Attention, Thrift Savings Plan participants: You can now check your online account information at tsp.gov more easily via smartphone.
Although the site was previously available via phone, the mobile version is designed to work with Android and iOS operating systems to provide an “optimal viewing experience,” the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said in a news release today. (And there’s no need to download an app.)
The board actually launched the mobile version Sept. 30, but held off from an announcement because of the partial government shutdown that began the next day, spokeswoman Kim Weaver said. The word is apparently getting around, though. Just in the last week, there have been more than 60,000 smartphone log-ons to the mobile version of tsp.gov, according to the release.
After sailing through the House on a 407-0 vote Saturday, a bill to guarantee back pay to furloughed federal employees now appears to have become a Senate bargaining chip in the stalemate over ending the partial government shutdown.
“I think it’s really premature to be dealing with that until we deal with the underlying problem,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said today, according to the website for Roll Call. “”We’ve offered a number of bills to try to alleviate some of the hardship, and . . . they’ve all been swatted down out of hand.”
Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., did not respond to an email asking whether Reid planned to bring the back pay legislation before the full Senate this week.
Agencies began implementing their shutdown plans today and many federal employees have been told they will not report to work until Congress passes a continuing resolution or appropriations bill.
For those of you who are still working, how does it impact what you do? Your work?
For those of you who were sent home, what does this mean for you?
Feel free to comment on the blog post or email email@example.com
It looks like Donald Trump is interested in expanding is collection of used federal buildings.
Having recently completed a deal with the General Services Administration for the Old Post Office building in Washington, Trump told the Washington Post that he would be interested in buying the current FBI headquarters as well.
GSA has been looking for a new location for the agency, which has outgrown its dated 1970s headquarter in Washington. GSA has requested proposals from developers on how it could trade the old headquarters for a new one in the area.
So far prime targets are an old FBI warehouse in Springfield, VA as well as undeveloped land in Prince George’s County.
Home to many federal agencies and employees, the nation’s capital is feeling the brunt of sequestration, counting thousands of fewer government jobs this year and tens of millions of dollar likely to disappear from the local economy next year.
“We’re beginning to see some alarming trends,” D.C. Department of Employment Services Director Lisa Mallory said in a phone interview. “We’ve seen a big decrease in federal jobs.”
From January through July, government jobs decreased by 7,000. And city officials, who outlined their concerns in a press briefing last week, say that after cutting the unemployment rate from more than 10-percent two years ago to 8-4 percent in December 2012, the jobless rate inched up to 8.6-percent in July.
City budget director Eric Goulet said in an interview that another concern is that with contractors seeing cutbacks, office vacancy rates could pick up.
“The mayor will obviously try to minimize service impact as much as possible, but you can’t always,” he said.
Overall, city finance officials project sequestration could strip $60 million in revenue from the city’s economy in fiscal 2014.
While many feds sit in the office most of the day, a few at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., recently spent their work day smashing a Marine CH-46E helicopter fuselage filled with 15 dummy passengers into the ground.
The experiment aimed to test seats and seat belts and gauge the odds of surviving a helicopter crash.
You can read more about the testing here, but for an inside look at what goes on when a helicopter falls from 30 feet, check out the video released by NASA. The guys in the front row didn’t seem to far too well, but officials say the results will take a while to fully analyze.
Travel spending at federal agencies have been cut drastically in the last year or two. OMB asked agencies to cut travel spending and in some cases agencies cut them by up to 30 percent.
How have all of you been affected by these drastic cuts in travel spending?
Feel free to comment below or to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When David Frankel’s idea didn’t win a $50,000 Federal Trade Commission competition seeking the public’s ideas on combating illegal robocalls, he wanted to find out why.
So he called. He wrote. He even filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FTC. And soon enough, the records he received back convinced him that the FTC’s competition this year was basically a PR stunt.
This week, the California entrepreneur went to court to make his case, which you can read about on Federal Times, but it’s also worth taking a look at the email exchanges between Frankel and federal officials as he embarked on a frustrating search for answers.
“While I realize that in one dimension you consider me an adversary and you’d like me to go away, I think that you also realize that I am truly trying to contribute to solving the robocall problem …” Frankel wrote in one such exchange.
I happened to be at the 35th annual sandcastle competition at Rehoboth Beach, Del., and saw that at least one sand sculptor had turned to current affairs for inspiration. I am sure you all can figure it out.
A former State Department contract employee and her husband pleaded guilty Friday to fraud and conspiracy charges in a scam to steer tens of millions of dollars in embassy construction contracts.
Kathleen D. McGrade, 64, and Brian Collinsworth, 47, face up to 30 years in prison after their pleas in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. A sentencing date is set for Nov. 8.
In plea documents, both admitted that McGrade, as contract specialist for the State Department, steered nearly $40 million in embassy construction work from 2008 to 2011 to her husband’s company, while keeping their marriage a secret from coworkers.
The contracting company that reaped the windfall, the Sterling Royale Group, had been launched with McGrade as the own and Collinsworth as project manager, according to prosecutors.
“The scope and breadth of this fraud is reprehensible, not just because of the dollars involved, but because of the position of trust that Ms. McGrady held,” said Thomas J. Kelly, special agent in charge of the IRS criminal section in the Washington field office.
Federal Times reported in May how the McGrade case highlighted the varying ethics rules between government workers and contract employees.