Monthly Archives: December, 2012

Head of National Nuclear Security Administration steps down

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The Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s administrator is stepping down, according to a Dec. 21 statement. Thomas D’Agostino has worked in the federal government for more than 36 years but said the time had come to step down – effective Jan. 18, 2013 – and make way for new leadership. The full statement is reprinted below: After more than 36 years of service — including the last five and a half years as the NNSA Administrator and Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, and two years as Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs — my wife Beth and I have decided…

Obama makes 3-month pay freeze extension official

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President Obama on Friday issued a memo officially freezing federal pay scales for the first three months of 2013. Obama’s freeze — which extends a pay scale freeze that has already stretched for two years — is no surprise. In August, he proposed freezing pay until Congress passes an actual budget and stops funding the government through a series of continuing resolutions, or CRs. One month later, Congress passed a six-month CR that freezes pay and partially funds the government until March 27. The pay freeze memo came a few hours after President Obama granted feds a day off on…

Postal legislation dead, but postal hunger strike continues

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The chances of postal legislation clearing Congress this year are now zero following the House of Representatives’ abrupt decision to quit town Thursday night. A band of five retired and current postal workers nonetheless is nonetheless persevering in a hunger strike as scheduled through Saturday. “We’re maintaining our guard,” Jamie Partridge, a retired city letter carrier from Portland, Oregon, said in a phone interview this morning. The group, encamped on the National Mall in downtown Washington, began the six-day fast at 9 a.m. Monday to protest efforts to end most Saturday mail delivery; they will keep going on until tomorrow…

Legislation tweaking Hatch Act goes to White House

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The Merit Systems Protection Board would be able to mete out a wider range of punishments for Hatch Act violators under a bill that won final congressional approval today and now goes to President Obama for his signature. Instead of firing violators–the only authorized penalty up to now unless the board unanimously opts for a different route–the MSPB  could issue formal reprimands; reduce violators’ pay grades; bar them from federal employment for up to five years; or fine them up to $1,000. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, sponsored the bill in the Senate; Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., handled it in the…

The Postal Service even delivers to … Indiana Jones?

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Say what you will about the troubled U.S. Postal Service: It’s still the best way to get a priceless notebook to an adventuring archaeologist and out of the hands of the Nazis. That’s what the University of Chicago discovered last week when it received a mysterious manila envelope with what appeared to be Egyptian stamps addressed to one Henry Walton Jones Jr. The only problem: there is no Henry Walton Jones Jr. on the faculty of U of Chicago. Staffers at Rosenwald Hall, where the package was delivered, shrugged and tossed it to a student to figure out where to…

STOCK Act study panel named

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The National Academy of Public Administration has announced the panel of five experts who will carry out a congressional required study on the possible effects of putting some federal employees’ personal financial disclosure statements on the Internet. The study is due at the end of March. The panel’s members are: David Chu, president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Defense Analyses; former Office of Personnel Management director Janice Lachance, who is now chief executive officer of the Special Libraries Association; Martha Kumar, a political science professor at Towson State University; Ronald Sanders, former chief human capital officer at…

Federal unions plan 'Day of Action' Tuesday to protest cuts

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A coalition of 20 federal unions is encouraging its members to pressure lawmakers Tuesday against cutting their jobs, pay and benefits as part of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. The Federal Workers Alliance — which includes unions such as the National Federation of Federal Employees, International Federation of Technical and Professional Engineers and Professional Aviation and Safety Specialists — wants its members to visit lawmakers in person, call their offices, e-mail them and spread the word via social media that when it comes to federal employee cuts, “Enough is enough.” “Federal workers have already seen $103 billion in…

Boehner pushes COLA cuts in fiscal cliff talks

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Multiple news organizations are reporting that House Speaker John Boehner included the so-called chained Consumer Price Index in his latest proposal to President Obama seeking to avert the fiscal cliff. This would put a big dent in the deficit — perhaps raising more than $290 billion over a decade — but it would hit federal and military retirees right in their pensions. Economists say the chained CPI is a more accurate method of determining inflation that is usually 0.25 to 0.30 percentage points lower than the current method. Adopting it for pensions, Social Security benefits and other indexed portions of…

Sign of the times: Printers, lithographers lose special pay rate

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It’s no secret that printing on dead trees is a dying art — hello, declining newspaper industry! — but today’s Federal Register contained another reminder at how much the industry has changed. Blue-collar federal printers and lithographers in the Washington area have officially lost their special wage scale. The Office of Personnel Management says the number of Washington-area printers and lithographers has plummeted in recent years — from 235 in 2004 to 24 this summer, spread across 10 agencies — and it no longer makes sense to offer them different wage rates. (Also, none of those 24 remaining printers or…

GSA awards commodity IT contracts for government agencies

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The General Services Administration has awarded contracts to 43 small businesses for tablet computers, mobile devices and other common information technology products and services, the agency announced Thursday. The blanket purchase agreements were awarded through GSA’s National Information Technology Commodity Program and are available to federal, state and local agencies. GSA’s Office of Integrated Technology Services launched the program last year in an effort to procure IT commodities and supplement services for government agencies. The contracts will provide agencies with deeper discounts than those offered on GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules, according to an agency new release. Other products offered on the…

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