Browsing: 2013 Budget

Sequestration hitting DC economy

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Home to many federal agencies and employees, the nation’s capital is feeling the brunt of sequestration, counting thousands of fewer government jobs this year and tens of millions of dollar likely to disappear from the local economy next year. “We’re beginning to see some alarming trends,” D.C. Department of Employment Services Director Lisa Mallory said in a phone interview. “We’ve seen a big decrease in federal jobs.” From January through July, government jobs decreased by 7,000. And city officials, who outlined their concerns in a press briefing last week, say that after cutting the unemployment rate from more than 10-percent…

EPA cancels Aug. 30 furlough day

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More than 17,000 Environmental Protection Agency employees will be spared a final furlough day that had been scheduled for Aug. 30, Administrator Gina McCarthy announced today. In a message to EPA staff, McCarthy attributed the decision to savings found elsewhere in the agency’s budget. “The choices we made are difficult, but we continue to be flexible—applying good management decisions to ensure we continue to carry out our mission and reduce the impact of sequestration on each employee,” McCarthy said, according to a transcript provided by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents many EPA staff. In recent weeks, the…

Attorneys for indigent federal defendants face pay cut

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A $15 hourly pay cut is coming for lawyers in private practice who represent indigent defendants in federal criminal cases. The looming cut, effective Sept. 1, will lower the hourly rate for so-called “panel attorneys” in most cases from $125 per hour to $110 per hour, said Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. For lawyers working on behalf of defendants facing the death penalty, the change will take their hourly compensation from $178 to $163. The reductions, signaled in a letter released today from William Traxler, chairman of the executive committee of the Judicial Conference…

AP: Defense Department likely to cut number of furlough days

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The Defense Department could cut as many as five furlough days from the 11 currently planned by the end of the fiscal year in September, according to an Associated Press report. The report, which cites only anonymous sources, says that Pentagon officials are looking at trimming the total number of unpaid days off to somewhere between six and eight. Hold your breath, though–no announcement is planned this week, according to the AP. At present, about 650,000 DoD civilian employees are generally losing one day per week to the furloughs that began early this month; as Defense News is reporting, the furloughs–imposed as part of the…

Poll: More than half of Americans feeling little or no impact from sequester

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For hundreds of thousands of federal employees, there’s been no escaping the effects of sequester-related budget cuts, either on their jobs, their paychecks or both. For the general public, though, not so much. In a national poll this month by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 55 percent of those surveyed said the cuts have had little or no impact on themselves and their families. There is another way to look at the results. As NBC News’ story notes, the percentage of respondents who said they’ve felt “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of impact stood at 22 percent, up from 16 percent in April. But with…

MSPB rebuffs union call for advance ruling on DoD furloughs

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With the Defense Department set to lay out  a final furlough policy today,  the Merit Systems Protection Board has rejected a union’s request for a heads-up on  how it could decide appeals from employees who challenge the decision to force them to take unpaid time off. “Under federal law, the Board is prohibited from issuing advisory opinions,” the agency’s clerk, William Spencer, said in a letter yesterday to Gregory Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers that cites the relevant provision of federal law.  This afternoon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to officially tell DoD…

Union asks MSPB for pre-emptive ruling on DoD furloughs

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With the Defense Department expected to announce a final furlough policy as early as this week, a union has asked the Merit Systems Protection Board for a heads-up on how it would rule on behalf of DoD employees who appeal decisions to make them take unpaid time off. Issuing “a pre-emptive statement of opinion” on whether those employees could win appeals would save the board “from deciding thousands of cases that would likely come,” Gregory Junemann, president of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, said in last week’s letter to MSPB chairman Susan Grundmann. A board spokesman declined…

Sequester-related layoffs hit Corporation for Public Broadcasting

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The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the congressionally chartered non-profit that helps keep TV and radio programming like “Sesame Street,” “Downton Abbey” and “All Things Considered” on the air, has laid off a dozen employees and is requiring week-long furloughs for senior staff,  the web site, Current.org, is reporting. The organization is also eliminating three vacant positions; all told, the downsizing cuts its workforce by 11 percent. The reductions are largely due to the sequester, according to what a spokesman told the site. Like most federal agencies, the corporation is having to absorb about a 5 percent budget cut. Between that…

How is sequestration affecting you? Your agency? Your company?

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It’s now been more than a month-and-a-half since sequestration took effect and Federal Times remains committed to following the story as closely as we can. We’re again looking for your help and want to hear from you about what the impact has been thus far. If you have something to share, please email Sean Reilly at sreilly@federaltimes.com or Steve Losey at slosey@federaltimes.com. Thanks very much!

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