Monthly Archives: July, 2012

OMB: Sequestration discussions to begin soon

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The Office of Management and Budget can no longer ignore the signs that Congress probably isn’t going to get its act together and avert devastating sequestration cuts by the end of the year. Acting Director Jeff Zients today issued a memo to agency leaders that said OMB will start discussing how sequestration could be implemented over the next few months. In his memo, Zients repeatedly reminds Congress that the whole point of sequestration was that it was so bad and devastating that they had no choice but to agree on a way to reduce the deficit, and prods them to…

The Greatest Generation? Ponzi artists, congressman suggests

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SAN DIEGO | Politicians of all stripes pay homage to the Greatest Generation, as newsman Tom Brokaw dubbed the men and women who endured the Great Depression, helped win World War II, and went on create the most prosperous society the world had ever known. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., offered a less reverential footnote today, attributing the origins of today’s fiscal crisis to entitlement programs fostered by some of those same people. “The Greatest Generation created many of what the private sector would call Ponzi schemes,” Issa said at an Association of Government Accountants conference here.  “They created Social Security, they created Medicare on…

Rep. Issa: No stopping Postal Service default

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SAN DIEGO | Not that there was much doubt on this score, but Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., this morning confirmed  that Congress won’t act to head off a U.S. Postal Service default on a $5.5 billion payment into a retiree health care fund that is legally due Wednesday. The default “will occur,” said Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is the lead sponsor of a USPS overhaul bill. The payment was originally due last September, but Congress pushed back the deadline until Aug. 1. Issa’s comments came in an interview after he spoke at an Association of Government Accountants conference here.…

Government employing more people with disabilities

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The number of people with disabilities employed by the federal government increased 9 percent in fiscal 2011, according to a recent report from the Office of Personnel Management. The government employed 187,313 people with disabilities in fiscal 2010, and 204,189 in 2011, the July 25 report said. That means the percentage of the federal workforce with disabilities increased from 10.7 percent to 11 percent. “This is more people with disabilities in federal service both in real terms and by percentage than at any time in the past 20 years,” OPM Director John Berry said in the report’s foreword. “While we…

Do you feel safe outside your office?

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Agencies are looking to beef up their security at many of their facilities especially data centers. But how do you feel about the security outside your building? Are you comfortable walking to your car or to mass transit? Is the lighting sufficient? And above all, do you feel safe? Please let us know how you feel by commenting on the blog or by emailing amedici@federaltimes.com.

How far is too far when it comes to monitoring your government computer?

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Certain employee communications are protected by law. But does that mean everything else is fair game? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what is appropriate electronic monitoring and what you consider to be overreaching? Have you set personal restrictions for using your government computer in order to keep personal matters private and/or shielded from any sort of inadvertent or targeted monitoring? You can comment below or contact me directly. Thanks. njohnson@federaltimes.com 703-750-8145

Bain Capital investors included current White House budget chief

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Granted, it’s been a long time since Mitt Romney ran Bain Capital, the private equity firm that has taken a central role in the presidential election campaign. But considering the intensity of President Obama’s attacks on the presumptive Republican nominee’s record at Bain, it’s perhaps worth mentioning that a senior Obama administration appointee had money invested with the firm—at least until a few months ago. Last year, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeff Zients held roughly between $116,000 and $315,000 in what his annual financial disclosure report describes as “Bain Capital Fund VII.” OMB released the report, which requires…

Sherman Hemsley, prominent actor and former federal employee, dies at age 74

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Sherman Hemsley, best known for his role as George Jefferson in the hit comedy “The Jeffersons” passed away yesterday.  His breakout role on “All in the Family” led to an 11-season run of The Jeffersons and earned Hemsley an iconic place in television history. Before Hemsley’s television career he served in the Air Force for four years and worked at the Postal Service for about eight years while spending his nights attending acting school. Sherman Hemsley, known for his starring role on “The Jeffersons,” has died at age 74. Although the cause of Hemsley’s death is unclear, TMZ reports…

GAO: Pay study accuracy is in the eye of the beholder

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There’s been a slew of reports issued over the last three years comparing federal employees’ pay and benefits to private sector workers, and they’ve all come to some radically differing conclusions. Which one is right? Everyone, and no one, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office posted online Monday. GAO spent the last year digging into six reports on federal pay, and concluded that they “varied because they used different approaches, methods and data.” For example: The Congressional Budget Office, American Enterprise Institute, and Heritage Foundation all used a so-called “human capital approach” to compare federal and…

G-Fund and postal benefits fund made whole, GAO says

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It’s official: The Thrift Savings Plan’s G-Fund is back to full strength after losing almost $400 million courtesy of last year’s debt ceiling showdown. The confirmation comes from a Government Accountability Office review of the Treasury Department’s maneuvering to head off an unprecedented U.S. default after Congress initially deadlocked over raising the nation’s borrowing limit. The standoff was resolved (at least temporarily) last August with approval of the Budget Control Act, which traded a debt-ceiling increase for spending cuts. But in the months before the act’s passage, Treasury resorted to a number of “extraordinary actions” to buy time. One involved…

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