Subcommittee on Oversight brought agency director John Berry to Capitol Hill to explain why this strategy is different.

Thursday - 02/02/2012, 01:51pm EST
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OMB gives more details on agency consolidation plan

President Barack Obama will send Congress a bill in the coming weeks to reinstate the president's authority to consolidate agencies, said Lisa Brown, the Office of Management and Budget executive leading the government reform effort. She said the bill would require proposals to "reduce the number of agencies or save costs."

Tuesday - 01/31/2012, 08:20pm EST
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Senate committee to vet OPM annuity processing strategy

The Office of Personnel Management's new strategy to catch up on its backlog of retirement claims will be vetted publicly during a hearing Wednesday of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management.

Tuesday - 01/31/2012, 08:06pm EST

OPM: Fixing retirement backlog 'vitally important'

It's not the easiest time to tackle the growing backlog of retirement applications from federal employees. The Office of Personnel Management has received more than 15,000 new applications this month, which is more than double the normal load, said Retirement Services Director Ken Zawodny.

Tuesday - 01/24/2012, 08:49pm EST
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OPM to extend viewpoint survey to all feds

All federal employees will have the opportunity to participate in this year's Employee Viewpoint Survey. The Office of Personnel Management's annual survey of federal workers' opinions often is used to set administrative policies at agencies. In past years, only a third of the workforce had been asked to participate.

Tuesday - 01/24/2012, 03:14pm EST

Obama to push spectrum development for first responders

The White House will push Congress to "finish the job" on spectrum policy, Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said. First responders still are using analog communications to talk to each other during emergencies.

Tuesday - 01/24/2012, 05:09am EST
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OPM online training course aims to make telework more accessible

The Office of Personnel Management has updated the telework training offered through Telework.gov. Agencies must provide telework training to employees who are able and willing to work outside the office before the two parties sign a telework agreement. The upgrades will allow agencies to track which employees use and complete the training, according to the memo.

Monday - 01/23/2012, 04:05pm EST

Agencies demo one-stop FOIA portal

Federal employees who respond to Freedom of Information Act requests got their first look today at a new web portal designed to improve efficiency and transparency. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Commerce Department and the National Archives and Records Administration are basing the portal on Regulations.gov.

Thursday - 01/12/2012, 03:47pm EST
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FEHB program almost ready to welcome Indian tribe employees

Administrators are preparing to expand the Federal Employee Health Benefits plan in May to thousands of employees of Indian tribes and tribal organizations. Tribes have urged the change for a long time. It was mandated by the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and is just now becoming a reality.

Wednesday - 01/11/2012, 08:53pm EST
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Hubert Sparks reflects on four decades of auditing agencies

Appalachian Regional Commission Inspector General Hubert Sparks has tried to retire twice, but keeps coming back to government. After 43 years, this will be his last, Sparks said.

Monday - 01/09/2012, 09:12am EST
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New SES appraisal system meant to align agencies

The White House has announced a new system for evaluating the performance of Senior Executive Service members. The system should establish greater consistency among agencies, according to a memo by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management.

Friday - 01/06/2012, 02:57pm EST
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Postal Service's plan to close post offices hits roadbumps

The Postal Regulatory Commission has criticized the Postal Service's proposal to consider closing more than 3,600 post offices as part of its plan to avoid a projected $14 billion loss this year. The plan is causing anxiety in communities that depend on their post offices and it would not save that much money, PRC Chairman Ruth Goldway told Federal News Radio. The commission will be watching the agency's cash flow closely in the coming months.

Wednesday - 01/04/2012, 07:47pm EST

Will 2012 be the year agencies focus on succession planning?

Pressure is growing on agencies to draft formal succession plans. There's good reason to believe more feds retired in late 2011 than in recent years, although the final count is not yet out.

Tuesday - 01/03/2012, 08:39pm EST
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HUD, VA collaboration succeeds in finding vets homes

President Barack Obama has promised to end homelessness among veterans within three years. He's made it a high-priority goal, challenging agencies to meet it without additional resources or laws. Officials say they're on track thanks to a unique collaboration between two agencies and dozens of local partners is focusing on the toughest cases.

Thursday - 12/29/2011, 04:42pm EST
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