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Building A Better Carrot

April 15, 2007 Pay for performance is on the rocks and agency budgets are tight, but dedicated managers still find ways to reward and recognize employees. Lois Maxwell's $200 steak lunch began as a lark. A supervisor in the Labor Department's Office of Workers' Compensation, Maxwell noticed her team never reached all four...

Pay Ploy?

April 12, 2007 Federal employees who oppose leaving the General Schedule often fear that switching systems is just a scheme to cut their pay. New numbers from the Congressional Budget Office challenge that premise. According to a March CBO paper titled, "Characteristics and Pay of Federal Civilian Employees," those paid under the General...

Caring for Others

April 5, 2007 Federal salaries support more than the employee earning them. More than half of government workers care for someone other than themselves -- either children or elderly parents. Twenty percent more expect to care for someone else eventually. In many cases, federal employees' children are cared for at home. According to...

Closing Loopholes

April 1, 2007 Two exceptions to the burdensome federal hiring process could disappear. Before Sago, W. Va., became synonymous with disaster when a coal mine exploded, the industry already had a problem. In September 2003, auditors at the Government Accountability Office found that 44 percent of federal mine inspectors were eligible to retire...

Loud and Clear

April 1, 2007 Homeland Security's Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson answers to his employees. As the No. 2 guy at the No. 1 most watched agency in government, Homeland Security Department Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson answers to Congress a lot. He's testified 11 times since taking the position two years ago. Jackson answers to...

Shielding Benefits

March 29, 2007 A hand shot up from the audience at the National Postal Forum in Washington this week. A man wanted to know why, in December's postal reform law, Congress and the president didn't reduce health and pension benefits to make the U.S. Postal Service -- where labor costs account for 78...

Falling Through the Cracks

March 15, 2007 The military struggles to combat the rising suicide rate among Iraq veterans. His tale is heart-rending. Pvt. Jonathan Schulze, a 25-year-old Marine from Minnesota, hanged himself in January shortly after returning home from Iraq. Schulze had sought help at a Veterans Affairs medical center, but was put on a waiting...

Honey Pot

March 15, 2007 The Thrift Savings Plan has grown into a $200 billion retirement behemoth, but its nearly 4 million participants might be surprised to learn how their money is managed. On Oct. 17, 2006, Terry Duffy made an $8 billion purchase. Duffy, executive chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, bought the Chicago...

Raising Expectations

March 15, 2007 Pay for performance and market-based pay for government workers came into vogue in part because of their use at the Government Accountability Office. David M. Walker, the chief of GAO, has made federal human capital reform, as he calls it, a focus of his tenure, and has led by example....

Executive Extras

March 8, 2007 Do you ever wonder how generous your agency is with bonuses, and how it stacks up against others? Each year, the Office of Personnel Management releases data on career executive bonuses that allows such comparisons. The most recent information, which covers 2005, shows executives at the Veterans Affairs Department earned...

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