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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Extra funds could help Social Security improve claims processing

February 7, 2008 President Bush's fiscal 2009 budget proposal will help the Social Security Administration tackle staffing shortages and a backlog on retirement and disability claims, the agency's commissioner said this week. The president requested $10.3 billion for Social Security's administrative expenses, a $580 million increase over what Congress appropriated in fiscal 2008....

Bush seeks repeal of law enforcement benefits for CBP officers

February 6, 2008 The White House wants to repeal a new law that allows Customs and Border Protection officers to retire earlier, according to budget documents released Monday. President Bush included in his fiscal 2009 budget a proposal to scrap recently enacted law enforcement benefits for CBP officers. The administration previously has said...

Bush seeks 2.9 percent civilian pay raise; 3.4 percent for military

February 4, 2008 President Bush proposed a 2.9 percent pay increase for civilian workers and a 3.4 percent pay boost for military personnel in fiscal 2009, according to budget documents released Monday. The proposed pay raises rebuff calls for military-civilian pay parity from several lawmakers. Last week, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers...

January a tough month for TSP returns

February 1, 2008 The three riskier funds in the Thrift Savings Plan funds experienced significant setbacks in January. The international investments represented in the 401(k)-style federal employee retirement plan's I Fund experienced the most losses for the month, falling 8.52 percent. But the fund experienced 12-month returns of 0.62 percent. The S Fund,...

The Replacements

February 1, 2008 VHA grooms a younger generation to ride out the retirement wave. At the start of this millennium, talk of an impending management crisis began to circulate in federal government. Forecasters said agencies were not equipped to meet a massive wave of retirements slated to surge through 2010. Now, eight years...

OPM touts success of performance-based pay

January 31, 2008 Federal agencies are using performance-based pay systems to create a results-driven culture, the Office of Personnel Management concluded in a report released this week. The report analyzes various demonstration projects and other pay-for-performance systems that collectively cover more than 298,000 federal employees. "This report shows performance-based pay systems drive improvements...

Winners and Losers

January 31, 2008 The new pay-for-performance system at the Defense Department is expected to set the pace for the rest of government for employee performance and improving leadership. And with recent hype surrounding this year's average Defense pay increase, workers governmentwide may no longer find that pace so unsettling. The Pentagon announced last...

House members press for military-civilian pay parity

January 30, 2008 Ten House members from the Washington area on Wednesday kicked off discussions over the 2009 federal pay raise by sending President Bush a letter calling for civilian-military pay parity. The lawmakers asked Bush to incorporate the principle of pay parity in his fiscal 2009 budget request, scheduled to be released...

Bush signs bill that sends unions back to bargaining table at Defense

January 29, 2008 President Bush on Monday signed into law defense authorization legislation that will fundamentally alter a new personnel system at the Defense Department. The fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Act includes language that would restore collective bargaining and appeal rights under the National Security Personnel System. It also would exempt all wage-grade...

Pentagon performance-based payouts average 7.6 percent

January 24, 2008 More than 110,000 employees under the Defense Department's new personnel system will receive performance-based payouts in their checks on Thursday, with the average pay increase and bonus amounting to 7.6 percent. Ninety-eight percent of employees working under the National Security Personnel System's Spiral 1 conversion received performance-based payouts this year,...

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