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6:08 am, April 21, 2014

Michael O'Connell Reports

Michael O'Connell is a web editor and general assignment reporter for Federal News Radio.

Behind the Scenes: Diplomatic Reception Rooms

For several weeks each August, the State Department's Diplomatic Reception Rooms are closed to the public to allow conservators to repair and renovate the collection of historic objects. The rooms, which hosted more than 800 events last year, serve as a backdrop to State's diplomatic efforts. (Read related story.)

Wednesday - 09/04/2013, 05:25pm EDT

Obama ends federal pay freeze; Congress could still block

President Barack Obama issued some good news for federal workers before the start of Labor Day weekend, calling for a 1 percent pay increase for feds in 2014. But Congress could still prevent the raises through legislation. Federal employees have had their pay frozen since January 2011.

Friday - 08/30/2013, 08:02pm EDT

From binder clips to sequester pads, one fed takes small steps to tackle big budget problems

Joseph Frankovic looked around his office at the Federal Register and saw that it was being overrun by binder clips. At a time when agencies are struggling to save budget dollars wherever they can, Frankovic saw an opportunity to make a difference - and he took it.

Thursday - 08/29/2013, 06:43pm EDT

How effective is simulated training? GAO cites gaps in Army, Marine Corps data

A new study by the Government Accountability Office says the Army and Marine Corps need to develop a set of metrics to better measure the benefits of simulation-based training over live training.

Tuesday - 08/27/2013, 04:46pm EDT
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EPA inspires buildings to duke it out for energy-savings supremacy

The fourth annual Energy Star National Building Competition Battle of the Buildings encourages people to use the same energy-savings strategies they use at home and apply them to where they work, play and learn.

Monday - 08/26/2013, 05:41pm EDT
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Online tools help USDA preserve, transfer knowledge

The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is using online identification tools to prevent a loss of expertise and institutional knowledge caused by a growing number of people retiring.

Monday - 08/26/2013, 02:39pm EDT
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Report: Thousands of DoD civilians could face layoffs in 2014

The Department of Defense may have to consider cutting thousands of civilians from its workforce if sequestration continues into fiscal year 2014, according to a Pentagon planning document obtained by Bloomberg News. The workforce reductions would offset a projected $52 billion in automatic spending cuts.

Friday - 08/23/2013, 01:22pm EDT

How many furlough days did feds actually take?

With the end of fiscal 2013 just over a month away, many agencies are wrapping up their furlough days. Some agencies have even reduced the number of unpaid leave days they originally thought they would need. This graphic depicts the total number of furlough days originally declared by agencies versus the number of furloughs actually taken.

Friday - 08/23/2013, 12:00pm EDT

MSPB continues long slog through 30,000 furlough appeals

The majority of furlough-related appeals the Merit Systems Protection Board has received - 98 percent - have come from civilian employees of the Defense Department. Of the 30,000-plus furlough appeals, MSPB has entered more than 16,000 into its system. The agency says it expects to have most of the appeals docketed shortly after Labor Day.

Thursday - 08/22/2013, 05:16pm EDT

Chained CPI could cost retirees thousands over time, NARFE says

A proposed change to how federal retirees' cost-of-living adjustments are calculated could have a huge, negative impact, according to David Snell of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. NARFE is urging its members and retirees to contact their congressmen during the week of Sept. 16 to express their opposition to the chained consumer price index.

Wednesday - 08/21/2013, 02:57pm EDT
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OMB reduces number of furlough days by 2

The Office of Management and Budget originally planned for 10 furlough days. Employees were already required to take seven unpaid days off and one more is planned before Sept. 30.

Tuesday - 08/20/2013, 05:48pm EDT

Federal judges implore Congress for respite from sequestration

A group of 87 federal judges sent a letter to Vice President Joseph Biden, warning that budget cuts due to sequestration have negatively impacted the federal judiciary's ability to prosecute and defend cases.

Tuesday - 08/20/2013, 04:13pm EDT
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FBI team honored for efforts to break up two N.Y. crime families

The Partnership for Public Services nominated Supervisory Special Agent Seamus McElearney and a team of FBI agents for a 2013 Sammies Medal, for their investigation of the notorious Colombo and Bonanno La Cosa Nostra crime families.

Tuesday - 08/20/2013, 12:14pm EDT
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Man collects $340K in deceased mother's federal benefits

After his mother died in 1999, a Washington, D.C. man continued to collect Social Security retirement benefits and Office of Personnel Management annuity checks for 15 years.

Monday - 08/19/2013, 05:44pm EDT

Flournoy: Time for a 'good scrub' of DoD's mission, tasks

Michele Flournoy, the former undersecretary of defense for policy, says the time is ripe for the Department of Defense to look at its mission and how it motivates people to cut costs and reduce its overhead.

Monday - 08/19/2013, 03:25pm EDT
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Human behavior - the next frontier in agency innovation

Understanding human behavior could save agencies money and make their programs more effective, according to a recent White House memo. That theory is currently being used by the IRS to motivate more people to pay their tax debts. But how can other agencies take advantage of human behavior? Deloitte offers up some ideas.

Monday - 08/19/2013, 02:00am EDT
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When life deals you furloughs make ... furloughade?

Two furloughed feds share how they turned the negative of an unpaid day off into a positive. One performed service projects for the community where he lives. The other launched a website to keep feds informed about sequestration and furloughs.

Friday - 08/16/2013, 02:44pm EDT
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DoD on track to achieve audit readiness

The Pentagon is making notable progress towards its 2014 and 2017 audibility mandates, according to Beth McGrath, the Pentagon's deputy chief management officer. "It's not just the responsibility of the comptroller, for example, to achieve audit readiness," McGrath tells Federal News Radio. "It's everybody has to play."

Wednesday - 08/14/2013, 06:47pm EDT
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Senior execs ponder sequestration: 'Is this the new normal?'

What do you get when you put a group of Senior Executive Service members in a room together? A lot of straight talk about managing the short-term and long-term challenges of sequestration. Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, says the federal managers that participated in the recent discussion came up with real conclusions that "need to be said and heard."

Wednesday - 08/14/2013, 03:34pm EDT
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DoD vet Dave Wennergren heads to CACI

CACI International Inc. appointed David Wennergren, DoD's former assistant deputy chief management officer, as vice president of the company's Enterprise Technologies and Services business group.

Tuesday - 08/13/2013, 04:58pm EDT
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