Federal Benefits Become a Fixture in the Fiscal Cliff Debate – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • What do you think of the role of the CIO in your office? Is s/he the tech expert in command of the IT staff or a top executive involved in strategic business decisions (or both)? Is s/he a peer or a subordinate to the CFO? Does the answer to these questions make a difference? We get answers from the author of the CIO Paradox – Martha Heller.

But up front: Should Feds get Christmas Eve off?

GovLoop’s Andrew Krzmarzick weighs in on the issue.

Apparently, a bunch of federal employees have banded together to create a petition on the White House’s “We the People” platform which has garnered nearly 5,000 signatures. Here’s the language from the petition:

Federal employees have had a pay freeze for the past several years and the pay and benefits for the federal workforce have been under serious attack during the national elections held this year.

Giving federal employees an extra holiday on December 24th, 2012 would be a good gesture to improve morale of the federal workforce.

This is also consistent with past practice. President Obama provided a half-day off on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24, 2009. President George W. Bush provided a half-day holiday on Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2002, as well as several full days off the day before or after Christmas: Tuesday, December 24, 2001, Thursday, December 26, 2003, Tuesday, December 24, 2007, and Thursday, December 26, 2008.

Fiscal Cliff Update

The Washington Post reports, House GOP leaders endorsed a debt-reduction plan Monday that would raise tax collections by $800 billion over the next decade, but they refused to budge on higher tax rates for the wealthy, the central issue dividing Republicans and Democrats. In making a counteroffer to President Obama, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other senior Republicans suggested that a framework laid out by Democrat Erskine Bowles last year could serve as a starting point for talks aimed at averting the year-end “fiscal cliff.”

That framework aims to raise new revenue through an overhaul of the tax code. It also calls for slicing $600 billion from federal health programs, in part by increasing the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, and saving $200 billion by applying a less generous measure of inflation to all federal programs, including Social Security benefits, according to GOP aides.

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel’s Tech Priorities 2013

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel: federal IT priorities for FY 2013

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The Pentagon’s top technologist has left the Defense Department and joined IBM. The New York Times reports, Zachary Lemnios is now the vice president for research strategy. Mr. Lemnios, 58, has been with the Obama administration, for nearly four years. Before that, he was chief technology officer at M.I.T.‘s Lincoln Laboratory, a federally financed research center for advanced technology with national security applications, and previously a senior official at the Pentagon’s futuristic research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. No word yet on who will replace Leminos.
  2. The Thrift Savings Plan has unveiled their year-end transaction processing schedule. The TSP processing schedule for the end of 2012 is shown below. The schedule includes information about when transactions (including withdrawals and monthly payments) will be processed, as well as when the TSP will be closed during the holiday season.
  3. The Wall Street Journal reports the intelligence summary relied on by U.N. envoy Susan Rice in TV appearances five days after the attack in Libya was the fruit of a highly cautious, bureaucratic process that had the effect of watering down the U.S.’s own intelligence. The 94-word intelligence summary emerged from a daylong email debate between more than two dozen intelligence officials, in which they contested and whittled the available evidence into a bland summary with no reference to al Qaeda, an assessment the administration now acknowledges was wide of the mark.
  4. Federal pay and benefits have made it into the fiscal cliff debate. Government Executive reports, House GOP leaders reiterated their belief that reductions to federal employees’ compensation should be part of a deal to decrease the deficit. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent President Obama a counter proposal to reduce the deficit and in an accompanying letter, mentioned federal compensation reforms included in the House budget resolution. That resolution, which House lawmakers approved in the spring, would extend the federal pay freeze, shrink the government workforce by 10 percent through attrition, and require feds to contribute more to their pensions.
  5. FCW reports, two members of Congress, reaching across the partisan divide, are pushing the government to think broadly — governmentwide — about open-source software, provoking warnings from industry groups that they are ignoring the core principle of technology neutrality.
  6. The National Archives appointed its first chief innovation officer. Pamela Wright will launch an “innovation hub” at the agency to foster a culture of innovation. Specifically, the Archives said she will launch collaborative projects, raise public challenges and build partnerships with universities and other outside groups. Wright was the agency’s chief digital access strategist and launched its social media platforms. She created the “citizen archivist dashboard” that uses crowdsourcing to tag, transcribe and edit articles. And on
  7. GovLoop – you still have time to attend our half day in-person training event going on next Thursday here in the District. NextGen plus will feature:
    1. Insights to become a brilliant communicator
    2. Launch your gov career with savviness
    3. Learn to network within and outside of your organization
    4. Training takes place next Thursday
    5. Register with Promo Code DOROBEKINSIDER and get $20’s off

The DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
What are the least trusted jobs in America? The Atlantic has the list:

Happy 20th B-Day to the Text Message

ABC News reports, It was 20 years ago today that the first text message was sent. It was Dec. 3, 1992, and Neil Papworth, an engineer working in the UK, sent the world’s first short message service or SMS. It read “Merry Christmas.”

Weather Service draws fire for halting Sandy review panel; agency cites regulations –

The Washington Post reports, the agency’s Sandy forecasts were widely praised for their accuracy, but the agency has been challenged on why it never issued standard hurricane watches and warnings, opting instead for non-tropical “high wind warnings,” “coastal flood warnings” and other advisories. That decision may have caused some to take the storm less seriously, critics said.

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