News Briefs

January 27, 1997

News Briefs

Virtual Government '97 Conference

This conference for federal, state and local information technology executives, managers, practitioners, and supporting industry will be held February 11-13 in McLean, VA. Speakers include Vice President Al Gore, John A. Koskinen (Deputy Director for Management, OMB), as well as Congressmen, senior business leaders, and other cabinet officials.

Some topics include the internet & intranet, wireless, universal service, certificate authorities, key recovery, data mining, year 2000, privacy & security, and more.

Please visit the conference Web site for more information.

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 FEDERAL DIARY--"Some federal workers who time their retirement for the week ending Jan. 3 (on our advice) to boost their lump-sum leave checks say they believe they've been shortchanged. The idea was to retire before the new leave year began (to protect leave that couldn't be carried over) but have the new, 3.33 percent pay raise applied to that leave. Tricky, but legal. This is a money-in-the-bank (or not) issue involving potentially big bucks for lots of people" (The Washington Post).

IRS CONSIDERS OUTSOURCING' TAX RETURN WORK--"The Internal Revenue Service, faced with deteriorating computer systems, plans to survey private computer companies to see if they could build and operate systems that would read' the approximately 200 million tax returns filed each year. The plan to seriously consider outsourcing' represents a departure for the agency, which traditionally has kept all taxpayer data under its own employees' control. The IRS outlined the outsourcing' plan in a 43-page report sent last week to the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees that oversee the Treasury Department" (The Washington Post).

ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO RAISE ROYALTIES THAT OIL FIRMS PAY FOR FEDERAL CRUDE--"The Clinton administration yesterday proposed a new regulation that would charge oil companies millions of dollars more each year for pumping crude oil from federal lands by tightening up the way the government calculates royalties. According to the proposed rule published in the Federal Register, the Minerals Management Service would ask oil companies to pay royalties based on commodity prices rather than posted prices,' or wellhead prices, which officials said no longer serve as indicators of true market value" (Saturday, Jan. 25, The Washington Post).

ADVISORY BOARD TARGETS PENTAGON'S CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES--"The Pentagon could save up to $30 billion annually if it turned over most of its support services to the private sector and reduce its civilian work force, a Pentagon advisory board has reported. The Defense Science Board, a panel from the private sector that advises the department on scientific and technical matters, released a study Friday that envisioned the Pentagon operating only "inherently governmental" tasks such as fighting a war, battlefield support functions, policy development and oversight. All other functions, such as U.S.-based logistics and maintenance, military housing, schools and training, and base support, should be taken over by the private sector, the study suggested" (The Washington Post).

ASTRONAUT'S DAUGHTER FINDS HIS SPIRIT THROUGH NASA JOB--"Sheryl Chaffee Marshall was 8 years old when she lost her handsome, young father in a grisly fire....Only recently has Mrs. Chaffee Marshall come to grips with the death of astronaut Roger Chaffee, who was trapped with Virgil Gus' Grissom and Edward White II inside their burning Apollo 1 capsule on a Florida launch pad Jan. 27, 1967. What has helped her profoundly in carrying on her father's spirit, she says, is working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She is an administrative specialist in safety and mission assurance" (Sunday, Jan. 26, The Washington Times).

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