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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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Retirement Claims Backlog Progress Plateaus

December 8, 2014 After making progress earlier this year on eliminating the retirement claims backlog, the Office of Personnel Management is now back to where it was at this time last year, according to the latest statistics. The backlog of retirement claims filed by federal employees was at 14,039 by the end of ...

Government Doled Out Less Money in 2013 to Help Feds Repay Student Loans

December 5, 2014 The federal government last year significantly cut back on one of its most popular but rare perks – the repayment of federal employees’ student loans. Thirty-one agencies awarded more than $52.9 million in student loan repayment benefits to 7,314 federal employees in 2013. That’s nearly 31 percent fewer workers who ...

House OKs Bill With Pay Raise for Troops, Pay Freeze for Some Officers

December 4, 2014 The House on Thursday passed a $585 billion Defense authorization bill that would give service members a 1 percent pay raise in 2015. Lawmakers upheld the president’s recommendation to give troops a 1 percent pay boost next year – the same amount they received in 2014 – and slightly less ...

Military Pay Raise Set for 1 Percent

December 3, 2014 Service members are on track to receive a 1 percent pay increase next year, slightly less than the 1.8 percent boost that would take place automatically under the annual cost-of-living adjustment. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees released summaries on Tuesday of the final version of the fiscal 2015 ...

Military Pay Raise Set For 1 Percent

December 3, 2014 Service members are on track to receive a 1 percent pay increase next year, slightly less than the 1.8 percent boost that would take place automatically under the annual cost-of-living adjustment. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees released summaries on Tuesday of the final version of the fiscal 2015 ...

A Primer on Pay and Benefits During a Shutdown

December 2, 2014 The government probably won’t shut down next week. But if it does, we thought a refresher on how shutdowns affect federal employees’ pay and benefits would be useful. Once again, we’re down to the wire: Congress’ top priority over the next week is to pass legislation keeping the government open ...

Agencies Do Not Have to Grant Special Paid Leave to Feds Exposed to Ebola

November 26, 2014 Agencies should grant “excused absence” to asymptomatic, quarantined federal employees exposed to Ebola because of their work, the Office of Personnel Management has recommended. But they don’t actually have to do that, and can put certain limitations around that type of leave if they do. That’s the latest guidance from ...

VA Fires Another Senior Exec

November 25, 2014 The Veterans Affairs Department has fired another senior executive. Sharon Helman, the director of the Phoenix VA health care system, was the career official at the center of the scandal involving data manipulation and excessive wait times for patients seeking care. Helman was “formally removed” from federal service, the department ...

Changes to Catastrophic Health Protection in 2015 Should Reassure Feds

November 21, 2014 Federal employees and retirees will have some added health insurance protection in 2015 if disaster strikes. Beginning next year, many enrollees in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program won’t have to worry about paying separate (i.e., potentially more) out-of-pocket expenses for different benefits, like prescription drugs, the way some currently ...

Veteran Suicides Highlight Tragic Consequences of Bureaucracy

November 19, 2014 “Mom, I can’t go back there,” Clay Hunt told his mother back in March 2011. The place was just too stressful, said the Marine Corps combat veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress. Hunt wasn’t talking about Iraq or Afghanistan. He was talking about the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas. ...