Monthly Archives: August, 2012

Friday Fun: #eastwooding at the RNC


Last night, Clint Eastwood was The Man With No Speech. The legendary actor and former mayor of Carmel, Calif., took the stage at the Republican National Convention shortly after 10 p.m. EST to warm the crowd up for Mitt Romney. What followed was a seemingly improvised, 12-minute address to an empty chair he pretended had an invisible Barack Obama. Apparently prompted by an enthusiastic crowd member, Eastwood finished his freewheeling speech by leading the crowd in his classic Dirty Harry line: “Go ahead, make my day.” (Which was the obvious Eastwood quote, of course. But I have to confess: I…

Yet another pay freeze: what do you think?


President Obama’s decision to extend the pay freeze — at least until Congress passes a 2013 budget — has been condemned by labor leaders. Federal Times would like to find out what you think about the prospect of an even longer pay freeze. How will it affect you? Will it make you more likely to retire? What do you think is driving Obama’s decision? Write me at if you’d like to talk. If you’d prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine.

Top federal market research firm acquired by private equity


Deltek Inc.,  a leading market research and business management company, announced today that it has been bought by private equity firm Thoma Bravo for roughly $1.1 billion. Deltek, which is now publicly traded, will be privately held under the deal. Deltek’s stockholders will receive $13 in cash for each share when the transaction closes, the company said in a news release. Deltek’s board of directors and its  largest shareholder, New Mountain Capital, approved the acquisition. Deltek, which earned $341 million last year and has more than 1,600 employees, provides services to 98 of the top 100 federal contractors.  The company’s revenues increased more than 20 percent between 2010…

Postal Service again gets more time for reply to Northrop lawsuit


“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine,” a proverb goes. By that standard, it should come as no surprise that the U.S. Postal Service now has until Oct. 9 to respond to allegations in a $180 million lawsuit filed by contractor Northrop Grumman over the handling of a major automation project. The suit was filed in early May, with the Postal Service’s response originally due two months later. But Federal Court Claims Judge George Miller later pushed back the deadline until Sept. 3 and—in a ruling this month—delayed it again to Oct. 9 following a motion from…

Watch VA's 'Beat It' video from controversial conferences


The Veterans Affairs Department today delivered to Congress dozens of DVDs documenting its controversial 2011 human resources conferences (now being investigated by the agency’s Office of Inspector General for possible wasteful spending). The vast majority of them are typical HR conference fare: addresses by Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry and VA Chief Human Capital Officer John Sepulveda, and discussions about recruitment challenges, labor-management relations and disability programs. (Which supports the IG’s conclusion that the conference was held for legitimate reasons, despite its concerns about hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged wasteful spending on promotional items and scouting…

Post office cutbacks receive OK from Postal Regulatory Commission


The U.S. Postal Service’s forthcoming cutbacks at thousands of post offices have gotten a qualified thumbs up from an independent overseer. In an advisory opinion released today, the five-member Postal Regulatory Commission said that the Post Office Structure Plan, or POStPlan, makes sense from a public policy perspective, but added a few recommendations, such as giving local customers a clear choice between keeping an individual post office open with reduced hours or closing it altogether and providing replacement delivery service. Under the plan, announced in May, the Postal Service intends to reduce customer service “window” hours to as little as two hours a day…

1 defense contractor exec = hundreds of workers, analysis shows


The average compensation package of the chief executive officer for one of the top five Pentagon contractors is roughly $21.5 million, according to an analysis by the Project on Government Oversight. Ben Freeman, an investigator for the government watchdog group, looked at the compensation packages of CEOs at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, and Raytheon reported in the firms’ Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The Defense Department — and therefore, taxpayers — pay for part of contractors’ executive compensation, which is billed as part of the indirect overhead rates on contracts. Some lawmakers are pushing measures to reduce how much contractors can receive for executive…

$52K on a conference video? It's a trap!


The $52,000 “Patton” parody video commissioned by the Veterans Affairs Department and released this morning is — let’s be honest — kind of a snooze. The actor sorta sounds like George C. Scott’s Gen. Patton towards the end — I’ll give him that — but doesn’t look like him at all, it’s too long, and what few jokes there are are pretty lame. (And I’m not really sure how one actor, his costume, a big flag, and a smattering of B-roll and interviews with VA employees requires a budget of $52,000.) It doesn’t have the catchy tune or wit of…

GSA uses employee input to save $5.5 million


In the wake of a $823,000 2010 conference in Las Vegas that toppled agency leadership, GSA has been engaged in a top-to-bottom internal review. Part of that review was focused on identifying other wasteful programs and policies and eliminating them. GSA implemented “The Great Ideas Hunt” to solicit ideas from its own employees and gather feedback on the value of everything from surveys to magazine subscriptions. GSA said the program has received 623 ideas, most of which the agency is still reviewing. “When we began our Top-to-Bottom review of the entire agency, we wanted to look for ways to engage…

Few CIOs involved in agency succession planning


Most federal information technology executives are not involved in their department’s succession planning activities, according to a new workforce study. The 25 IT executives included in the ACT-IAC (American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council) study said their agency’s succession planning program and human capital resource management strategy were either partially developed or poorly developed or non-existent. Seventy percent said they were not included in succession planning discussions. None of the 16 human capital executives surveyed had metrics that measured whether their agency’s succession, skills and management needs were being met.  “The human capital practitioners felt as though they are…

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