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Nearly all the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan finished December in positive territory, helping fuel largely across-the-board gains for the year, according to new data from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. The C and S Funds posted the largest gains of 2013. The F Fund, tracked to the performance of the U.S. bond market, including government, corporate and mortgage-backed bonds, is the only fund to end the year in the red.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has already set about implementing a plan to cut $1 billion from the Defense Department's budget by consolidating and reorganizing top Pentagon offices, but lawmakers want to hold his feet to the fire. The final version of the National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress Dec. 19 enshrines DoD's ambitious cost-cutting and streamlining plan into law.
Under federal "use it or lose it" rules, any unspent money employees set aside last year to pay for out-of-pocket health costs, such as prescriptions or co-pays, is forfeited at the end of the year. But a group of senators from states surrounding the Washington, D.C., area, wants to change that. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) along with Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) wrote to Katherine Archuleta, the head of the Office of Personnel Management, requesting the agency implement new regulations that would allow federal employees to roll over as much as $500 in unused funds from year to year.
The slight 1 percent increase ordered by President Barack Obama last month is smaller than union advocates had pushed for, but it's the first time since 2010 most civilian employees will see a bump in their basic rate of pay. Still, the modest pay raise only applies to white-collar employees under the General Schedule system. Some 200,000 blue-collar federal workers at places such as the Defense and Veterans Affairs Department and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, will not see a similar increase in pay.
Are you a federal employee who uses public transportation to get to work? Be prepared to shell out more for your commute. Because of congressional inaction, a tax subsidy for mass-transit commuters is set to drop nearly in half — from a maximum of $245 a month to $130.
Todd Grams, the chief of staff of the Internal Revenue Service, announced Friday he's retiring after 34 years of federal service, according to a note to staff obtained by Federal News Radio. Grams was named IRS chief of staff in June at the request of Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel in the wake of a leadership shakeup following revelations the agency had improperly targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
The gap in pay between federal employees and private-sector workers widened slightly this year, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the Federal Salary Council. On average, federal employees earn 35.37 percent less than their private-sector counterpart, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management and the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Federal employees could soon be seeing a lot less of the G Fund in their Thrift Savings plan accounts. Instead of being automatically enrolled solely in government securities, new plan participants would be shifted to an age-appropriate Lifecycle, or L, Fund as their default investing option under a proposal approved by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Monday. The proposal ultimately requires action by Congress.
For the first time since the government shutdown ended two weeks ago, House and Senate lawmakers are sitting down at the table to negotiate about the fiscal 2014 budget. At the top of the agenda will be what to do about the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration that have ensnared what remained of the traditional budget process this year. However, budget experts and insiders say sequestration is likely to stick around -- at least in some form -- and about the best agencies can hope for is a small-bore deal that grants them some greater flexibility in implementing the cuts, these experts said.
Lawmakers in districts with large constituencies of federal employees are signaling their support for the bipartisan budget deal announced Tuesday even though it would require new federal workers to contribute a greater share of their paychecks to their retirement benefits. The alternatives -- another government shutdown or a second year of the steep across-the-board sequestration cuts -- would have been worse, they argue.