Monthly Archives: August, 2009

Postal supervisors: Obama swipe "a kick to the chest"

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The National Association of Postal Supervisors has fired back at President Barack Obama for dragging the U.S. Postal Service further into the health care debate. In an Aug. 14 letter, NAPS President Ted Keating accused Obama of using the Postal Service as a “scapegoat” and unfairly painting it as “an example of inefficiency” during a health care town hall meeting last week. Obama told a crowd in Portsmouth, N.H., Aug. 11 that private health care insurance providers should be able to compete with a government-run public option because “UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. … It’s the Post Office…

GSA merges Chief Acquisition and Governmentwide Policy Offices

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The General Services Administration is consolidating its Office of Governmentwide Policy and Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer, the agency will announce later today. The move comes one day after the agency appointed Michael Robertson to lead both offices. Since the two offices share a common mission of developing procurement policies, merging them will better coordinate these efforts, improving the agency’s ability to manage taxpayer dollars, GSA said in a statement to Federal Times.

Postal Service: Whipping boy of the health care debate

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As the debate over health care reform boils over, both sides are now using the U.S. Postal Service to score points. House Minority Leader John Boehner, June 11: If you like going to the DMV and think they do a great job, or you like going to the post office and think it’s the most efficient thing you’ve run into, then you’ll love the government-run health care system. And President Barack Obama at this afternoon’s health care town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., as reported by the Associated Press: [Obama] also disputed the notion that adding a government-run insurance plan into a menu…

Look who's turning 65

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One of the Forest Service’s most recognizable faces turns 65 on Sunday. Just don’t go lighting any birthday candles for him. Smokey Bear has been preaching the dangers of forest fires since Aug. 9, 1944. His trademark catchphrase, “Only you can prevent wildfires,” is one of the longest running public service announcement campaigns in U.S. history. His enduring message certainly has played a major role in helping reduce forest fires. Since 1944, the number of acres lost annually to forest fires has dropped from about 22 million to 6.5 million, the Forest Service says.  However, there’s still plenty of work for Smokey Bear…

Senate approves VA advance appropriations

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Before departing for its August recess, the Senate approved advance appropriations for the Veterans Affairs’ health programs Thursday, clearing the way for advanced funding of VA hospitals. Advocates said advance appropriations would ensure consistent, quality health care for veterans in case in case Congress does not pass the annual VA appropriation bill by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. VA is currently funded yearly, which has has resulted in late funding for VA programs in 19 of the past 22 years. The House-passed 2010 spending bill for VA and military construction includes fiscal 2011 health care funding, and…

Senate approves dozens of nominees

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Just before leaving for its August recess Friday, the Senate cleared more than six dozen of President Barack Obama’s nominees, including multiple assistant secretaries and ambassadors. But most notable may be the lack of several confirmation votes of particular interest to federal employees. The nomination of Cass Sunstein to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has been held up for months over concerns over ideas in his academic writings. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed cloture on Sunstein’s nomination, setting up a final vote on confirmation when the Senate returns Sept. 8. The Senate also took no action…

Firing poor performers: Federal Times wants to hear from you

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Everybody’s heard the urban legend that it’s impossible to fire a government worker, but Federal Times wants to take a closer look at the federal firing process and find out what’s really going on. And to do that, we’d like to hear from you. Are you a manager who has found it impossible to get rid of the one bad apple in your office who can’t — or won’t — improve? Or has your agency backed you up when you needed to terminate someone for disciplinary reasons or poor performance? On the other hand, are you an employee who lost your…

Relief for USPS, heartburn for unions

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There’s an interesting discrepancy between the House and Senate bills that would provide the Postal Service with short-term relief from some of its retiree health care obligations (background here if you’re not familiar with the issue). On the House side is HR 22, one of the simplest pieces of legislation I’ve ever read. It gives the Postal Service three years of relief from its current retiree health benefit obligations — period. On the Senate side, there’s S 1507. It calls for a similar change in the Postal Service’s health care payment schedule. But it also includes an amendment that changes…