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8:25 pm, August 30, 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.

FEMA's attempts to recoup improper payments set off new problems

FEMA has recovered just $3 million of $643 million in potentially improper disaster relief aid since Hurricane Katrina. But its attempts to recoup the money are setting off one senator and threatening to erupt into a public relations snafu.

Friday - 10/21/2011, 12:37pm EDT
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OPM working 'around the clock' to fix USAJobs.gov

The Office of Personnel Management is scrambling to buy more server capacity after record traffic overwhelmed the new version of the USAJobs.gov website. OPM Director John Berry said the site now is serving 94 percent of users. But he acknowledged that's "cold comfort for those whose applications aren't getting through." Agency IT staff is working around the clock to fix the problem, he added.

Thursday - 10/20/2011, 05:50am EDT
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Managers need to unleash workers for successful telework

While agencies and employees are reaping the benefits of telework, many frontline supervisors remain reluctant. They have to learn to manage the work, not the workers, experts say.

Wednesday - 10/19/2011, 05:46am EDT
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Industry group warns of bleakest IT budget in 17 years

The government's IT budget hasn't been squeezed this hard since Forrest Gump was on the big screen in 1994. In the next five years, agencies will focus their spending on mission-critical technology. They're also finding ways to save money though nontraditional contracts and IT consolidation, a survey by the industry group TechAmerica Foundation found.

Tuesday - 10/18/2011, 06:14am EDT
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Users frustrated with the new, overwhelmed USAJobs 3.0

Federal jobseekers are complaining that the new version of the USAJobs.gov website is slow and clunky. The Office of Personnel Management had promised that it would be more streamlined and easier to use than the previous version. It is asking agencies that use the site to recruit to extend their application deadlines while it works out the kinks.

Monday - 10/17/2011, 05:34am EDT

GAO: Postal Service did not overpay CSRS account

The Postal Service has not paid too much for retirement benefits for employees under the Civil Service Retirement System. A report by the Government Accountability Office throws a wrench in the Postal Service's plan to return to profitability by accessing more than $50 billion now held for retirement benefits.

Thursday - 10/13/2011, 01:51pm EDT
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NTEU warns against the loss of IRS jobs, revenue

The union that represents IRS workers is ramping up a public campaign in hopes of convincing voters that the loss of 4,000 tax collectors and agents would be bad for government services that they depend on. Congressional appropriators have proposed cutting the division's budget by $450 million-to-$600 million.

Wednesday - 10/12/2011, 07:44pm EDT
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USAJobs 3.0 launches amid hopes of greater integration

The Office of Personnel Management launched today the latest version of the government's jobs site, USAJobs.gov, one day ahead of schedule. The agency says the new site will connect to both agency and contractor websites.

Tuesday - 10/11/2011, 02:17pm EDT

Employee tips led to 'most improved' agency

When less than half of your employees say they'd recommend your agency as a great place to work, you have a problem that's not easy to fix. But faced with poor ratings year after year, the Broadcasting Board of Governors decided to do something about it.

Tuesday - 10/11/2011, 05:18am EDT
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GAO: Agencies need more policing of contractors

Federal contractors may be getting away with fraud or shoddy work, according to a Government Accountability Office study of five years' worth of federal contracts. GAO found that most agencies are not using enforcement tools meant to cut off the flow of public funds to bad contractors.

Friday - 10/07/2011, 02:13pm EDT
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Agencies gravitate to low-cost contests as Challenge.gov celebrates its first birthday

In its first year, the website Challenge.gov let agencies add public contests as a low-cost way to find innovative solutions to their problems. Officials at the General Services Administration, which runs the site, say challenges offer a lower-cost alternative to procurement or grants and speak to a different audience. GSA would like to see challenges standardized across the government in the coming year but worry that the site may lose funding.

Thursday - 10/06/2011, 05:38am EDT
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USPS faces competing interests in path to reform

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he wants to give the struggling Postal Service more flexibility to act like a private business, including the ability to force retirement-eligible employees to step down. Meanwhile, the Postal Regulatory Commission worries the Postal Service is losing sight of its public mission.

Wednesday - 10/05/2011, 06:27am EDT
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Low number of Latinos gives urgency to diversity initiative

The latest OPM report on Latinos in the federal government shows no improvement in 2009 and 2010. They remain the most underrepresented racial and ethnic group in the federal workforce, making up eight percent of employees. OPM has convened a council to recommend improvements.

Monday - 10/03/2011, 04:37pm EDT

OPM extends more benefits to feds in military families

Federal workers with a family member serving overseas in the military will be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for reasons including arranging childcare, attending military events and receiving counseling. The new rule goes into effect next month.

Thursday - 09/29/2011, 07:00pm EDT

Sarbanes 'excited' to reform federal hiring

Democratic lawmakers want to codify the White House's hiring reform initiative to ensure that agencies keep working at making their processes faster and simpler. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) said the process is too complicated and changing it is key to attracting the best and brightest.

Thursday - 09/29/2011, 04:45pm EDT
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Agencies still must do more to fix hiring process

Federal hiring still takes too long and asks too much of applicants. But the agency hiring process is inching closer to mirroring the private sector. Officials, academics, analysts and union representatives agreed that agencies need to take the next steps to maintain progress.

Thursday - 09/29/2011, 05:45am EDT
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Feds have sacrificed enough, federal groups tell supercommittee

Postal workers and federal employees groups are urging the "supercommittee" to reject President Barack Obama's proposed increase in employee retirement contributions and support his cap on contractors' salaries. The Federal-Postal Coalition also wants lawmakers to preserve Saturday mail delivery, despite USPS' wishes.

Wednesday - 09/28/2011, 06:02pm EDT

Congress to extend deadline for Postal Service debt

The Postal Service would get seven more weeks to pay a $5.5 billion debt to the Treasury under the continuing resolution passed Monday by the Senate. A House version includes the same provision. The bill is due on Friday.

Tuesday - 09/27/2011, 07:25pm EDT

Task force to align feds' performance with agency goals

Agency leaders, employee unions and associations are recommending ways to improve upon the age-old problem of supervision in the federal workforce. They're hoping to reassure employees that they're being treated fairly, while showing the public that the government is working efficiently. The President's Labor-Management Council is reviewing the plan.

Tuesday - 09/27/2011, 06:02am EDT
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McCain brings House GOP USPS reform plan to Senate

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has introduced legislation in the Senate to overhaul the struggling Postal Service. It mirrors the GOP plan approved by a House subcommittee Wednesday. It would let an independent watchdog to seize control of the agency's finances if it were more than 30 days late in paying its bills.

Friday - 09/23/2011, 07:01pm EDT
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