President Barack Obama signed a 3.4 percent pay raise for service members into law Monday, making 2010 one of a handful of recent years where civil servants and members of the military won’t receive the same raises.
A spending omnibus signed recently by Obama gives federal employees a 2 percent raise. Obama said earlier this year that the economy made giving civilian employees the same raises as the military prohibitive. Unions have pledged to return pay parity in 2011.
The military raise was included in the fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations bill, HR 3326.
President Barack Obama will officially name Howard Schmidt, President Bush’s former cybersecurity chief, as the White House “cyber czar,” the White House has confirmed.
Schmidt spent about 18 months in the Bush administration, from December 2001 to May 2003, before returning to the private sector. He has also worked as Microsoft’s chief security officer, and eBay’s chief information officer; the White House says Schmidt’s close ties with industry were a factor in his appointment.
The Washington Post first reported the news of Schmidt’s nomination last night. Schmidt was long considered one of the two front-runners for the job, which Obama announced he would create during a White House speech on cybersecurity in May.
We’ll have more details about the announcement, including reactions from the cybersecurity community, throughout the day.
Still snowed in from the weekend’s snowpocalypse? D.C.-area employees who cannot report to work Tuesday may request unscheduled leave for the entire day, according to an Office of Personnel Management announcement issued Monday afternoon. Employees do need to notify their supervisors of any leave.
Emergency employees will be required to report to work as scheduled, according to an Office of Personnel Management memo.
Non-essential federal employees received an excused day off on Monday as the area recovers from more than a foot and a half of snow.
The Great Blizzard of Aught-Nine — or as this reporter calls it, Snowmageddon* — has now closed the federal government for the first time in nearly seven years. The Office of Personnel Management this afternoon announced federal agencies in the Washington area will be closed on Monday.
Non-emergency employees — including employees who already had preapproved leave scheduled for Monday — will be excused. Employees who have telework agreements in place may have to work from home or other telework site.
Emergency employees must show up for work on time tomorrow. Sorry guys.
Closing the entire government in the nation’s capital costs $102 million per day, OPM Director John Berry said earlier this month. (The last time the government closed was in February 2003.) The closure will also mean most feds will only work two-and-a-half days this week — they’ll get their usual day off on Christmas Day, and President Barack Obama has granted feds half a day off on Christmas Eve.
Enjoy your day off, feds! Have some hot chocolate, go sledding, play in the snow with your kids. But whatever you do, FedLine does NOT recommend throwing snowballs at armed police officers.
* Yes, FedLine is aware Facebook and everybody else is calling it Snowpocalypse. I like Snowmageddon, and I’m sticking to it.
Sen. John McCain doesn’t know why the fiscally-strapped United States Postal Service sent him a folio of 2009 commemorative stamps, but he thinks the expenditure is “irresponsible.”
In a Dec. 16 letter to USPS Postmaster General John Potter, McCain said the USPS has no business sending freebies to selected members of Congress while the organization has a $7 billion deficit and wants to close 170 post offices.
Until the Postal Service no longer owes American taxpayers billions of dollars, I request that you refrain from spending limited Postal Service resources on unnecessary items such as engraved albums showcasing commemoratives (sic) stamps for members of Congress and instead focus on moving the Postal Service to fiscal solvency.”
USPS’ response? They planned to end the program all along, said Marie Therese Dominguez, vice president of government relations and public policy, in a Dec. 17 letter to the senator.
Our fiscal reality precludes the continuation of this program, which was intended to highlight the beautiful commemorative stamps issued by the Postal Service each year.”
McCain announced the resolution on his Twitter account, SenJohnMcCain, and said he applauds the USPS’ decision.
The crack online staff at Federal Times has just unveiled a nifty new feature — our first iGoogle gadget. IGoogle lets you customize your Google homepage and collect all the federal news you need in one place.
Simply follow this link to add Federal Times to your iGoogle homepage. Once it’s in place, you can click on tabs to see the latest headlines from FederalTimes.com, FedLine, our expert columns on retirement, money, career and legal issues, and our polls.
The last year or so has been an exciting time for Fed Times’ online presence. We started our first blog, unveiled a major overhaul of our home page, launched online forums and social networking features, and now this.
And our trusty Web-slingers are hard at work thinking up fresh new ways to get you the news. Keep reading FederalTimes.com through 2010 for new features and innovations!
President Barack Obama signed into law a 1.5 percent pay raise and an average 05. percent locality pay increase for federal civilian employees on Dec. 16. The raise takes effect January 1, 2010.
The pay raise is included in a fiscal 2010 spending omnibus which funds the following agencies: Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation and Veterans Affairs departments.
The only appropriations bill not signed into law is Defense, which the Senate may pass today. The House passed it Dec. 16.
Attention NORAD Tracks Santa fans…Santa arrives at the North American Aerospace Defense Command tomorrow for his annual mission brief! NORAD will have video and a full report on its NORAD Tracks Santa site (WARNING: site plays music) and facebook page.
Last time we updated you on the list of possible post office closures, in November, the Postal Service had whittled it down to 241, from an original list of roughly 3,300.
The Postal Service announced earlier this week that the list shrank again — to fewer than 170 post offices. The updated list is here (pdf). USPS officials tell me the list could still change again before it’s finalized; they’re hoping to begin closing post offices early next year, though that date is flexible.
Tags: post office closures
I did a quick post yesterday on Sen. George Voinovich’s hold on Rafael Borras, announced at yesterday’s DHS management hearing in the Senate Homeland Security committee.
One other colloquy from that hearing worth mentioning: Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., got into a discussion with Elaine Duke, the current undersecretary for management, about how many contractors work at DHS. McCaskill has been trying to get a hard number for years; the department finally sent her a spreadsheet last month, which lists 10,520 contractors in the Washington area. But it turns out even that figure might not be accurate. Here’s Duke:
The figures are based on algorithms… so they’re as accurate as we can get under the current conditions. There was an attempt about six years ago to start counting contractors… it was put out in the Federal Register as a public notice. The comment from industry was so strong that the notice was withdrawn, and the federal government did not go forward with that policy… we’re looking at that again, how should we be counting contractors, how should we be accountable.
Contractors say they’re being hired to provide a service, and it shouldn’t matter how many subcontractors they use to deliver a service; what’s more, they claim that’s privileged information. But it seems senators, particularly McCaskill, are going to push DHS to come up with an exact figure next year.