UPDATE: OPM appears to have made a mistake in their press release. I sent them an inquiry this morning asking why their release called the results “record-setting” while growth was apparently flat from 2008 to 2009, and asked for exact numbers.
OPM spokesman Marcus Williams just sent me an e-mail saying federal employees pledged $282,620,139 in 2009, and $275,898,745 in 2008. That represents a 2.4 percent increase. OPM’s release has not yet been updated as of Wednesday evening.
ORIGINAL POST: Federal employees pledged nearly $276 million to charities during last year’s Combined Federal Campaign, the Office of Personnel Management said last night. That is roughly the same amount that feds raised during the 2008 campaign, and marks the first time CFC donations have not increased noticeably since 2002.
The poor economy may have been a factor in 2009′s flat results. Some campaign leaders were concerned last year that the lingering recession might discourage feds from donating, and some campaigns kept their goals flat from 2008, or even lowered them.
But OPM Director John Berry lauded federal employees for their generosity, and on Monday honored 11 feds for their leadership during last year’s Combined Federal Campaign charity drive. Berry wants to improve the public’s image of federal employees, and has often spoken of their charity during campaigns like the CFC and the Feds Feed Families food drive.
“Just as federal employees work for the American public in communities throughout our country, they also give back to these same communities through programs like the Combined Federal Campaign,” Berry said at the White House ceremony. “I am proud to recognize the volunteer efforts of federal employees, whose donations through the CFC program represent the largest workplace charity program in the world.”
Berry also presented awards to nine regional campaigns that recorded the largest pledge increases over 2008, and five other campaigns that took innovative steps to encourage employee contributions.
The Council for Excellence in Government, a nonprofit group that advocates for improving the government, announced today that it is shutting down on Feb. 15. Most of the Council’s programs and staff will be absorbed into the Partnership for Public Service. John Macomber, chair of the Council’s Board of Trustees, released a statement today that blamed the recession:
For more than 25 years, the Council has enjoyed a reputation for leadership and innovation and has served as a catalyst for constructive change at all levels of government. However, the current economic climate has made it extremely difficult to raise the funding required to continue and grow these vital programs. Moving these programs to the Partnership will improve efficiency, increase their impact and provide needed services to more government executives and organizations.
The Excellence in Government Fellows training program for mid-level federal careerÂ executives, which has trained more than 2,700 employees over the last 20 years, is one of the main programs moving to the Partnership. The Senior Advisors to Government Executives (SAGE) program will also move to the Partnership, as will the organization of Public Service Recognition Week each May.
The Council helped lay the groundwork for E-Government and the creation of the chief information officer position, organized town hall meetings between federal officials and members of the public, and released the so-called Prune Book every four years to profile top management jobs for new presidential appointees.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., plans to introduce a bill next month to cap executives’ pay — and the bill has a catchy name.
The “Stop the Greed on Wall Street Act” would ban companies that received cash from the Treasury Department’s financial rescue plan from paying any employees more than $400,000. That’s the salary currently earned by the U.S. president.
The cap would make $400,000 the max for total compensation, including cars, benefits and retirement, all of which have added up to millions of extra dollars for CEOs.
Outlining legislation he plans to introduce when Congress reconvenes next month, Sanders said the bill would prohibit companies that received cash infusions from the Treasury Department from paying any of their employees more in total compensation than the $400,000 salary of the president.
It’s unclear what the chances would be of passing such a bill when the House reconvenes the week of Nov. 17 for organizational meetings. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she’d like to see the House pass a second economic stimulus package soon, but no agenda has been set for when the House returns.
Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson this week, expressing their constituents’ outrage over executive pay and saying executives being able to leave with “golden parachutes” undermines public confidence in the financial rescue plan.
Regardless of what happens in November, expect to see executive pay remain a popular topic for months to come on the Hill.
Another day, another drop in the Dow.
The Dow had another heart-stopping day today, losing more than 500 points as of 4 p.m. And if you’ve looked at your TSP account lately, you might be having panic attacks and be contemplating drastic changes to your fund allocations.
That’s exactly what Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board members and staff are hoping you won’t do.
“This is not the time to sell low when you bought high,” said member Alejandro Sanchez at Monday’s board meeting.
The board urged participants to hang in there, saying market history proves short-term losses are just a speed bump on the way to long-term gains. A roller-coaster Dow, which reached milestones last week in terms of gains, shouldn’t inspire rash interfund transfers, said Chief Investment Officer Tracey Ray.
“A lot of events occurred in October. The market was up 5 percent last week, the highest since 2003,” she said.
So the advice? Hang in there. Don’t make irrational decisions. Remember your long-term goals. But if you really feel the urge to play with your funds, TSP offers unlimited transfers to the G Fund, tied to U.S. Treasury securities. That may be a decent option for those nearing retirement but not those with decades to go until cashing in.