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Veterans Affairs employee wins cost-cutting contest

December 11, 2009 Allowing veterans to take unused medications home upon hospital discharge was the top cost-saving strategy in a governmentwide contest, the Office of Management and Budget announced on Friday. Nancy Fichtner, a Veterans Affairs Department employee from Colorado, submitted this suggestion to the Securing Americans Value and Efficiency Award contest held...

Leveling Off

December 10, 2009 The 2010 Defense Authorization Act's mandate to move the 200,000 employees covered by the National Security Personnel System back to their old pay arrangements has created a number of logistical questions. Among them, it was unclear how the Pentagon would handle employees whose salaries increased so quickly under pay for...

Administration announces finalists in cost-cutting contest

December 7, 2009 President Obama on Monday announced the finalists in a contest for federal employees to help improve government efficiency. The Securing Americans Value and Efficiency Award originated in April with Obama's call for an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to help federal agencies perform better and save taxpayers money. From Sept. 23, when the...

Bill caps flexible spending account contributions

December 4, 2009 Federal employees with costly chronic health conditions could see out-of-pocket expenses increase if flexible spending account contribution limits remain part of health care reform. Health care reform legislation under debate in the Senate caps FSAs at $2,500 beginning in 2011. The House version of the bill, approved on Nov. 7,...

The Real World

December 1, 2009 To recruit young feds, agencies have to reach beyond Facebook and YouTube. Federal agencies are catching on to the social media craze and leveraging that technology to attract job seekers, especially young recruits. For example, the Labor Department advertises open positions on Twitter and plans to upload its recruitment videos...

Job seekers continue to value face-to-face interaction

November 30, 2009 Federal agencies are catching on to the social media craze and leveraging that technology to attract job seekers, especially young recruits. For example, the Labor Department advertises open positions on Twitter and plans to upload its recruitment videos to YouTube. The State Department regularly updates its Facebook page and maintains...

Postal Service employees will receive pay raise in December

November 23, 2009 U.S. Postal Service employees will see a wage boost when Dec. 11 pay checks are distributed, as the latest in a series of raises took effect on Nov. 21. The increase is part of a 2006 agreement with unions, which also includes cost-of-living adjustments subject to economic conditions. Employees represented...

Mental and physical health conditions get equal out-of-network coverage

November 20, 2009 Enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program finally will have their mental health care covered at the same level as all other medical conditions, thanks to changes enforced by the Office of Personnel Management. Mental and physical health benefits have been at parity for in-network care since the Clinton...

House panel pushes for answers on Social Security backlog

November 20, 2009 The Social Security Administration has made headway in reducing backlogs in disability claims but still has work to do, witnesses told a House panel on Thursday. The number of claims filed is increasing faster than the agency can hire and train new employees to handle the workload, said Michael Astrue,...

Panelists urge continued support for military’s anti-smoking efforts

November 18, 2009 Effective smoking cessation efforts are under way for military members and veterans, but continued funding and better access is needed, panelists told lawmakers from the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues during a Wednesday briefing on tobacco use. Women face particular challenges to quitting, panelists said. While male service members are...

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