How sequestration could spell doom for DC region — 7 DorobekINSIDER stories you need to know

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Thursday the 17th of August, 2012
  1. The Washington area has survived the recession fairly well, but that could change if the across-the-board spending cuts happen in January, that could change. That according to new analysis by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University. The Washington region could lose 65,000 federal jobs and 96,000 federal contractor positions in the short term. WTOP reports that the region would be significantly impacted, mainly because of the federal payroll and procurement dollars the area receives from the federal government.
  2. Qualified applicants for jobs with federal contractors are actually walking away from those jobs. Why? According to a new report by CleananceJobs.com, it is because of the amount of time it takes to get a security clearances. The Washington Business Journal reports hiring managers and recruiters have lost highly qualified applicants who withdrew from consideration because of the extended wait. Most businesses are opting to hire people who already have clearances to avoid the hassle of putting them through the process. Of those surveyed, 17 percent said they only recruit people with current, active security clearances and 56 percent said the majority of professionals recruited have the active clearances in hand.
  3. Defaults on municipal bonds for decades have been far higher than reported by rating agencies, bringing into question the true risk of a common investment widely considered to be safe.  A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says economists at the agency counted 2,521 muni bond defaults since 1970, whereas ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service, for instance, reported 71. Muni bonds often act as an investment haven for ordinary Americans, and the new findings reveal they may be more risky than previously thought.
  4. NASA has chosen a project to test "green" rocket fuel. Ball Aerospace & Technologies will lead a team demonstrating a non-toxic propellant. The fuel is cheaper and safer. If all goes well, it could replace hydrazine currently used on spacecraft. Ball Aerospace will receive $45 million for the test. NASA has slated the mission to happen about three years from now.
  5. Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs has married old with new to save cash and go green. The department has installed a new Environmental Management System at its 94-year-old central office. The system can monitor electricity and water usage among other things. VA said it would collect 3,000 data points every 10 seconds. That information will help the department find usage patterns and save up to $3.5 million. VA said the system might also work for other agencies.
  6. Experienced federal employees who want to take a phased retirement will have to get buy-in from their supervisors. Federal News Radio says that provision is among the rules issued by the Office of Personnel Management. In a memo detailing how phased retirement works, OPM said both CSRS and FERS employees must be 55-years old with 30 years of service, or 60-years old with 20 years of service. Under phased retirement, employees can work part time without spoiling their annuity. But they agree to mentor and train younger employees.   
  7. And on GovLoop, agencies are under pressure to do more with less -- reduce the costs and increase the efficiency of their data centers. How do you do that? GovLoop is hosting a Webinar focusing on that issue at 2p next Thursday
On today’s program
  • Times are changing -- and that is true for chief human capital officers. What are the challenges ahead?
  • And everybody has been there -- where you feel like nothing is going right. How can you take your organization from so-so to WOW!? We’ll talk to the author of the book “Team Turnarounds.”
  • And in the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder... What impact will IT investments by the Chinese government have on you? And a look at the Internet from back in 1995.
 
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