TSP Sees Huge Jump in Hardship Withdrawls – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • The only way to get through these complicated times in government is for leaders to communicate as genuinely as possible. Employees have been trampled on recently with the shutdown and furloughs so they will not tolerate fake empathy. We get more insights on how to deal with being back from the shutdown with Deloitte’s Shawn Morris.

But up front: A collection of stories for today...

GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER interview with former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson got a mention in The Washington Post yesterday: Former GSA chief in charge during conference scandal pens new book. Government Executive also wrote about the interview: Ex-GSA Chief Releases Tell-All on Conference Spending Scandal. 

You can hear the full interview… and you can buy her new book, On My Watch - Leadership, Innovation, and Personal Resilience

  • We remember Ike Skelton, Former Congressman From Missouri, who has passed away.
  • Computer World’s Patrick Thibodeau: A better model for HealthCare.gov is Weather.gov
  • Business Week: Why Private Contractors Are Lousy at Public Services
  • The New York Times' editorial page editor's blog: Replace the Sequester, Not Sebelius
  • Federal News Radio: DHS to unleash data analysts through Management Cube
  • Acting Deputy Secretary Rafael Borras said the goal is to merge back-office data into one platform, and then have data analysts find trends and discover opportunities to improve mission investments. The Homeland Security Department will launch the initiative in January.  
  • Federal News Radio: Building better generals: Today's generals and admirals don't have the skills to address tomorrow's military challenges, a new report concludes. Just because you're a good soldier doesn't mean you're a good office manager. Retired Lt. Gen. Dave Barno, a former top commander in Afghanistan, said that the military's top leaders have been through 12 years of demanding conflicts in two different theaters of war, but that has not prepared them for the enterprise side of managing in the Department of Defense. He's the author of a new report released today by the Center for a New American Security addressing this concern.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Hardship withdrawals from Thrift Savings Plans greatly increased during the government shutdown, reaching 8,200 withdrawals between Oct. 1 and 16. During this period, transfers between TSP accounts also rose, totaling 128,000 transactions over the two week period. The Federal Times reports that since the government’s reopening, adjustments to TSP accounts have returned to normal levels.  

  2. Lauri Love, a British citizen, has been charged with illegally hacking into the U.S. government computer system and stealing confidential citizen and military data. The Federal Times states that Love and his accomplices have been breaking into the U.S. government computer network for the past year. Specifically, they targeted the computer systems of the Army, Missile Defense Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, and NASA. Love was recently arrested in England and is awaiting prosecution.

  3. House members are in the process of passing legislation that will reduce bonuses for VA employees by at least 14 percent. Currently, the VA pays out approximately $400 million in annual bonuses to its workers. The new legislation will limit this annual amount to $345 million through fiscal year 2018, as reported by The Hill. The reason for this cut in VA bonuses has less to do with budget limitations and more to do with reports that VA officials have been giving merit-based bonuses to employees with less than satisfactory performances.     

  4. White House officials are increasing their lobbying efforts for the Senate confirmation of Rep. Mel Watt to serve as the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. President Obama nominated Watt six months ago, but since then Watt has faced staunch Republican opposition to his confirmation. Federal News Radio states that senior White House staff are reaching out to housing and financial industry leaders to push for Watt’s confirmation, and that Senator Harry Reid has thus far scheduled a procedural vote for Watt’s appointment.

  5. James Comey, the new director of the FBI, received support and warm praise from President Obama during his recent presentation to the FBI. The President acknowledged Comey’s extensive law enforcement credentials and emphasized that he is not only prepared for the job, but also equipped with a strong sense of right and wrong. Federal News Radio observed that Comey displayed that sense of right and wrong during his speech, in which he emphasized the importance of the FBI not abusing its power over citizens and acting independently of political forces and interests.  

  6. A burgeoning problem for cyber security managers is that there is a lack of set standards regarding the necessary credentials and training that employees should possess. FCW reports that IT certifications offer a limited, weak bar by which to measure an employee’s expertise. The NIST has also produced a National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework that provides IT and cyber security managers with set guidelines for the training of employees. However, there still remains a lack of uniformity among government agencies regarding required credentials that is impeding the creation and growth of an effective cyber security workforce.  

  7. The Supreme Court’s tradition of prohibiting cameras during its proceedings was highlighted at an event this past week hosted by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The event showcased not only the court’s refusal to allow cameras, but also its tradition of not disclosing the public schedules of the justices or information on the court’s petitions or testimonies. The Washington Post notes that unlike other courts on the state level, the Supreme Court seemingly preserves tradition over demands for increased technology and transparency regarding its proceedings.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

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