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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Reserve Returns

August 30, 2007 If you are an active or retired federal employee who took military leave for reserve activities, you may be entitled to annual leave or thousands of dollars in back pay. In a major decision issued Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the Merit Systems...

IRS seeks strategy to recruit, retain employees

August 28, 2007 The Internal Revenue Service must develop strategies for retaining employees to offset a looming staffing shortage due to retirements over the next four years, a panel of agency overseers declared last week. Members of the IRS Oversight Board, which met on Aug. 15, said human capital issues represent a major...

Employee groups praise Gonzales -- for leaving

August 27, 2007 Federal employee groups and government officials praised Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' decision to resign Monday, saying it is the first step to restoring credibility to a department that has been plagued with low employee morale and political pressure under his leadership. "Gonzales' resignation was inevitable," said John Gage, president of...

OPM proposes new rules for electronic retirement system

August 24, 2007 The Office of Personnel Management has issued a proposal aimed at accommodating changes associated with implementing its new electronic retirement record-keeping system. The proposed rules, published last week in the Federal Register, would authorize alternative methods for processing retirement, health and life insurance applications, notices, elections, and other records under...

Benefits Bills

August 23, 2007 There's little action right now in the area of potential legislative changes to federal pay and benefits, since Congress has adjourned for its August recess. But it can't hurt to check in on some pending legislation that could affect your checkbook if it advances when lawmakers return. H.R. 1110 This...

OPM unveils technology to speed security clearance processing

August 21, 2007 Completed background investigations for security clearances will be sent via electronic transfer under a pilot project initiated by the Office of Personnel Management. Under the pilot, OPM, which conducts 95 percent of background investigations, will electronically deliver the results of such reviews to the Army Central Personnel Security Clearance Facility...

Officials to shore up TSP against transaction influxes

August 20, 2007 The current system that processes transactions under the Thrift Savings Plan is capable of handling increased activity from market fluctuations, but will need to be updated, TSP officials said Monday. At a monthly Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board meeting, officials overseeing the 401(k)-style retirement plan said that increased volatility in...

Continuing Coverage

August 16, 2007 Federal employees may find themselves shelling out a lot more money for health insurance if their children don't secure their own coverage by the time they reach their early 20s. That's because the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program only provides insurance to dependents until they turn 22. "Young adults are...

Ditching Debt

August 9, 2007 Student loan repayment programs are an excellent perk attached to pursuing public service -- if agencies choose to use them, that is. Some agencies use loan repayment as a tool to lure talented workers into government jobs and keep them there. Since 2002, agencies have had the authority to grant...

House backs full collective bargaining rights at Defense

August 6, 2007 The House on Saturday approved a bipartisan spending bill amendment that would protect the collective bargaining and appeal rights of civilian employees as the Defense Department overhauls its personnel system. The amendment, offered by Reps. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., Walter Jones, R-N.C., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., was added to the...

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