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Eric Katz

Senior Correspondent Eric Katz writes about federal agency operations and management. His deep coverage of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Postal Service has earned him frequent guest spots on national radio and television news programs. Eric joined Government Executive in the summer of 2012 and previously worked for The Financial Times. He is a graduate of The George Washington University.
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Fired Whistleblower Receives $820K Settlement from Labor Department

June 7, 2013 A former Labor Department employee has accepted an $820,000 settlement from the federal government after being fired for blowing the whistle on poor agency practices, according to a public-sector employee advocacy group. Richard Whitmore worked for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for more than 20 years as the agency’s...

Mail Carrier’s Scam Thwarted by Price Is Right Appearance

June 7, 2013 A U.S. Postal Service employee has pleaded guilty to committing workers’ compensation fraud after an appearance on The Price is Right demonstrated inconsistencies with her alleged work-related injuries, according to court documents. Cathy Wrench Cashwell indicated in her paperwork in 2011 that she was not capable of “standing, sitting, walking,...

Preserve CBP Overtime While Canceling Furloughs, Lawmaker Says

June 6, 2013 As congressional appropriators consider granting Customs and Border Protection the flexibility to avoid furloughs this year, one lawmaker is urging his colleagues to preserve overtime for the workforce as well. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Az., whose district’s southern edge borders Mexico, wrote a letter to leadership on the House Appropriations Committee...

MSPB Could Face ‘Unprecedented’ Wave of Furlough Appeals

June 5, 2013 The Merit Systems Protection Board is bracing for the “unprecedented situation” of mass furlough appeals, according to an agency official. MSPB -- a quasi-judicial, independent agency that adjudicates appeals of “adverse personnel actions” from federal employees -- is responsible for issuing rulings on furlough appeals. Bryan Polisuk, general counsel for...

OPM Issues Guidance on How to Partially Retire

June 4, 2013 The Office of Personnel Management has released additional details on the phased retirement option for eligible federal employees, spelling out implementation plans for the proposal signed into law nearly one year ago. Phased retirement -- which allows eligible federal employees to work part time while collecting prorated pension payments --...

Secret Man Caves Found in EPA Warehouse

June 4, 2013 A warehouse maintained by contractors for the Environmental Protection Agency contained secret rooms full of exercise equipment, televisions and couches, according to an internal audit. EPA’s inspector general found contractors used partitions, screens and piled up boxes to hide the rooms from security cameras in the 70,000 square-foot building located...

Supreme Court Awards Fed’s Death Benefits to Ex-Wife, Despite Remarriage

June 3, 2013 The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a Virginia state court’s decision to allow the ex-wife of a deceased federal employee to collect life insurance benefits from the federal government. In its decision, the high court said federal law trumped a state provision that would have given Warren Hillman’s death benefits...

Treasury Suspends Investments Into G Fund

June 3, 2013 The Treasury Department has suspended investments into the government securities G Fund, using the most stable of the federal employee pension funds to delay hitting the government’s debt ceiling. Suspending investments into the Thrift Savings Plan’s G fund -- which collects on interest-bearing Treasury bonds that make up the public...

Americans: Furloughs Were So Last Month

May 31, 2013 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Are people no longer looking for furlough information? That’s one of the conclusions that could be drawn based on trends in Google search data. While the mandatory unpaid days of leave are causing hardship for thousands of federal workers, data from the millions of searches conducted on Google’s servers reveal...

Unemployment Compensation for Furloughed Feds?

May 31, 2013 Some federal employees will take week-long furloughs in an attempt to collect unemployment insurance, according to a CNN report. A union local in Philadelphia -- an affiliate of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers -- has negotiated with Navy officials to allow the bunched furloughs, rather than the...