Kellie Lunney

Senior Correspondent Kellie Lunney covers federal pay and benefits issues, the budget process and financial management. After starting her career in journalism at Government Executive in 2000, she returned in 2008 after four years at sister publication National Journal writing profiles of influential Washingtonians. In 2006, she received a fellowship at the Ohio State University through the Kiplinger Public Affairs in Journalism program, where she worked on a project that looked at rebuilding affordable housing in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. She has appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, NPR and Feature Story News, where she participated in a weekly radio roundtable on the 2008 presidential campaign. In the late 1990s, she worked at the Housing and Urban Development Department as a career employee. She is a graduate of Colgate University.
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Trump Wants to Reward Good VA Employees, and Fire the Bad Ones

July 11, 2016 Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday outlined a 10-point plan to reform the Veterans Affairs Department and improve vets’ access to health care, promising to financially reward employees who do a good job, and fire those who don’t. “One of the most important reforms we can make is...

House, Senate Disagree Over Veterans’ Preference

July 11, 2016 The federal government's practices for hiring veterans have emerged as a sticking point between the House and the Senate. An amendment in the House-passed fiscal 2017 financial services spending bill would prohibit funds from being used to change the current policy on veterans’ preference in federal hiring. That measure is...

As VA Tackles Veteran Suicide, Its Image Problem Continues to Hurt Doc Recruitment

July 7, 2016 Veterans Affairs has hired nearly 800 psychologists and psychiatrists since 2014, but it still struggles to attract all kinds of doctors because of the department’s image problems, said the VA undersecretary of health. “Our applications for clinical positions across the board are down 78 percent,” since the patient wait times...

New Bill Strips Bonuses and MSPB Appeal Rights From VA Senior Executives

July 6, 2016 A new accountability bill aims to make it easier to fire and demote all Veterans Affairs employees, and would prevent department senior executives from receiving any bonuses over the next five years. The 2016 VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act is the latest effort by lawmakers to change the...

Lawmakers Want to Fast Track Hiring and Firing For Yet Another Troubled Federal Agency

July 6, 2016 Lawmakers want to make it easier for the Indian Health Service to fire problem employees, a response to the agency’s failure to fix long-standing management problems that have led to shoddy patient care and retaliation against whistleblowers. The latest federal employee accountability bill circulating in Congress would expedite the disciplinary...

John McCain Goes Straight Talk Express on Defense Personnel Reform

July 5, 2016 Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had some nice things to say about Defense Department employees during a recent event at a Washington think tank. But he also had a few choice words for the federal government’s hiring process and the Pentagon bureaucracy. “Our nation is blessed by the very hardworking [people]...

TSP Struggles in June

July 1, 2016 The Thrift Savings Plan struggled in June mostly due to the financial turmoil Brexit created, but it wasn’t all bad news: Four of its offerings posted positive returns last month. Fixed income bonds in the F Fund rose 1.80 percent – the biggest return of any TSP offering in June...

SES Performance Award Spending Cap Will Increase to 7.5 Percent in October

June 30, 2016 The Office of Personnel Management is reminding agencies to raise the spending cap on senior executive bonuses beginning in October, and said it would issue additional guidance soon on how to better reward top performers. The aggregate spending cap on agency performance awards for those in the Senior Executive Service...

More Than $100 Million in Taxpayer Money Mistakenly Went to Vets in Prison

June 29, 2016 This story was updated. The government improperly shelled out $104.1 million in disability compensation and pension payments over seven years to veterans in prison, according to a new watchdog report. The Veterans Benefits Administration failed to slash benefits given to vets incarcerated in federal, state and local correctional facilities between...

Members of Congress Really Seem to Like the TSP

June 28, 2016 House lawmakers have introduced a bill that would create a new retirement program for American workers modeled on the Thrift Savings Plan. The bill would automatically enroll private-sector workers without access to a retirement savings plan through their employer into an American Savings Account to help them build nest eggs....

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