News Briefs

October 9, 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.

ENERGY DEPT. TRAVEL PROBE FAULTS MANAGEMENT, BUT NO INDIVIDUALS--"An extensive independent probe into Energy Secretary Hazel R. O'Leary's foreign travel missions blames sloppy planning and inefficient management for exorbitant costs and other difficulties associated with the trips, but stops short of holding any individual Energy Department officials accountable. The final report, more than 300 pages long, was issued yesterday by the department's inspector general in an attempt to close the case on O'Leary's highly publicized foreign travel, which included four trade missions that cost a total of $3.42 million. The report varied little from a draft version released in June" (The Washington Post).

RETIRED GENERAL TO HEAD COMMISSARY TRANSITION--"Retired Army Maj. Gen. Richard E. Beale Jr. has been named director of transition at the Defense Commissary Agency for its conversion into the government's first performance-based organization.' Beale served as the agency's director the last four years before retiring Sept. 30. The Defense Department asked him to return to oversee the transition, announced Oct. 1 at a ceremony here at the Navy Memorial. Performance-based organizations (PBOs), a new way to restructure federal agencies pushed by Vice President Gore, will operate more like private-sector companies, administration officials said" (The Washington Post).

MORE RIF'D EMPLOYEES CAN USE LEAVE TO RETIRE--"Employees being laid off can use their accumulated annual leave to qualify for retirement, under a new law. If workers being let go during a reduction in force have left over annual leave, they can use it to stay on the job after the time they would have been forced out, but only if it would enable them to qualify for an immediate annuity or to extend their health insurance into retirement" (Federal Times, October 14).

VETS' BILL DIES IN SENATE--"A bill that would have expanded veterans' rights during layoffs did not become law this year. The House had passed the legislation twice, but the Senate never even held hearings on it, usually the first step....The bill would have made it harder for agencies to release veterans during reductions in force. It also would have expanded veterans' rights for seeking redress when they believe the preference laws have been violated.... The bill would have allowed preference eligibles and others who served at least three years and who were honorably discharged to compete for announced vacancies, even if they did not have competitive status or were not employed by the agency" (Federal Times, October 14).

GOOD TIME-MANAGERS TRY NOT TO MANAGE ALL OF THEIR TIME--"The Time-Management industry is booming as millions try to regain a sense of balance and control in their lives. Relatively new to the field is get-it-together guru Stephen Covey, a bald 63-year-old with a 200-watt smile and $100 million in annual revenue at his Provo, Utah, leadership center'....You may think of time management as working harder, smarter, faster. The Covey pitch has a different focus: Create a mission, balance personal and work roles, build relationships and focus on activities with long-term payoffs. He encourages people to spend less time on unimportant activities, no matter how urgent they may seem, and instead attend to deeply felt lifelong values, such as relationships or other personal pursuits" (The Wall Street Journal).

BACK CORSETS RECEIVE SUPPORT IN UCLA STUDY--"Corsets could make a comeback in the workplace as a result of a major new study that finds that they sharply reduce lower-back injuries in workers who lift heavy materials. The study, by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles, provides the strongest scientific evidence to date in what has become a simmering workplace-safety controversy" (The Wall Street Journal).

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