Monthly Archives: October, 2013

IRS, CBP employees could get back pay tomorrow, leaders say

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Employees at the IRS and Customs and Border Protection should get at least some shutdown-related back pay at soon as tomorrow, senior leaders at the two agencies said today. “You will receive your back and regular pay a full four days earlier than Oct. 28, the day most people would receive pay,” Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in an email to employees. In a similar note, Assistant CBP Commissioner Eugene Schied said that employees there should see retroactive salary payments show up “as early as Thursday.” The two agencies, whose combined workforces total almost 150,000, are both paid through…

Many feds get shutdown-related back pay ahead of schedule

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Thousands of federal workers got a welcome arrival in their bank accounts today: An ahead-of-schedule deposit for back pay owed from the partial government shutdown. While the Obama administration had said that the money would show up in employees’ next paychecks after the shutdown ended last week, the Interior’s Department’s Business Center scheduled an “off-cycle” payment today for most Interior employees, along with many of those at NASA, the National Science Foundation and 39 other agencies who also get their paychecks through the center, spokesman Mike Fernandez said in an email. The payments came one week ahead of the next normal…

Are you a federal employee without health insurance?

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For all the talk of gold-plated federal pay and benefits, the American Federation of Government Employees estimates that some 250,000 feds don’t enroll in the Federal Employees Health  Benefits Program (FEHBP) because they can’t afford the premiums. If you fall in that category, Federal Times wants to get your view on whether the Affordable Care Act (widely known as “Obamacare”) will help provide coverage or not. To weigh in,  please call Staff Writer Sean Reilly at 703-750-8684 or email him at sreilly@federaltimes.com. Thanks very much!

Cobert's confirmation for OMB job applauded

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Beth Cobert’s arrival at the Office of Management and Budget is getting a particularly warm welcome from Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer. In a Twitter message this afternoon, VanRoekel hailed Cobert ‘s confirmation as OMB’s deputy director for management, noting that he can now go back to being “full-time US CIO!” Cobert, who comes from consulting firm McKinsey & Co., was sworn in today, five days after winning Senate confirmation. She replaces Jeff Zients, who stepped down at the end of April; on top of his day job, VanRoekel had been filling in as deputy management director since…

TSP Board website now accessible in mobile format

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Attention, Thrift Savings Plan participants: You can now check your online account information at tsp.gov more easily via smartphone. Although the site was previously available via phone, the mobile version is designed to work with Android and iOS operating systems to provide an “optimal viewing experience,” the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said in a news release today. (And there’s no need to download an app.) The board actually launched the mobile version Sept. 30, but held off from an announcement because of the partial government shutdown that began the next day, spokeswoman Kim Weaver said. The word is apparently…

Shutdown over: Federal employees should report to work Thursday morning. Back pay coming soon.

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The 16-day partial government shutdown is officially over as President Obama has signed a stop-gap spending bill, Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell said in a message released early Thursday morning. “This evening, the President signed a continuing resolution that reopens the federal government and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance to all departments and agencies to resume operations in a prompt and orderly manner,” Burwell said.  “In the days ahead, we will work closely with departments and agencies to make the transition back to full operating status as smooth as possible. This has been a particularly challenging time…

Shutdown Watch-Day 16: Could agencies reopen soon?

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Good morning! For federal employees, it might be hard to imagine an upside to a wild day on Capitol Hill that began with House Republicans singing “Amazing Grace” and ended with warnings from Fitch credit rating agency that it was looking closely at downgrading the United States’ creditworthiness. But yesterday’s chaos could also presage an end to the partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1. The reason is simple: Any deal to reopen agencies is tied to raising the nation’s debt ceiling and lawmakers could make real headway on the latter front today. After the House GOP leadership was unable…

GovLoop launches morale-builder for non-essential feds

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Let’s face it: Being designated a non-essential (non-excepted is the officially preferred, if seldom used phrasing) federal employee during a government shutdown can be a bummer, particularly since it means a no-pay furlough. To buck up feds’ spirits, the online networking site GovLoop has started a “You Are Essential” campaign that hands out free stickers and suggests that participants mobilize their Facebook pages in support. As of late Monday, almost 500 people had signed up, GovLoop founder Steve Ressler said in an email. You can find more information on the campaign here.

Shutdown Watch-Day 15. It's white-knuckle time.

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Good morning! Let’s start the day with a cheery observation often attributed to the 18th-century English writer Samuel Johnson: “Nothing concentrates a man’s mind more than the prospect of being hanged in the morning.” Figuratively speaking, the same seems to be true of Congress. The specter of impending economic calamity, combined with rising public disapproval, (particularly for Republicans), over the partial government shutdown, appears to have prodded senators to close in on yet another stop-gap budget deal that could have just as easily been reached a month ago. As reported by Defense News, a sister publication of Federal Times, Senate…

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