Monthly Archives: August, 2009

Obama again calls for 2.0 percent pay raise

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President Barack Obama today sent a letter to Congress reiterating his call for a 2.0 percent pay raise for federal employees in January. Obama said that the ailing economy, increasing demands on the federal government and the ongoing terrorist threat are straining the federal budget. And since the federal government’s attrition continues to be relatively low, Obama said it will be tough to justify a larger pay raise. The letter is something of a formality. In the unlikely event that Congress forgets to pass a federal pay raise, last year’s increase in the Employment Cost Index (which was 2.9 percent) would automatically become the…

DOT funds small business recovery with recovery funds

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I recently reported that the Small Business Administration and the Commerce Department were planning to participate in more than 200 events boost small businesses contracting under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But it looks like those agencies aren’t the only ones working to ensure small businesses benefit from stimulus spending. The Transportation Department announced today that it has dedicated $20 million in Recovery Act funds to create a “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Bonding Assistance Program.” The program, which is run by the department’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization, allows small and disadvantaged businesses to apply for reimbursements for the…

Want to design a coin?

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If you have artistic ability, perhaps you can make your mark on U.S. currency. The U.S. Mint is searching for as many as six new designers to join its Artistic Infusion Program, whose members have designed several high-profile coins, such as the 2009 Lincoln bicentennial pennies. Applicants can apply online here, where they will need to submit five to 10 artistic works, a resume and a statement. They will be judged on several factors, including compositional skills, drawing ability and “the level to which the design demonstrates research of the subject matter,” states a U.S. Mint news release. AIP artists…

John Gage wins third term as AFGE president

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The American Federation of Government Employees yesterday re-elected John Gage to a third three-year term as national president. “There is much to do on behalf of federal workers,” Gage told delegates to AFGE’s national convention in Reno after he was sworn in Aug. 27. “Our focus is now on the midterm congressional elections and making sure the American people have the public services they deserve. We plan to help elect a Congress with men and women who are actually responsive to the needs of the American people, particularly the nation’s working families.” Delegates also re-elected J. David Cox as national…

Fed Times on the air: Interview with News Channel 8

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I paid a visit to the Washington-area cable program Federal News Tonight last evening to talk about the future of the National Security Personnel System. Take a look: I usually appear once a month on Federal News Tonight to discuss the latest in federal personnel matters, and from here on in, we’ll be posting my interviews the following morning. Keep checking back for more.

There is always Hope

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There are few things as enduring as a diamond. And the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History is one of the most famous. But even icons need a little sprucing up from time to time. To celebrate the golden anniversary of the museum’s acquisition of the 45.52 karat blue diamond, the jewelers at Harry Winston will give it a new setting meant to depict the concept of America hope, the Smithsonian announced last week. And the American public gets to decide which design the rock will rock. The resetting of the stone is part of…

USPS incentives, ctd.

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Thanks for the overwhelming response about the Postal Service’s buyout plan — can’t respond individually to every one, but I appreciate all of the letters and comments. I’ll be contacting a few of you individually for a story I’m working on, and I’ll post some of the better responses (w/o names) on here later today. For now, keep ‘em coming.

The more things change…

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This weekend I took a trip to Ellis Island, which is operated by the National Park Service, in New York City. While I expected to discover quite a bit about the conditions my ancestors endured when they passed through there in the early 1900s, I did not expect to discover a government contracting story that seems to prove the adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” According to an exhibit at the history of the immigration station, after the original complex of wooden buildings burned to the ground in 1897, the Treasury Department ran a competition…

USPS offers incentives; will you take them?

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Two questions for our readers at the Postal Service, following up on this afternoon’s announcement that USPS will offer buyouts to tens of thousands of employees. First, I’ve been getting e-mails for at least a year from postal workers who said they would consider retiring early if the Postal Service offered an incentive. That incentive is here now, in the form of a $15,000 payout over 12 months. Is it enough? Will you take it? Second, maybe you read this story I wrote in April after interviewing Postmaster General John Potter. It includes the following: The Postal Service’s last round…

NSPS chief Bunn to be HR director at DLA

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The Pentagon said today that Brad Bunn, the program executive officer for the beleaguered National Security Personnel System, will be moving to the Defense Logistics Agency to be its human resources director. The move was announced hours after the Defense Business Board issued a final report recommending the Pentagon “reconstruct” NSPS. Bunn’s move means that new blood will oversee the effort to break the mammoth, highly controversial pay-for-performance system down to its core elements and build it up again.

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