News Briefs

January 6, 1997

News Briefs

The following news summaries are from OPM AM, the daily newsletter of the Office of Personnel Management. OPM AM is available on OPM Mainstreet, the agency's electronic bulletin board, at 202-606-4800.

SPECIAL RATE--"Most federal employees working in 'hard-to-fill' occupations and who are being paid in a special rate will receive a pay increase of 2.3 percent beginning January 1997. The special rate pay increase was authorized by OPM and will go to approximately 162,000 employees. The 2.3 percent increase equals that given to employees working under the General Schedule" (OPM Office of Communications News Release, January 3, 1997).

THE FEDERAL DIARY--"Predicting what Congress and the White House will or won't do to the civil service is like long-range weather forecasting: Predictions are about 90 percent accurate 40 percent of the time." With that in mind, Mike Causey makes predictions for 1997 (The Washington Post).

WORKPLACE--The office Totem Pole is being supplanted by workstations that put upper management elbow to elbow with everyone else. "The days when executives were ensconced in comfortable corner offices are gone" at one global consulting firm. "Now, everyone lives in 'neighborhoods' -- workplace groupings aimed at increasing collaboration and spontaneous interaction. It's a concept quietly gaining momentum in corporate America as management looks at ways to increase productivity" (The Washington Post).

WOMEN--"Women are making slow headway toward parity with men in the workplace, say the authors of a study on women's changing lives in America" (The Washington Post, Odd Jobs).

OF INTEREST--Stanford and Columbia universities have just released the results of a two-year study that looked at the hiring practices of 80 Western branches of a large bank. The study found that job applicants who were referred by employees had a big edge in getting interviews and in being offered jobs (The New York Times)..A briefcase may not be a window to the soul, but people sure like to know what's inside (The New York Times).

OTHER VIEWS--OPM to participate in one day counseling service for vets (Jackson Progress-Argus, Jackson, GA, December 4)...OPM expands children's benefits (Hudson Valley Black Press, Newburgh, NY, December 4)...Advantage Care ranks high in FEHBP consumer satisfaction (Times-Tribune, Corbin, KY, December 12)...Use FEHBP as model for Medicare (Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX, December 6)...Listings highlight "plum" positions (Federal Computer Week, Falls Church, VA, December 2).

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