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Many Feds Outearn Cabinet Secretaries

Jane Norris & Ruben Gomez | FedNewsRadio

If you think Cabinet secretaries earn more than you ever will, think again. You could make a lot more if you work for one of them. The Wall Street Journal reports that hundreds of feds at Health and Human Services made more — way more in some cases — than the $191,000 dollars that was the cabinet-level salary last year. It was thru a selective program designed to recruit and keep the very best talent.

The Senate has approved big increases for transportation and housing programs as it passed the fifth of 12 appropriations bills funding the government for the budget year that begins in just two weeks. The bill calls for $122 billion in new spending for road projects, housing subsidies for the poor and community development grants to local governments which is a 12 percent increase. Congress has just two weeks to finish the 12 spending bills that fund the government but not one of the bills has become law. Congress will have to pass a stopgap measure the deadline to make sure the government doesn’t shut down.

More of you teleworked in 2008, but few did it on a regular basis. The numbers from an OPM survey suggest that telework is catching on at a slow pace in the federal government. In all, more than 100,000 federal employees worked off-site, but that’s only about 9-percent of those eligible to do so. The OPM report cites resistance from management and office coverage as the main barriers to telework.

The Internet is running out of addresses. One expert predicts the government will soon mandate agencies start using a new version, IPv6, for their public web sites. Quoted in Federal Computer Week, John Curran, president of the American Registry for Internet Numbers, says we’ll run out of the current version of IP addresses in about two years. Agencies are already adding IPv6 to their network backbones.

Do you know how your agency’s contractors treat their workers? The left-leaning Center for American Progress says government is awarding billions of dollars in contracts to companies who underpay and mistreat employees. GovernmentExecutive reports the Center is calling for agencies to take a closer look at a firm’s regulatory record before awarding a contract. Industry groups, however, say making that happen could be a challenge.

The Federal Housing Administration, hit hard by the mortgage crisis, is in need of a cash infusion. For the first time, cash reserves will drop below the minimum level set by Congress according to FHA officials. The FHA part of Housing and Urban Development insures mortgages against losses and guaranteed about a quarter of all U.S. home loans made this year. The Washington Post reports rather than raise fees or go to Congress for a bail out the agency is considering a proposal that would require banks and lenders to keep a million dollars in capital to repay the agency for losses due to fraud to make up the shortfall.

For the first time in nearly two years, American household wealth grew a little. Advances in stocks and home prices drove the gains according to the Federal Reserve. Families also saved more and borrowed less, shedding some of the debt owed on their homes and credit cards in response to the recession. The Fed report showed that household net worth grew 3.9% to $53.1 trillion in the April-June period from the first quarter. But it was still down almost 19% from the peak in the third quarter of 2007, just before the stock market reached its high.

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