Happy Wednesday — Chris Dorobek is off celebrating his birthday this week. So I will be filling in. We are going to do the show a bit differently this week. Each day we will feature a Dose of Dorobek — a shorter five minute interview that focuses on helping you do your job better and navigate around GovLoop. A little behind the scenes snooping.
On today’s program
- Those entitled, spoiled and self-serving millennials are entering the workforce in droves. Shhh I am one of them. Is that a good thing? The answer might surprise you.
- And in your watercooler fodder — the State Department’s plan to provide kindles overseas has hit a snag — you’ll find out why.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Wednesday the 22nd of August
- President Obama told Congress he is going to order a small pay increase for federal employees. But the raise won’t take place until next spring at the earliest. The Associated Press says it will be a modest raise, averaging 0.5 percent. In a letter, the president says federal employees have already sacrificed under a two-year pay freeze. But Congressional leadership has promised a six-month continuing resolution instead of a new 2013 budget. So the president would extend the freeze until after the CR, or April 2013. In response, the American Federation of Government Employees has urged a freeze on health care premiums.
- Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget looked at all the 2013 spending bills stuck in Congress. Acting Budget Director Jeff Zients said if they all pass, the White House will have to do a little sequestering of its own. Federal News Radio says that’s because the bills add up to more spending than allowed by last year’s Budget Control Act. The law allows OMB to cut enacted budgets if they’re too fat. That’s an alternative to the more famous, 10-year sequester which happens if there is no Congressional deal.
- Wildland firefighters are paving a path for other part-time feds to get health insurance. The government agreed last month to cover firefighters who were working around the clock to slow the fires in Colorado. The Office of Personnel Management said agencies can request the same benefits for temporary employees performing related services. Federal News Radio reports that could include forestry technicians, dispatchers and others who are helping fight fires out West. OPM said agencies should make a request based on what the employee does rather than on their job description. It said agencies also need to consider the size and scope of the disaster and the number of temps it needs to respond.
- Pentagon showing only modest progress toward cleaning its books. Government Executive says the Defense Department is at “considerable risk” of not meeting its internal goal of a clean budgetary statement by 2014 and fulfilling Congress’s mandate of auditable financial statements by 2017. Dan Blair, the Defense Department’s deputy inspector general for auditing, said that despite the Pentagon’s quest to get a handle on the billions of dollars it disburses, officials lack “certainty that they are paying the right person the right amount at the right point in time.” There is progress in applying new requirements, Blair said, “but the progress is difficult to see and slow.”
- The Army’s in the cloud. Federal Computer Week reports, the Defense Information Systems Agency says the enterprise e-mail program which includes 500,000 Army accounts have been migrated to the cloud. They’ve also migrated roughly 20,000 other Defense Department users – including the Joint Staff and the U.S. European Command.
- Norwegian weapons company Kongsberg has won a major deal with the U.S. Army to supply remote weapons stations for vehicles. Defense News reports, the contract is worth up to $970 million over the next five years. Kongsberg will also supply production, system support and technical engineering support for the remote weapons stations.
- And on GovLoop, please join us at the Your Data Center Blueprint Training. The webinar will help you consolidate data centers and bring new efficiencies into your agency. The webinar kicks off this Thursday at 2pm.
A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
- The State Department has cancelled plans to buy Amazon Kindles and distribute them to embassies worldwide. The agency said it plans to do more market research and re-examine its requirements. It had announced the $16.5 million contract in June. FedBiz reports at the time, the department said only the Kindle would do. It would not consider Apple’s iPad because it had a shorter battery life and additional features. The State Department said those presented too many security risks. It wanted to use the e-readers in English-language classes and other activities for six million young people overseas.
- Last year’s earthquake didn’t do as much damage to the Washington Monument as inspectors originally thought. Fox News Reports, government surveyors say the quake didn’t cause the monument to sink further into the ground. The upper portion of the monument sustained several large cracks during the quake and the iconic obelisk will likely be closed for repairs until 2014. The repairs, estimated to cost at least $15 million, will require a massive scaffolding to be built around the 555-foot monument. The monument was built on land that used to be underwater and has sunk about 2.2 inches since 1901.
Coming up tomorrow on GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER
- You’ll meet a National Institute of Health Scientist who is pioneering the AIDS research for children. It is truly remarkable work and it has made her a finalist for the Service to America Medals. The Oscars for the federal government. Trust me you won’t want to miss it.