Author Sean Reilly

Do you work with or know a federal employee who has made a particularly noteworthy contribution to the public good? Then ’tis the season to put in a nomination for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) at servicetoamericamedals.org. The deadline is Jan. 17. The medals, given out by the Partnership for Public Service, span eight categories, including career achievement; science and environment; and homeland security and law enforcement. Three main criteria will be used in choosing the winners: On-the-job innovation; commitment to public service and impact of their work on meeting the needs of the nation, the…

Attention, Washington, D.C.-area feds: With the scene outside looking a lot more frightful than delightful Sunday afternoon, what better time to tear yourself away from the Redskins debacle and get back up to speed on dismissal and closure policies in case of bad weather or other emergencies. Last week, the Office of Personnel Management held a webinar (see above) on the subject and here’s a memo from OPM Director Katherine Archuleta: http://tinyurl.com/my7wjkf. For those who really want to go hard-core, this is the link to OPM’s updated 35-page manual on the subject: http://tinyurl.com/lslzns9. It’s still too early to say what’s in store for tomorrow, but in a…

The Public Interest Declassification Board meets publicly tomorrow amid anticipation that the Obama administration may at last take up the panel’s recommendations for modernizing the national security classification system. Those 14 recommendations are now almost a year old; the first was for the White House to name a steering committee to guide implementation of the other 13. “All indications are” that the administration is now going to appoint a committee along those lines,  John Powers, a staff member for the declassification board, said in a phone interview today. A spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council could not be reached…

Muddled governance, ineffective change management and revolving door leadership were among the forces leading to last year’s demise of a costly and high-stakes Air Force logistics modernization program, according to newly released findings from an internal inquiry. The Air Force canceled the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) last November after spending $1 billion for what one top manager termed “negligible” capability. But the acquisition review team offers a more upbeat take, concluding that much of the work done on the system “can be reused.” The ECSS “wasn’t the failure people think it was,” the team adds. “It was the first…

President Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget request may be moribund on Capitol Hill, but one hot-button proposal buried deep within it appears to be very much alive: Taking a close look at the option of selling off the Tennessee Valley Authority, the government-owned electric utility. The administration has launched a strategic review that’s delving into issues like “de-federalization,” the implications of a change in TVA ownership for economic development and how to deal with the agency’s assets, according to a rundown of “stakeholder outreach discussion items” provided to FedLine by the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, a union representing about one-fifth of TVA’s some…

The U.S. Postal Service will be announcing its final fiscal 2013 financial results next Friday, according to a Federal Register notice today, and as usual, the only suspense will lie in the exact amount of red ink. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that last year’s loss will be nowhere near 2012’s monster figure of $15.9 billion. That was a fluke, caused in large part because the Postal Service’s books reflected the cost of two skipped payments for future retiree health benefits. (Congress had pushed the deadline for the 2011 payment into 2012.) For 2013, the final number is likely…

The linguistic origins of the word “golf” are lost to time. But for 21st century feds, the game often just means trouble. The latest evidence: Stephen Calvery, head of the Defense Force Protection Agency, gets an unfavorable write-up by the Defense Department’s inspector general for giving employees administrative leave to participate in the agency’s 2009 and 2010 golf tournaments. Under the rules, such leave is allowable only if it benefits the agency’s mission, furthers a particular DoD function or has “a government-wide recognized and sanctioned purpose,” according to a redacted copy of the report posted today on the IG’s website.…

Katherine Archuleta officially became the 10th director of the Office of Personnel Management this morning following a private swearing-in ceremony, the agency said in a news release. Archuleta, confirmed by the Senate last Wednesday to a four-year term, began the day  by greeting employees in the lobby of OPM headquarters. “OPM touches so many lives and has such a significant impact on government service,” Archuleta said in the release. “I look forward to getting to know the many dedicated, hard-working men and women who serve the public every day.” Archuleta replaces John Berry, who left in April en route to…

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…

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…

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