DorobekINSIDER: 7 stories you need to know: The federal pay debate is back

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Wednesday the 16th of May, 2012

  1. The federal pay debate is back in the headlines -- this time it’s centered on your bonuses. The Office of Personnel Management says the federal government paid at least $439 million in employee bonuses last year--- that’s down $43 million since new austerity restrictions were announced. The Federal Times reports, the largest merit awards went to senior executives in Washington and air-traffic controllers. OPM says starting next year agencies must limit total spending on performance-based awards to 5 percent of salaries for senior managers, and 1 percent for lower-ranking employees.
  2. The time it takes to get a security clearance is getting shorter. The Washington Business Journal says over the past 2 years the federal government has cut the wait time to get a security clearance by some 30 days. The data is part of a clearance jobs dot com survey which also found that more than half of the respondents passed their security checks in just four months. Top secret positions took longer -- sometimes as long as a year. But those clearances are expensive. A GAO report last month found that OPM’s reported earlier this year that the cost of conducting background investigations increased by almost 79 percent, from about $602 million in fiscal year 2005 to almost $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2011 (in fiscal year 2011 dollars).
  3. Utah’s Chief Information Officer -- Steve Fletcher -- is stepping down following a breach of health and Medicaid data within the Utah Department of Health. Government Technology reports, the breach, which was discovered April 2 and is believed to have compromised 280,000 Social Security numbers other personal information of an some 500,000 people, including names, addresses, birth dates and some details contained in patient health records. Fletcher has been Utah’s CIO for the past 7 years. 
  4. Another day -- another front on the budget battle -- this one over the Defense authorization bill. Politico reports the White House has issued a veto threat for the House version of the Defense authorization bill calling it too expensive and arguing that it would prevent the military from carrying out its strategic plans. The statement of administration policy says that the administration is disappointed “with the many provisions in this bill that impede the ability of the Secretary of Defense to carry out the 2012 defense strategic guidance.” The bill heads to the House floor today for general debate. The House will consider amendments tomorrow and is set to vote on the measure Friday. The Senate is scheduled to begin marking up its own version of the bill next week.  Meanwhile, The Senate will vote on several Republican budget proposals today. The Hill says that the votes on four different Republican budget resolutions is an apparent attempt to demonstrate that they will not be supported in the Democratic-led Senate. 
  5. The General Services Administration has awarded IBM Corp. a one-year contract to develop a system to monitor how much energy the government's buildings use nationwide, Federal News Radio reported. IBM will collect the data in a central location, enabling the GSA's Public Buildings Service employees to perform analyses that could lead to energy savings and reduced operating costs across the agency's entire 182 million-square-foot inventory. 
  6. GSA’s FedRamp program has also tapped eight companies and one government agency to evaluate contractors selling cloud services to the government. Washington Technology says, the nine providers will not compete for work. They will give their initial assessments and test the controls of cloud service providers per FedRAMP requirements and provide evidence of compliance. 
  7. And on GovLoop, talk about doing more with less -- a community with 65,000 residents in south Florida is being run by just nine employees. Find out how they are making it work and what the residents of Weston Florida think of their government services. 
On Today's Program
  • A new bill calls for a duplication scorecard. How would it work and how would it impact your job? We talk to Congressman James Lankford.
  • Cut your travel by 30% that’s just one of the new requirements from the Office of Management and Budget. We’ll find out what other programs could be on the chopping block with Tom Fox with the Partnership or Public Service.
  • Tensions between the public and the government worker are high. But a new op-ed in Roll Call says killing the public relations messenger won’t make the government’s public trust and transparency issues disappear.
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