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3:23 am, April 20, 2014

Jack Moore Reports

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

Charities, lawmakers voice concerns over OPM's rewrite of CFC rules

New regulations published this week by the Office of Personnel Management aim to overhaul the Combined Federal Campaign, in part by eliminating cash donations in favor of online giving and requiring charities to pay fees to cover the administrative costs of the program. But some charity groups say OPM's regulations are too focused on wringing more efficiencies out of the annual fundraising drive instead of on re-energizing a workplace-giving program that has seen declining donations in recent years.

Thursday - 04/17/2014, 04:09pm EDT

OMB: Plan for implementing security-clearance fixes coming soon

In the coming months, the federal government will release a detailed plan for implementing more than a dozen recommendations to improve the security clearance process, said Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert. The government's recommendations, which were included in an interagency report published by OMB last month, call for "continuous evaluation" of clearance holders and strengthened oversight of the background-investigation process.

Wednesday - 04/16/2014, 10:45am EDT
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OPM to begin survey of feds later this month

The Office of Personnel Management is preparing to take the temperature of the federal workforce. The annual survey tracking federal workers' job satisfaction across an array of factors will be sent to employees later this month, according to a memo to agency heads from OPM Director Katherine Archuleta.

Monday - 04/14/2014, 05:36pm EDT

Pay gap shrinks between female and male feds

Female federal employees earn on average 87 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, according to a new review from the Office of Personnel Management. Still, the pay gap between men and women in the white-collar federal workforce has dropped significantly over the past 20 years. And across many individual occupations and grades, men and women now earn comparable levels of pay, according to OPM's new report. OPM's review found much of the continued pay disparity between male and female feds can be explained by their presence in different occupational categories.

Friday - 04/11/2014, 12:16pm EDT

McCaskill drafting new IG bill with focus on small agencies

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told a panel of agency IGs that she's currently drafting legislation that would pool together resources and establish an IG office specifically for the dozens of small agencies that fall outside the scope of the 1978 IG Act.

Thursday - 04/10/2014, 04:18pm EDT

OSC targets Hatch Act violations at IRS, improper hiring at CBP

A customer service representative at the IRS who repeatedly greeted taxpayers calling a help-line with a chant urging President Barack Obama's re-election in 2012 could now be facing significant disciplinary action, according to the Office of Special Counsel. It's one of three cases of improper political activity at the agency recently uncovered by OSC. Meanwhile, three career officials at Customs and Border Protection are under fire by OSC for allegedly manipulating the hiring process to install job candidates favored by political leadership into career appointments.

Wednesday - 04/09/2014, 03:45pm EDT

Issa embraces White House plan for postal reform

The Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is starting over on postal reform legislation and taking as its template a surprising source the White House's fiscal 2015 budget request. Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told members of the committee and the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget that he intends to "embrace to the greatest extent possible" the entire slate of legislative proposals for overhauling the Postal Service included in the President's budget request.

Tuesday - 04/08/2014, 03:32pm EDT

Retirement backlog shrinks for first time this year

Thanks to better than expected progress in processing federal retirement claims last month, the Office of Personnel Management's backlog of pending claims is shrinking for the first time this year. By the end of March, the number of backlogged claims shrank from more than 23,500 claims to about 18,500.

Monday - 04/07/2014, 12:02pm EDT

House to vote on bill making it easier to fire VA senior execs

The House will soon vote on a measure making it easier for the Veterans Affairs secretary to fire or demote senior career executives at the department, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said at a Capitol Hill briefing Thursday. The VA Management Accountability Act allows the VA secretary to remove or demote members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) based on their performance.

Thursday - 04/03/2014, 05:19pm EDT

Civil-service reform needs more than 'Band-Aid approach,' experts argue

A legislative attempt to reform the aging federal personnel system will face a difficult path in Congress even if it's able to muster the support of key stakeholders, including the White House and federal-employee unions. Experts discussed proposed reforms to the civil-service system outlined in a new report published Tuesday by the Partnership and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Wednesday - 04/02/2014, 05:13pm EDT

Report calls for broad overhaul of federal personnel, pay systems

A new report from the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton calls for essentially throwing out the 65-year-old General Schedule system, comprised of 15 separate grade levels, and replacing it with five broad work levels. The report also calls for changes to the way federal pay is calculated and recommends setting up a governmentwide pay-for-performance process.

Tuesday - 04/01/2014, 06:07pm EDT

TSP performance mixed in March

With gains on Wall Street hitting some headwinds in March, the performance of funds in the Thrift Savings Plan last month lagged behind February's advances. Three of the TSP's five regular funds ended the month in negative territory.

Tuesday - 04/01/2014, 01:34pm EDT

House budget seeks to up feds' retirement contributions

The budget blueprint unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Tuesday includes a handful of proposals affecting the federal workforce that Ryan and House Republicans have championed in the past. Among them, the recommendation that federal employees contribute more of their salary toward their pensions and a proposal to shrink the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition.

Tuesday - 04/01/2014, 12:54pm EDT

Former acting IRS chief says agency now on right track

The former acting chief of the Internal Revenue Service, who led the agency in the aftermath of the political-targeting scandal and who stepped down in December, says he believes the agency is on the right track. In an interview on on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp, Danny Werfel, who recently joined the Boston Consulting Group, cited strong leadership at the agency.

Monday - 03/31/2014, 03:26pm EDT
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Is low employee morale 'compromising' the federal government?

In the wake of across-the-board budget cuts, furloughs and slim -- or no -- annual pay raises, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says he's concerned about a nose-dive in federal-employee morale. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is now asking the Government Accountability Office to look into recent trends in feds' job satisfaction. The lawmakers are concerned declining satisfaction "may be compromising the federal government's ability to serve the American people."

Friday - 03/28/2014, 10:58am EDT

OPM wants to keep FEHBP premium increases 'in check'

Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta says she wants to keep premium increases for federal employees' health coverage "in check." In a keynote speech at the annual FEHB Program Carrier Conference in Arlington, Va., Thursday Archuleta also called on insurance carriers to make prescription drugs more affordable and urged more federal employees to sign up for wellness programs.

Thursday - 03/27/2014, 11:34am EDT

OPM's focus in hiring reform shifting from speed to quality

The Office of Personnel Management is making tweaks to how agencies report time-to-hire data. But experts who spoke to Federal News Radio say they don't think OPM is giving up on the idea of improving the federal hiring process. Instead, they say, it appears OPM may be shifting its focus to measuring the quality of new federal hires.

Wednesday - 03/26/2014, 04:54pm EDT

House Dems push for larger pay raise for feds

House Democrats are pushing for federal employees to get a pay raise next year that's more than three times larger than President Barack Obama proposed. A bill introduced Wednesday by Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) would provide federal employees with a 3.3 percent across-the-board pay raise in 2015.

Wednesday - 03/26/2014, 10:47am EDT

Issa threatens subpoena over real property data

Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the oversight committee, and John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Government Operations subcommittee, want OMB to provide data to the committee on excess federal properties valued at $50 million or more. The committee has been seeking this information for more than two years, "yet these requests have consistently gone unfulfilled," Issa and Mica wrote in a March 24 letter to OMB Director Sylvia Burwell.

Tuesday - 03/25/2014, 05:07pm EDT

GOP lawmakers seek updated 'official time' report

Two Republican members of the House want to know how many hours federal employees are spending on union-related business while on the job. Reps. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote to Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta urging the agency to release updated data on employees' use of "official time." The most recent year for which data is available is from 2011.

Tuesday - 03/25/2014, 02:37pm EDT
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