DorobekINSIDER: 7 stories you need to know: the federal workforce is shrinking

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday the 4th of June, 2012

  1. Unemployment among new veterans is on the rise.  The Department of Veterans Affairs says one in eight, post 9-11 veterans are looking for work. That's a 3 percent increase in a month. Veterans Affairs said monthly swings are normal. But there is some good news, the VA says that unemployment has steadily, if modestly, declined over the past two years. VA said it was continuing to hold job fairs all over the country and its other programs were proving popular.
  2. Congress has released new documents to the press showing that since 2008 the GSA has given more than $1 million in bonuses to employees being investigated for misconduct. That includes about 84 workers who received annual awards of as much as $18,000. Senator Claire McCaskill told the Kansas City Star the GSA has a culture of entitlement that rewards bad judgment. In response, GSA said it was reviewing bonus payouts. Meanwhile the Washington Post reports that 95 high-ranking employees at the GSA who are assigned to work from home racked up $750,000 in travel expenses over nine months, documents show, prompting concerns from agency officials but no action to curtail the expenses.
  3. The House wants to bump up federal retirement contributions to pay for a one-year extension to the reduced interest rate for student loans. House Republicans are proposing increasing federal retirement contributions by 1.2 percent over the next three years. Government Executive says Republicans from both chambers of Congress rejected Senate Democrats’ proposal to pay for a one year extension of a reduced interest rate for subsidized Stafford student loans with a tax hike on small businesses. Republicans have suggested three alternatives to the tax hike, the first of which targets federal employees’ pension contributions.
  4. The Federal workforce is shrinking. Government Executive says employment dipped by 5,000 workers from April, to 2.8 million. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number is down from the same period in 2011, when the federal government employed 2.87 million workers.  2,000 jobs disappeared in April, as well.
  5. Congress is pushing for a new TSA contract -- after talks between the agency and the unions stalled. The Washington Post says Congressman Bennie Thompson and Nita Lowey say talks between the agency and the American Federation of Government Employees are at a critical spot. The Washington Post says the sticking point seems to be over pay for performance. The Union wants the agency’s pay-for-performance system know as PASS (Performance Accountability and Standards System). But maany security officers don’t like it.
  6. The Pentagon is looking to fast track genetic engineering. NextGov reports the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded more than 17 million dollars to seven research institutions. The idea is to develop basic genetic building blocks and other easy-to-deploy biological tools to make it easier for scientists to create
  7. And over on GovLoop, we’ve talked a lot about the White House’s new Digital Government Strategy that makes open government as the new default. But one GovLoop member -- Benjaman Balter -- says the government needs to make sure it releases the information that developers can actually use -- and isn’t just garbage
On today’s DorobekINSIDER
  • We talk about veterans -- but there is a misconception that vets are all men. Increasingly, that isn’t the case. There are more and more women among the ranks of veterans... and they can need different care. We’re going to talk to somebody -- a fed -- who has made it a mission to remember women veterans. And, by the way, her pioneering work has made her a Service to America Award Medal finalist. You’ll meet her.
  • A guide for federal CIOs to adopt new technologies. What’s in it? And how does it work? We’ll hear from the guy who wrote the book -- Evan McDonnell.
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