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    Michigan Shutdown Unlikely State's Preparing

    Michigan Shutdown Unlikely State's Preparing
    Michigan state government operations are being prepared for a partial shutdown Thursday -- one that almost everyone in Lansing agrees will not take place. Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, declined Monday to discuss plans for shutting down operations if the governor and Legislature haven't reached an agreement by midnight Wednesday on spending for the budget year that begins Oct. ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Bye-bye to 'GS, And Other Trial Balloons From OPM's John Berry

    If the federal civil service had a flag, it would be flying upside down. The civil service is in distress -- not dead, but in need of rescue. Recognizing this, John Berry, the Office of Personnel Management director, ran some sweeping ideas up the flagpole on Monday to see who salutes. At the same time he heaped praise on the "unsung ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Jobless Claims Drop for Third Straight Week

    Jobless Claims Drop for Third Straight Week
    WASHINGTON — First-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped for the third consecutive week, a sign the job market is slowly recovering. The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 444,000. That's above economists' forecasts of 440,000, according to Thomson Reuters. Layoffs have dropped back to pre-recession levels and employers have slowly ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    OPM's Berry Deals Out First Set of Civil Service Reform Suggestions

    OPM's Berry Deals Out First Set of Civil Service Reform Suggestions
    John Berry fired the first salvo for how to "reinvigorate" and "unshackle" all aspects of federal human resources. The director of the Office of Personnel Management laid out Monday some initial ideas about changes that he hopes could bring agency hiring, firing, recruiting and retention practices in line with other Fortune 500 companies. Listen to WFED's Federal Drive "Our hiring system ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Philadelphia Transit Strike Ends

    Philadelphia Transit Strike Ends
    WHEW! Just when commuters around the region were gearing up for the second week of the six-day transit strike, the Transport Workers Union Local 234 signed a deal that put its workers back on the job. Gov. Rendell said early this morning at a hastily called news conference at the Bellevue, at Broad and Walnut streets, that the subways, buses ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Personnel Agency Cracks Down on Appointees 'Burrowing' In

    Personnel Agency Cracks Down on Appointees 'Burrowing' In
    The Office of Personnel Management on Thursday announced it will monitor movement of political appointees to career civil service jobs continuously to better protect against politicization of the merit system. In a memorandum to agency heads, Director John Berry said starting in 2010 all agencies must get OPM's permission before giving current or recent political appointees competitive or nonpolitical excepted service ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Search Technology for Illegal Immigrants Widens

    Top Homeland Security officials on Thursday announced that by 2013 all law enforcement agencies across the country will be able to use a technology program aimed at identifying illegal immigrants held in jails and prisons -- assuming Congress provides the necessary funding. Under the Secure Communities program, which is run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, state and local law enforcement ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Federal Employees Have Fewer Health Insurance Choices This Year

    The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program typically includes an array of health insurance options. But this year the choices are more limited than before because 32 health insurance plans are leaving FEHBP or reducing their coverage across the country. "It's kind of a disturbing trend," said Dave Snell, retirement benefits service department director for the National Active and Retired Federal Employees ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Five-day mail delivery plan would cut tens of thousands of jobs

    Eliminating Saturday mail delivery could save the U.S. Postal Service $5.1 billion annually by 2020, most of which would come from lower personnel costs, agency officials said on Monday. In the face of declining mail volume and a 10-year, $238 billion budget deficit, the Postal Service is proposing to reduce mail delivery days from six to five. The move would eliminate ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Insurance Providers Drop Out of Federal Employee Health Program

    Insurance Providers Drop Out of Federal Employee Health Program
    Some federal employees will have to choose new health plans during open season this year because their insurance providers are leaving the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, or reducing the number of areas they cover. "Some employees still might not receive instructions to change plans during open season," Kathleen M. McGettigan, deputy associate director of the Center for Retirement and Insurance ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Senate Passes Bill to Provide Funding for Federal Executive Boards

    Senate Passes Bill to Provide Funding for Federal Executive Boards
    By unanimous consent, the Senate on Thursday passed legislation (S. 806) to stabilize the funding and management of Federal Executive Boards, which coordinate the actions of federal offices outside the Washington area. "President Kennedy showed great foresight when he called for the coordination of federal agencies' activities in 1961, and FEBs have done a good job since then in coordinating their ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Border Fence Funds Pulled from Spending Bill

    Border Fence Funds Pulled from Spending Bill
    WASHINGTON — A provision to build an additional 300 miles of pedestrian fence along the U.S.-Mexico border has been stripped out of a $42.8 billion spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The provision by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., was removed at the behest of House members from Texas, Arizona and California who called the fencing a waste of taxpayer ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Help With The Homework On Health Plans

    One of the good things about being a federal employee is the large number of health insurance companies available to them. One of the difficult things about being a federal employee is picking from the large number of health insurance companies available to them. Difficult isn't the same as bad, but it can be confusing. Even so, as government workers face ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Stimulus Funds Vulnerable to Pay-to-Play Contracting

    Stimulus Funds Vulnerable to Pay-to-Play Contracting
    A POGO investigation has found that many state and local governments with laws limiting contractors’ campaign contributions (meant to reduce the influence of private interests in the public contracting process) are facing obstacles to enforcing these “pay-to-play” laws on stimulus-funded contracts. As a result, stimulus-funded contracts are not being subjected to this additional level of corruption prevention, a missed good-government opportunity. ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Wal-Mart Launches Employee College Plan

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced a program Thursday in which its workers can receive college credit from the online American Public University and receive a tuition discount from the school. The company also said it will commit $50 million over three years to help workers pay for books and tuition above the reduced tuition rate. After the reduction, ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Givebacks Sought From Workers at Erie County, NY Jail

    Givebacks Sought From Workers at Erie County, NY Jail
    The terms of a proposed contract between Erie County and the union that represents jail personnel at the Holding Center call for the workers to contribute to their health insurance, especially in retirement, and surrender some paid time off. In return, they would receive a lump sum payment that county officials say will average $4,000 a worker, plus a more generous ...
    Published about 5 years ago | Rate This
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    Pay and Benefits Watch: For Leave or Money

    Pay and Benefits Watch: For Leave or Money
    Between November and January, federal employees tend to think more about how they will use their leave than how they accrue it. But as personnel officials weigh hiring reforms, and existing flexibilities for enticing promising applicants to federal service, one leave policy raises concerns about how managers should be negotiating more strategically with new hires and how accrual rates vary across ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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    OPM will test new work flexibility program

    Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry announced at a White House forum on Wednesday that he is moving 400 agency employees into a pilot program that will go beyond existing workplace flexibility and telework programs and could serve as a model for the rest of government. "If flexibility can succeed in the federal government with the unrivaled complexity of our ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Obama Extends Benefits to Same-Sex Partners of Federal Employees

    WASHINGTON, DC - President Obama on Wednesday ordered federal agencies to extend a range of benefits to same-sex domestic partners of their employees. "For far too long, many of our government's hard-working, dedicated [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] employees have been denied equal access to the basic rights and benefits their colleagues enjoy," Obama wrote in a memo to the heads ...
    Published over 4 years ago | Rate This
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    Survey: Feds Save More Money Than Average Americans

    Survey: Feds Save More Money Than Average Americans
    Federal employees saved more money between March and September than the general population, according to a new survey from a financial firm. On average, fed workers contributed $2,289 per month to their savings -- either through short-term, long-term or retirement savings accounts -- during the six-month period studied by First Command Financial Services, a firm that serves military and public sector ...
    Published almost 5 years ago | Rate This
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