Monthly Archives: November, 2010

Presidential Council wants government-wide action on energy, also maybe a pony

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The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has released a report today calling on the federal government to take far-ranging action to spur energy innovation and create fundamental change in the way American’s consume energy. Also, perhaps a pony and a giant trampoline. The report looks at ways to change the nation’s energy system within 10 to 20 years, and said that it would take action at all levels of society to move away from a traditional dependence on fossil fuels and encourage renewable alternatives and energy efficiency. Co-Chairs John P. Holdren and Eric Lander Unleashing this innovation…

Has NASA found aliens?

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As if the pay freeze news wasn’t enough excitement for one week, now NASA has scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon to discuss something “that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.” There’s only one thing this could mean: NASA has aliens. Now let’s just hope they’re the friendly, ET-kind of visitors, and not the warlike Klingon types. Seriously, though, probably not. The press conference is to discuss astrobiology (the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe), and its participants are experts in molecular evolution and evolutionary ecology. And if Hollywood…

AFGE's Gage fears federal pensions are next

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John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, is worried that the proposed two-year federal pay freeze is just the beginning of the bad news for federal employees. In a video AFGE just posted, Gage said he will meet with the administration later this week, and “I’m expecting the other shoe to drop with something about our pensions coming up.” Gage also uses the video to attack everything about the pay freeze, from the figures used to derive the expected savings, to Obama’s negotiating strategy, the assumption that federal employees should bear some of the recession’s burden,…

Senate panel approves Dodaro nomination

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Gene Dodaro’s nomination to become the next U.S. comptroller general got a green flag Tuesday from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which approved it on a unanimous voice vote. The comptroller general runs the Government Accountability Office, the watchdog arm of Congress.  Dodaro, a 37-year GAO veteran, has held the job on an acting basis since March 2008; President Obama nominated him for a full 15-year term in September. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said recently that that he hopes to win final Senate confirmation for Dodaro’s nomination before lawmakers end their lame-duck session. “We…

Federal pay freeze: What do you think?

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There’s a lot of strong emotions on display in the comments section of our main article on Obama’s proposed 2-year pay freeze. Sound off there, or in our Federal Times forum here. What do you think — is this a slap at federal workers that will kill productivity and hamstring recruitment and retention efforts? Or is this a tough pill that feds are going to have to swallow to help the nation get through an unprecedented fiscal crisis? Or if you’d like to talk to me in more detail, send me an e-mail at slosey@federaltimes.com. We want to hear from…

New report shows challenges to White House IT reforms

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On Nov. 19, the Obama administration proclaimed a new path for government information technology procurement. But an overview of one agency’s travails suggests that a steep climb lies ahead. The agency is the Housing and Urban Development Department; the newly released Government Accountability Office review finds that HUD officials had a hard time just coming up with a congressionally mandated plan to lay out its IT buying strategy. That document is required by a spending bill approved last December. Under its terms, HUD can’t obligate more than 25 percent of available money for IT modernization until the House and Senate…

Federal pay freeze roundup: "It's Okay, Freeze My Pay"

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We’re back! The overwhelming interest in the breaking pay freeze news was a little more than our servers could handle, but all is well now. There’s been an awful lot of reaction to Obama’s announcement in the last few hours, so here goes: AFGE President John Gage reiterated his anger and disappointment in Obama’s decision during a conference call with reporters this afternoon. But while NTEU earlier today pledged to try to fight the freeze in Congress, Gage was less optimistic. “The chances are slim” that the freeze could be overturned, Gage said. But the pay freeze isn’t absolute. Office…

Details on the federal pay freeze — military not included, but Defense civilians are

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OMB Deputy Director Jeff Zients just laid out some details on the two-year pay freeze for federal employees in a conference call with reporters: It’s expected to save $2 billion for the rest of FY 2011, and another $3 billion for FY 2012 alone. The White House expects it will save $28 billion over the next five years, and more than $60 billion over the next 10 years. It will apply to all civilian federal employees, including Defense Department civilian employees and anyone under alternative pay plans. That means wage grade, SES, the few remnants still under NSPS, and others…

Watch Obama's pay freeze announcement here

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Federal Times will be streaming the video of President Obama’s announcement on the two-year pay freeze for federal employees at 11:35 a.m. We’ve embedded the video below, and also at this link. In the meantime, we’d like to hear what you think. Are you angry that you won’t be getting a pay raise for two years? Or do you think it’s a necessary sacrifice given the dire financial state the nation is in? [HTML1]

BREAKING NEWS: Obama to freeze federal employee pay for 2 years

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UPDATE: It’s a 2 year freeze. UPDATE: It is a federal pay freeze. The White House’s website said it will stream Obama’s statement “on the federal employee pay freeze” at 11:35. More to come. ORIGINAL POST: Something major is brewing. The White House announced this morning that President Obama will make a statement to the press at 11:35 a.m. this morning. The White House also announced that OMB Deputy Director Jeff Zients and White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer will hold an embargoed conference call “to discuss federal employee issues” in advance of the president’s announcement. There are rumors floating…

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