News Briefs

September 23, 1996

News Briefs

The following news summaries are from OPM AM, the daily newsletter of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM AM is available on OPM Mainstreet, the agency's electronic bulletin board, at 202-606-4800.

THE BUYOUT TURF BATTLE--"Thousands of federal workers hungry for buyouts may have to retire without the comfort of a $25,000 golden handshake from their agency. Congress is considering buyouts for the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Treasury, Energy and Veterans Affairs and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, among others. But those buyouts, on the fast track as part of agency appropriations bills, may be killed because they are caught in a turf war in the House. Even buyouts already approved for the Agriculture Department could run into trouble because the department sidestepped the House committee that handles federal personnel in favor of the committee that hands out money" (The Federal Diary, Monday, September 23).

AND WHAT IF IT SNOWS?--"Even though we haven't had the election yet, top brass in Washington are already sweating over Jan. 20. In the bureaucratic sense, it is a When Holidays Collide' event. That day is a first-ever, two-in-one Monday that has had government lawyers hitting the books....January 20 is Inauguration Day. That is traditionally a day off (a holiday, but not a legal holiday) for Washington area federal workers. But it is not a day off in other cities. It is also the day set aside for honoring the birth of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a legal federal holiday in every sense" (The Federal Diary, Sunday, September 22).

POSTAL SERVICE VULNERABLE TO INCREASED COMPETITION, GAO SAYS--"When you call the U.S. Postal Service's new toll-free telephone number to ask about Zip codes or the location of the nearest post office, the person providing the information may not be a postal worker. And that has the nation's largest postal union furious. Union officials are vowing to fight the federal agency's announced plans to give a growing number of such jobs to private industry" (The Washington Post, Monday, September 23).

REPORT QUESTIONS ECONOMIC GROUNDS FOR AGENCY'S LETTER MONOPOLY--"A new General Accounting Office Report portrays the U.S. Postal Service as highly vulnerable to increased competition from private delivery firms and questions whether the federal agency can continue to justify the economic grounds for its letter monopoly. The GAO's conclusions, in a report to be released today, are likely to be crucial when Congress begins a debate next year on how to change the 25-year-old laws that govern mail delivery" (The Washington Post, Monday, September 23).

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