News Briefs

March 24, 1997

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.

SUCCESS OF PRIVATIZED BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS COMPANY UNCOVERS GOVERNMENT SAVINGS; CHANGES OPM'S PAYMENT TERMS--"After less than one year in operation, the privatization of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's former federally-employed investigators is poised to realize additional savings for taxpayers. So much so, the new employee-owned firm, US Investigations Services, Inc., is cutting investigative costs ahead of schedule and saving taxpayers more than $1 million over the next 13 months" (OPM Press Release, March 20).

FEDERAL DIARY--"What do diversity and buyouts have in common? It's hard to have the first without the second. Since Congress made buyouts more expensive, some agencies decided not to use them. But that could change this fall when agencies have the choice of paying older white male supervisors to leave or using layoffs, which put women and minorities at most risk" (Monday, March 24)...."Downsizing can produce some funny lumps in organizations. Companies (and federal agencies) often trim from the bottom and selected middle-management jobs but leave the executive offices alone.... Many downsized companies find they have more higher-paid people running smaller, more efficient (they hope) operations. Some federal agencies are seeing the same thing as they eliminate low-grade jobs, and some supervisors, but then discover they have sprouted more bosses" (Sunday, March 23).

AMERICANS GAIN A SMALL MEASURE OF CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT--"After years of poll data stressing what's wrong with government, a new survey finds Americans optimistic that government could be more effective and work better for them. But while there is some improvement in the public's trust in government, only one in five poll respondents expressed confidence in the federal government and the national government continues to enjoy less confidence than its state and local counterparts. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Council for Excellence in Government sponsored the survey of 1,003 adults, conducted by the research firms of Peter D. Hart and Robert M. Teeter" (The Washington Post).

IRS, UNION DECLARE IMPASSE OVER LAYOFFS--"Negotiators for the Internal Revenue Service and its union reached an impasse yesterday over the agency's plan to lay off between 1,400 and 1,600 workers. The dispute was turned over to a federal panel, which will impose a settlement" (The Washington Post).

ADMINISTRATION CONSIDERS MOVING FOREIGN AFFAIRS AGENCIES TO STATE DEPT.--"The Clinton administration is seriously considering a long-discussed overhaul of the government's foreign affairs agencies as part of an effort to accommodate Senate Foreign Relations committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), a persistent critic of administration policy. The agencies under consideration for consolidation or merger into the State Department are the Agency for international Development (AID), which administers U.S. economic and humanitarian assistance abroad; the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), which handles arms control and nuclear nonproliferation policies; and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA), which sponsors international broadcasting and cultural exchange programs" (The Washington Post).

ONE IN FOUR U.S. FAMILIES CARES FOR AGING RELATIVES--"The dramatic effect of this country's rapidly graying population is hitting home, with a nationwide survey released today showing nearly one in four households involved in the often stressful, time-consuming task of caring for an aging relative. The comprehensive look at care-giving found that 22.4 million families are providing physical and emotional assistance to older relatives or friends--a threefold increase from a decade ago" (The Washington Post).

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