USPS offers early retirement – DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • The Thrift Savings Plan took a dip in August. With the exception of the government-securities G Fund, all the funds in the TSP finished August in negative territory. So what does that mean for your retirement fund? Insights from Kim Weaver.

Up front:

With much focus on Syria, the simmering budget battle has been pushed to a back burner.

The Washington Post reports that White House and Republican senators have given up on budget talks.

“The Obama administration and a group of Republican senators abandoned efforts Thursday to hammer out a budget deal and avoid a showdown over the national debt, saying they had failed to resolve their long-standing dispute over taxes. “It’s very evident that there just isn’t common ground at present and we’ve all agreed there’s no reason for these talks to continue,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said after attending the group’s final session at the White House. Asked what happens next, Corker said, “I have no idea.””

And Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) notes that this budget limbo has an 'insidious impact' on feds and contractors, Federal News Radio reports.

Meanwhile, holding the intelligence community accountable -- a fascinating story from The Washington Post:

U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary--U.S. spy agencies have built an intelligence-gathering colossus since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but remain unable to provide critical information to the president on a range of national security threats, according to the government’s top-secret budget. The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former ­intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. Although the government has annually released its overall level of intelligence spending since 2007, it has not divulged how it uses the money or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life:

  1. The U.S. Postal Service is getting ready to offer early retirement to thousands of postmasters, executives, and other managers in an attempt to cut labor costs without laying off employees. Notification of eligible employees will begin September 16 and the application period will start on September 20. The Federal Times reports that for those employees that choose to retire early, they will have to leave between Dec. 31 and Jan. 31.

  2. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is setting higher standards for the training and tracking of federal acquisition personnel. Beginning in 2014, agencies and acquisition professionals will have to use the Federal Acquisition Institute Training Application System (FAITAS) for all of their training and certification needs. Federal News Radio states that this change will help to "reduce duplication of workforce management information systems, and leverage scarce training resources across agencies."

  3. OPM is proposing changes to its current regulations regarding compensatory time off for religious observances. The Federal Register reports that OPM is looking for comments on the proposed modifications. Comments are due by October 29, 2013.

  4. The Obama administration is developing a second National Action Plan on Open Government, entitled NAP 2.0. The administration is looking for ideas and input regarding objectives to include in the Plan. The White House states that the administration will be accepting comments and submissions until September 23.

  5. The Energy Department has released an update regarding the recent unauthorized release of Personally Identifiable Information for about 53,000 of its employees. Federal News Radio reports that the incident occurred on August 14 and is being attributed to a breach in cybersecurity. The Department is currently in the process of contacting the affected individuals.

  6. Civilian army employees that have served more than the required number of furlough days have the option of exchanging their excess hours for annual leave so that they can be paid for the unnecessary time off. The drawback of this option is that they will have to give up vacation days. The Washington Post states that this policy is in response to concerns for those employees that surpassed the number of required days off before the Pentagon reduced furloughs from 11 to 6 days.

  7. Davita Vance-Cooks, the Public Printer of the U.S. Government Printing Office, has named Herbert H. Jackson, Jr. to be the organization’s Chief Administrative Officer. GPO’s most recent press release recognizes that Jackson has worked for the agency for the past 30 years, most recently serving as the organization’s Managing Director of Business Products and Services.

The DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • The Washington Post oped: Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein: Our fantasy: A Congress that gets stuff done--A little more than a year ago, we published a book about American politics — and particularly Congress — titled “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks.” In our book and in these pages, we lamented the ideological divides in Washington, which had become almost tribal in nature, and the skewed nature of political polarization, emphasizing a Republican Party gone off the rails. Unfortunately, little has happened in the time since to lift our spirits. But we can always fantasize, right? For a moment, we want to rise above the pessimism about politics that permeates the capital and the nation and imagine a best-case scenario for what might happen when Congress returns from its August recess.

  • How China deals with corruption:From The Guardian: China's 'Brother Wristwatch' Yang Dacai jailed for 14 years for corruption.

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