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Jack Moore is a web editor and general assignment reporter for Federal News Radio.
The Obama administration's proposed fiscal 2014 budget called for consolidating or eliminating 116 of the government's 226 STEM initiatives and centralizing the coordination of STEM programs under just three agencies: the Education Department, the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. The administration's STEM proposal is one of the government's first visible steps in reversing some of the duplication that riddles the federal landscape and which some lawmakers have seized on as examples of government waste.
President Barack Obama has appointed senior White House budget officer Daniel Werfel to be acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, a White House official says.
The Obama administration has set its sights on more than a dozen national priorities, such as cybersecurity and energy efficiency, that cut across federal agency missions. But the government lacks a dedicated team of senior executives willing to break out of the agency mold to implement those goals, according to a new report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government. The author of the report, Bruce Barkley, told Federal News Radio his proposals for redesigning the Senior Executive Service.
In a May 10 memo sent to the heads of departments and agencies, President Barack Obama tasked the Office of Personnel Management with studying how agency practices contribute to pay inequalities between men and women and with formulating a governmentwide strategy to tackle the gender pay gap.
The Office of Personnel Management has made steady progress chipping away at a longstanding backlog of retirement claims. But Oversight Committee lawmakers and other government watchdogs remain concerned that the absence of a long-term plan to overhaul the mostly paper-based process combined with across-the-board budget cuts and a lack of strong leadership within OPM could stall or derail the progress the agency has made.
The top lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee have called on the Defense Department to detail how it will cut billions more from its budget if sequestration continues into next year. In a letter dated May 2, Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the committee, asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to provide a "package of reductions" to the department's proposed 2014 budget.
Some furloughed federal employees could offset their forced time off with annual leave -- but only under certain circumstances, according to updated guidance from the Office of Personnel Management. If an agency cancels the need for planned furlough days after an employee has already taken those days off, he or she is permitted to substitute annual leave to offset the furlough.
Furloughs at the Agriculture Department are looking increasingly unlikely following Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's request to shift funding and the department's ongoing efforts to find alternative cost savings. A USDA spokeswoman confirmed last week that the department wouldn't have to furlough employees in either the Farm Service Agency or the department's Rural Development division.
The number of federal employees filing retirement claims in April dipped below expectations following months of unexpectedly high numbers, according to new data from the Office of Personnel Management. OPM received 7,059 claims last month, about 1,000 fewer than expected.
Governmentwide scores tracking how agencies foster and reward employee innovation dropped in 2012 for the second year in a row, according to a new report from the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte. NASA took the honors for the most innovative large agency, while the Surface Transportation Board was the most innovative small agency.
The Office of Personnel Management says sequestration cuts have forced the agency to suspend overtime hours for employees working in its Retirement Services office and to curtail call-center hours.
Two senators from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee want to change Senate rules in an attempt to make sure new federal programs or initiatives in proposed legislation don't overlap with existing efforts. Earlier this month, two House members introduced a measure that would require House committees of jurisdiction to hold oversight hearings on an annual report from the Government Accountability Office detailing government duplication.
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley will step down in June after nearly five years on the job, the Air Force announced Friday. Donley's last day with the service will be June 21.
President Barack Obama announced he will nominate Federal Trade Commission official Howard Shelanski to serve as the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
A major restructuring at the Department of Housing and Urban Development will close or consolidate dozens of the agency's field offices nationwide and affect 10 percent of its 9,000-member workforce. HUD officials said the current organizational model is not sustainable given the constrained budget the agency faces.
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board says offering federal employees an extra loan option through their Thrift Savings Plans to cushion the impact of furloughs would require too much effort to implement and may not help the employees all that much. Several federal-employee unions have lobbied the board to add a second general purpose loan option to help cushion the blow of furloughs. But at a Employee Thrift Advisory Council meeting April 22, the board quashed the idea, citing the complexity surrounding the changes.
A trio of lawmakers from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee want the Government Accountability Office to examine whether the General Schedule system for federal employees needs an update. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), said the watchdog agency's review would aid the lawmakers in evaluating "the appropriateness of the General Schedule (GS) as a pay scale for today's workforce."
If Congress doesn't pass comprehensive postal reform legislation soon, it could find itself forced to bail out the financially troubled U.S. Postal Service to the tune of billions of dollars, said Postmaster General Pat Donahoe. The postmaster general said in a speech at the National Press Club he's optimistic Congress will pass postal reform legislation this year.
Postmaster General Pat Donahoe told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday that the Postal Service is operating under a "broken business model." But cost-saving efforts, such as ending Saturday delivery and modifying a multibillion dollar requirement to prefund future retirees health care costs, garnered little agreement among lawmakers.
President Barack Obama's proposal to change the way retirees' cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are calculated has drawn the ire of federal-employee groups and unions. The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) has released a calculator designed to show retirees and policymakers how benefits would be reduced if the chained CPI were implemented.