Brittany Ballenstedt

Blogger Reporter Portrait for Brittany Ballenstedt writes Nextgov's Wired Workplace blog, which delves into the issues facing employees who work in the federal information technology sector. Before joining Nextgov, Brittany covered federal pay and benefits issues as a staff correspondent for Government Executive and served as an associate editor for National Journal's Technology Daily. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mansfield University and originally hails from Pennsylvania. She currently lives near Travis Air Force Base, Calif., where her husband is stationed.
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FBI to target IT workers during historic hiring blitz

January 8, 2009 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The FBI has launched a major hiring initiative aimed at filling more than 3,000 professional and special agent jobs left vacant due to retirements and attrition, the bureau announced this week. The FBI said on Monday that it expects to fill more than 2,100 professional staff positions throughout its field...

Lawmakers renew battle against pension provisions

January 8, 2009 An old fight resumed on Thursday when two House lawmakers unveiled legislation that would ease the burden of two Social Security laws that significantly reduce benefits for some public sector retirees. The bill (H.R. 235), introduced by Reps. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and Howard (Buck) McKeon, R-Calif., would repeal two provisions...

FBI seeks more than 3,000 new staff in historic hiring blitz

January 8, 2009 The FBI has launched a major hiring initiative aimed at filling more than 3,000 professional and special agent jobs left vacant due to retirements and attrition, the bureau announced this week. The FBI said on Monday that it expects to fill more than 2,100 professional staff positions throughout its field...

Consultant urges senior executives to develop transition game plan

January 6, 2009 Federal career executives should develop a common approach to building relationships with incoming political appointees and apply it governmentwide, a leadership consultant said on Tuesday. "After six months in a new job, you are destined to be a star," Watkins said. "But will you be a rising star, or a...

TSP rallies in December

January 5, 2009 All the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan finished December with solid gains, bringing hope to some investors who experienced significant losses in 2008. The I Fund, which invests in international stocks, posted the highest gains -- 7.66 percent -- in December, among the 401(k)-style plan's five basic investment options....

Beyond the Shuttle

January 1, 2009 As NASA makes another giant leap, the agency must shift its workforce to a new mission while safely finishing out the old one. When President Bush charted a new vision for space exploration in 2004, NASA began looking to what would be its most critical asset: its people. With the...

High-stakes transition could serve as a model

December 23, 2008 Gathering storm clouds. Turbulent rapids. Massive mountains. Observers are using many metaphors to describe the unique circumstances surrounding the upcoming transfer of power from President George Bush to President-elect Barack Obama. The United States has faced deeper crises during transitions - ranging from the secession of the Southern states during...

Group balks at Obama proposal to thin federal management ranks

December 18, 2008 Federal managers on Thursday urged President-elect Barack Obama to consider alternatives to a reform proposal that would reduce the number of mid-level managers in government. "An arbitrary cut of managers based upon an across-the-board ratio for all of federal service is not [emphasis in original] the answer," wrote the Government...

Second Chances

December 18, 2008 The Office of Personnel Management has given federal employees more than seven additional weeks to evaluate and enroll in a health plan for the 2009 season. With recent changes to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Option's out-of-network surgical benefits, it might be wise to take the extra time to...

Insurer renegotiates out-of-network surgery benefits

December 16, 2008 Blue Cross Blue Shield has reached an agreement with the Office of Personnel Management to change out-of-network benefits for nonemergency surgeries under its Standard Option plan, the carrier announced this week. The new arrangement will require enrollees to pay 30 percent of the plan allowance for an out-of-network procedure, plus...

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