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Search Tags: NTEU
For far too long federal agencies have looked to the training budget as one of the first places to cut (after travel) when budgets are tight. Training cuts are among the most shortsighted of the budget-cutting options, says former Homeland Security CHCO Jeff Neal.
The White House's fiscal 2015 budget proposal released Tuesday aims to boost funding for federal-employee training, which has been hard hit by across-the-board sequestration cuts in recent years. The budget also proposes a 1 percent pay increase for federal employees and leaves untouched federal retirement programs.
OPM Director Katherine Archuleta didn't have details on the proposals, but she said agencies need to learn from each other and build on their successes.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government that budget and staffing reductions are impacting the agency's core missions of customer service and tax collection. The agency projects it will only be able to answer 61 percent of phone calls this year, meaning some 20 million phone calls will go unanswered. Meanwhile, taxpayers attempting to reach IRS offices are facing wait times that stretch past 20 minutes.
The Senate subcommittee with oversight of the federal workforce will take up the issue of federal-employee compensation and sinking employee morale. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the subcommittee chairman, said at the National Treasury Employees Union's annual legislative conference that the hearing would focus, in part, on making sure federal pay stays competitive with the private sector.
The Internal Revenue Service and the National Treasury Employees Union reached an agreement that will see the IRS pay frontline employees performance awards starting in the spring. Acting IRS chief Danny Werfel canceled payouts of the awards last July, even though the union said the agency was obligated to pay them.
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.
In an annual report to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate, Nina Olson, wrote that the IRS faces "unstable and chronic underfunding that puts at risk the IRS's ability to meet its current responsibilities, much less articulate and achieve the necessary transformation to an effective, modern tax agency."
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.
Despite progress in confirming a new secretary and deputy secretary, DHS still features a large number of officials in acting roles. Former Secretary Tom Ridge told lawmakers the department cannot build nor sustain a mission-focused culture with so many non-permanent positions. NTEU says pay freezes, budget cuts and the government shutdown are more to blame for low morale across DHS and the entire government.
Tags: management , workforce , DHS , Mike McCaul , House Homeland Security Committee , David Maurer , GAO , Tom Ridge , Max Stier , leadership , morale , Colleen Kelley , Bennie Thompson , Jason Miller