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7:01 pm, September 30, 2014

Jack Moore Reports

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

DoD nominees face scrutiny over Pentagon plan to shrink compensation costs

Just a day after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed reductions in military end-strength and shrinking compensation costs as part of next year's budget plan, a slate of nominees to lead key offices at the Pentagon faced congressional scrutiny.

Tuesday - 02/25/2014, 03:29pm EST

TSP board considers rebranding Lifecycle Funds

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is eyeing another potential tweak to the Thrift Savings Plan's Lifecycle Funds — their name. Lifecycle Funds, also known as L Funds or target-date funds, are made up of a mix of the five core TSP funds that shifts over time. But board members are concerned the "fund" label may be confusing to TSP participants. In its place, the board is considering changing the name to "Lifecycle strategies."

Monday - 02/24/2014, 03:38pm EST

Obama pushes agencies to streamline export-import process

President Barack Obama is pushing the dozens of agencies that have a hand in the export-import process to speed up processing times and eliminate redundant paperwork requests that hamper companies seeking to export American-made products. Currently, businesses interested in importing or exporting goods must submit reams of paperwork to as many as 48 different federal agencies.

Wednesday - 02/19/2014, 04:25pm EST

House Dems, employee groups want Obama to chuck chained CPI

More than 100 members of the House and a dozen outside groups have signed on to a letter to President Barack Obama from Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) requesting that the upcoming White House budget not include a proposal to alter the way retirees' cost-of-living adjustments are calculated. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, the American Federation of Government Employees and the Military Officers Association of American have signed on in support of the letter.

Wednesday - 02/19/2014, 02:58pm EST

Federal managers: Forget everything you think you know about hiring

A recent report from the Merit Systems Protection Board reveals that cursory assessments of training and experience are often unreliable indicators of how employees will actually fare on the job. MPSB's John Ford tells the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp what hiring managers can do to up their hiring game. Plus, Sam Davis, vice president of AMA Enterprise Government Solutions, discusses how hiring flexibilities will boost agencies' efforts to hire the long-term unemployed.

Tuesday - 02/18/2014, 04:19pm EST
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House committee chairman wants VA middle managers held accountable

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) is the author of new legislation that would make it easier for the Veterans Affairs Department to fire its senior executives. Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, says the agency is too shy about cutting loose middle managers who are performing poorly.

Monday - 02/17/2014, 03:44pm EST
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Congress eyeing legislative fix for security clearances

President Barack Obama signed the OPM IG Act into law this week. The law provides the agency's top watchdog with an additional source of funding to conduct audits and investigations of the security-clearance process.

Thursday - 02/13/2014, 04:14pm EST

NTEU ad campaign spotlights work of federal employees

The National Treasury Employees Union has distributed copies of a new public-service announcement featuring NTEU members to 300 TV stations and 1,000 radio stations nationwide. The theme of NTEU's campaign is "They Work for US." In addition to the radio and TV ads, the effort includes a website, Facebook page and a social media push. In a conference call with reporters Wednesday announcing the campaign, NTEU President Colleen Kelley said the aim of the campaign is to change the conversation about federal employees.

Wednesday - 02/12/2014, 05:26pm EST

House bill would make it easier to fire senior execs at VA

The VA Management Accountability Act would give VA Secretary Eric Shinseki broad authority to remove Senior Executives Service (SES) members "if the secretary determines the performance of the individual warrants such removal," according to the bill. In addition to outright removal, the bill would allow the VA secretary to bump SES members down to the General Schedule at any grade level the secretary deems appropriate according to the bill.

Wednesday - 02/12/2014, 01:22pm EST

Background check probe zeroes in on USIS contracts

Among the issues considered Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were contracting practices at the Office of Personnel Management that allowed the largest background-investigation contactor -- accused by the Justice Department of taking improper shortcuts and defrauding the government -- to conduct quality reviews of its own work.

Tuesday - 02/11/2014, 04:24pm EST

AFGE leader vows fight over pay, retirement benefits

After playing defense for much of last year the largest federal-employee union is ready to play offense. American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox gave a fiery speech at the union's annual legislative and grassroots mobilization conference in Washington. Also addressing the AFGE crowd were lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

Tuesday - 02/11/2014, 09:36am EST

AFGE sees ranks swell after turbulent year

After a turbulent 2013 that saw sequestration budget cuts and a two-week government shutdown, the largest federal-employee union is hoping to flex more political muscle this year. The American Federation of Government Employees says union membership is at its highest level in decades.

Friday - 02/07/2014, 03:36pm EST

Even as postal losses shrink, USPS continues call for agency overhaul

The U.S. Postal Service announced Friday its quarterly losses fell sharply in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, boosted by revenue growth in package delivery and agency cost-cutting. Still, the agency's $354 million loss for the quarter ending Dec. 31, marked the 19th of the last 21 quarters that USPS posted a loss.

Friday - 02/07/2014, 12:45pm EST

Postal reform bill heading to Senate floor

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee gave its stamp of approval Thursday to a sweeping overhaul of the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service. In a bipartisan 9-1 vote, the committee approved the 2014 Postal Reform Act and sent the measure to the Senate floor. The bill, which is the brainchild of Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), presents a laundry list of proposals to revamp the financially troubled Postal Service.

Thursday - 02/06/2014, 03:51pm EST

2014 Buyout and Early Retirement Guide

Track which agencies are offering early retirement incentives and buyout offers in 2014.

Wednesday - 02/05/2014, 03:12pm EST

Pace of federal retirements slows at start of 2014

The number of federal employees filing for retirement in January swelled to more than 17,000, according to new data from the Office of Personnel Management. But that's actually about 2,600 fewer than expected. In fact, this past month marked the first time in at least two years that the number of federal workers filing for retirement in January fell below 20,000 claims.

Wednesday - 02/05/2014, 11:18am EST

EPA plans early-outs targeted at higher grades

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued targeted early-retirement and buyout offers to hundreds of employees nationwide, according to an American Federation of Government Employees local. EPA officials are planning to offer early-outs at 19 different offices within the agency, spanning all 10 regions. Workers who sign up can receive up to $25,000 and will have to be off the rolls by early April.

Monday - 02/03/2014, 01:44pm EST

Rocky start to 2014 as TSP returns trend negative

Returns for nearly all of the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan trended downward in January following a rocky month on Wall Street. The largest declines came in the stock funds. The large-cap C Fund fell by 3.45 percent, the small-cap S Fund inched down 1.91 percent and the I Fund, made up of international stocks, plunged by more than 4 percent, according to new data from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

Monday - 02/03/2014, 10:32am EST

IRS chief: No furloughs this year

The head of the Internal Revenue Service said the agency isn't planning any employee furloughs this year, even though Congress decided not to restore funding to the agency that had been lost due to the across-the-board sequestration cuts. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said the budget crunch, though, would mean taxpayers will see a decline in services.

Friday - 01/31/2014, 05:00pm EST

DHS plan to protect critical infrastructure goes beyond cybersecurity

Last month the Homeland Security Department published its updated National Infrastructure Protection Plan, a governmentwide framework for securing critical infrastructure on a wide scale. The aim of the updated plan is to make all sectors of critical infrastructure more "resilient" -- better able to absorb and recover from natural disasters, terrorist attacks, cyber intrusions and other adverse conditions.

Friday - 01/31/2014, 02:26pm EST
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