Monthly Archives: March, 2013

The best of "Silver Screen Feds" from movies and television


Hello everyone, My name is Andy and if you haven’t guessed it yet, I am one of the reporters here at the Federal Times. For the last few weeks we have had a new feature on our blog, “Silver Screen Feds,” where we look at famous federal employees in cinema and television. This week my partner-in-crime and colleague Steve Losey is spending time with his family, so instead of doing all the work myself, you guys get a clip-show version of everything we have done so far. Below are each of our entries in the ongoing series, so feel free…

AP: Defense Department reducing civilian furlough days to 14


Some big breaking news, courtesy of the Associated Press: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has decided to cut the number of furlough days for hundreds of thousands of Defense Department civilian employees from 22 to 14 by the end of the fiscal year in September. According to unnamed officials cited by the AP, Hagel made the decision today. But a DoD spokesman had no immediate confirmation this evening, telling FedLine that the number of furlough days remains at 22 as officials analyze the effect of newly passed spending legislation. “The legislation could have some impact on the overall number of furlough days,…

SILVER SCREEN FEDS: 'Apollo 13,' 'The Simpsons Movie'


Today on Silver Screen Feds, Andy Medici takes a look at the best team of federal employees ever to grace the big screen: Mission control from “Apollo 13.” And keep reading for Stephen Losey’s take on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Russ Cargill, from “The Simpsons Movie” — the first character we’ve profiled who descends into outright super-villainy. BEST FEDS: Mission Control, NASA, “Apollo 13″ (Andy Medici) Most of the time, being a good federal employee requires working well as a team. Being able to finish projects on tight deadlines while dealing with multiple other priorities is a staple of any…

Do you like your boss? Does your boss like his boss? We want to hear from you


Federal Times would like to find out how you feel about your managers — from your frontline boss to your agency’s head in Washington. With the sequester hitting, budgets getting slashed, and morale plummeting, are your bosses helping you make the best of a bad situation? Or are they only making things worse? Sound off below, or e-mail If you’d like to remain anonymous, that’s fine.

OPM hopes to add six new insurers to FEHBP


The Office of Personnel Management is now negotiating with six health care insurance carriers to add them to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, director of health care and insurance John O’Brien said Thursday. In his keynote speech to the FEHB Carrier Conference, O’Brien said OPM added four new insurance providers last year. O’Brien also touted OPM’s success at keeping premium increases below 4 percent for the last two years. But he also noted that even small premium increases bite at a time when  federal pay scales are frozen. “Our low premium growth translates to roughly an additional $400 that…

OPM's Berry: 'We are close to the edge of the cliff'


As we reported yesterday, the members of the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations sounded a red alert Wednesday on the state of the federal government’s recruiting and retention efforts. With the ongoing pay freeze, furloughs, sequester budget cuts and threats to cut benefits, union leaders and administration officials alike fear the federal workforce could crack under the pressure. Longtime feds with decades of experience could throw in the towel and retire, they fear, and talented young up-and-comers could conclude that the federal government isn’t a good place to work and take their skills elsewhere. Office of Personnel Management Director…

Fewer furlough days could be needed if spending bill passes, DoD official says


About halfway through this American Forces Press Service story today, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall tosses out an observation likely to catch the attention of Defense Department civilian employees. Although furloughs will still take place even if a fiscal 2013 spending bill now in Congress wins approval, fewer furlough days could be needed,  the story paraphrases Kendall as saying at a conference. Currently, DoD plans to furlough most of its approximately 800,000 workers for 22 days between April 25 and the rest of the fiscal year as the result of the sequester-related spending cuts that began this month. But as…

Yet another sequester-related headache for agencies


One of the great unknowns of sequestration is how many hours of federal agency staff time have been consumed by drafting, discussing and implementing the steps needed to handle the across-the-board spending cuts. And it’s not over yet. Under an April 1 deadline stemming from the continuing resolution approved last fall, more than three dozen agencies are supposed to give Congress updated operating plans that reflect the impact of the reductions for fiscal 2013. Inconveniently, however, lawmakers are still tinkering with a final version of  the FY13 budget, meaning that some agencies—the Defense Department in particular—may have to rewrite those…

GSA reviewing impact of security flaw in its vendor system


The General Services Administration has launched a full review of its key online procurement system, after discovering a security vulnerability that may have exposed users’ sensitive data. The security flaw was reported to GSA on March 8, and the agency has since issued a software patch on the system and is investigating potential impacts to vendors registered in GSA’s System for Award Management (SAM). “When we got the word that this might be the case, we got right on it,” GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini told reporters Tuesday following a congressional hearing. “And there is nothing that we won’t do,…

1 2 3