Monthly Archives: November, 2012

Number of empty chairs on Postal Service board increasing

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As the U.S. Postal Service’s problems grow, its governing board is shrinking. The board, which is supposed to have 11 members, currently has eight and will lose another next week when Chairman Thurgood Marshall Jr. steps down, leaving it with just one more body than the six needed for a quorum to conduct business. As of today, however, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hasn’t scheduled  confirmation votes on three board nominations that have been awaiting action since summer. In an email, committee spokeswoman Leslie Phillips said she did not know the reason for the delay. Although there have…

Federal employee morale has fallen, but what does that mean?

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The latest Employee Viewpoint Survey by OPM – the largest ever conducted – showed employee satisfaction falling across agencies in a number of areas. For example: Satisfaction with pay fell 3.7 percentage points to 58.8 percent of responses, down from 62.5 percent in the 2011 survey. Since 2010, satisfaction with pay has declined seven percentage points from 65.8 percent. The only area where employees were happier was in telework, which seems to be a winner when it is implemented fairly and widely at agencies. Now the problems with morale are probably not that hard to determine, with a continuing pay…

Postal Service gets anemic response to EAS early retirement offer

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The U.S. Postal Service may have its problems, but they evidently aren’t severe enough to persuade many supervisors and administrators to jump at an early retirement offer. Out of 3,594 Executive and Administrative Schedule employees eligible for the package, just 186 signed up by the Nov. 19 deadline, according to Postal Service figures provided today. The package—standard for the federal government–allows employees to retire early if they are at least 50 years old with a minimum of 20 years’ service, or any age with at least 25 years’ service. Unlike recent early retirement offers to postmasters, mail handlers and clerks,…

OPM announces new dismissal option for inclement weather

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Its getting colder in the D.C. area, which can mean only one thing – an update from the Office of Personnel Management on their early dismissal and closure policies. Instead of the phrase “Federal Offices are Closed to the Public” on the OPM website and in emails sent to feds, employees will instead see “Federal Offices are Closed — Emergency and Telework-Ready Employees Must Follow Their Agency’s Policies.” OPM director John Berry said the new wording should encourage employees to consult with their agencies about telework policies and to plan ahead for inclement weather. OPM is also implementing a new…

GSA dashboard consolidates contract spending data

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The General Services Administration has launched an online dashboard to provide agencies and industry with greater access to its contract spending data for planning and budgeting purposes. The Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) Dashboards  aggregate  non-classified data on federal information technology spending from 2004 to present through GSA’s five GWACs: 8(a) STARS, 8(a) STARS II, Alliant, Alliant Small Business and VETS contracts, GSA announced on Tuesday. “This tool is especially valuable to small businesses as it provides access to business intelligence they can use to assess market opportunity, decide how best to allocate resources, and identify potential teaming partners for future projects,” GSA Federal…

Senate rejects cybersecurity legislation

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The Senate on Wednesday failed to pass cybersecurity legislation that would set voluntary security standards for owners of critical infrastructure, such as dams, energy and water systems. Senators voted 51-47 in favor of the bill, S 3414, but fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward with final passage. “Cybersecurity is dead for this Congress,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said following the vote. “What an unfortunate thing.” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a co-sponsor of the Cybersecurity Act, expressed similar disappointment. “In all my years on the Homeland Security Committee, I cannot think of another issue where…

Technology could cut federal deficit by billions, report says

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As Congress and the administration grapple with how best to cut the federal deficit, a group of industry and government leaders are suggesting that information technology be used to reduce that number by billions of dollars. The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council’s (ACT-IAC) Institute for Innovation on Tuesday released recommendations for the Obama administration to cut the deficit by $220 billion annually through increased use of data analytics and industry best practices. ACT-IAC  is public-private partnership focused on helping government use technology to serve the public. More than 100 volunteers from government and industry provided input for ACT-IAC’s first Quadrennial…

Updated: VA to move 600,000 email accounts to Microsoft cloud

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The Veterans Affairs Department has awarded HP Enterprise Services a $36 million contract to move 600,000 email accounts to the cloud. Under the five-year contract, VA users will have access to email and shared calendars using Microsoft Office 365 for Government. Users, however, will not have access to additional features such as instant messaging and web and video conferencing. “VA is moving to cloud-based email and collaboration as part of a broader effort to leverage emerging technologies to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and, most importantly, improve service delivery to our nation’s veterans,” Charles De Sanno, executive director for enterprise systems engineering at the VA,…

2012 Greater Washington GovCon awards announced

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Elliott Branch, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and procurement, has been named Public Sector Partner of the Year as part of the 10th Annual Greater Washington Government Contractor Awards, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Professional Services Council and Washington Technology announced Friday. The award honors “the leadership, innovation and commitment to excellence of the individuals and businesses in the region’s government contracting sector,” the group said in a news release. The awardees helped government contracting and acquisition officials execute a myriad of missions at home and abroad, PSC President Stan Soloway said during a gala honoring award recipients Thursday night. “These partnerships…