NARFE comments salute, support and defend federal employees
Last week was a busy one for NARFE Headquarters. NARFE President Joseph A. Beaudoin issued two statements, one marking the 11th anniversary of the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, and another mourning the loss of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in the assault on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
NARFE Legislative Director Julie Tagen commented on a report from the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank, that claimed that public-sector employees work fewer hours a week than employees in the private sector. "By only surveying 1,776 federal employees, or .07 percent of the entire federal employee population, it's unlikely the researchers reviewed the time sheets of the federal team that landed the Curiosity Rover on Mars, prepared the United States for Hurricane Irene and are currently responding to the crises in Syria and Egypt," Tagen said. "As America's federal employees devote their lives to our country, it is insulting to belittle their contributions with reports that disparage their work ethic." Tagen also commented on House passage of a bill that would set customer service standards for federal agencies, pointing out that "federal agencies value customer service and already have the power to hold employees accountable for quality customer service standards." Referring to the prospect of budget "sequestration," Tagen added: "Congress should be using this time to deal with the bigger issues facing our nation, such as the troubling fact that we are about to lose 8 percent of the federal services on which Americans depend."
Open Season dates
Question: Has the Office of Personnel Management announced the dates of this year's Federal Benefits Open Season yet? More
House approves extended pay freeze
Government Executive Share
The House approved a six-month spending measure that includes an extended pay freeze for federal employees and members of Congress. As expected, lawmakers passed a $1.047 trillion continuing resolution for fiscal year 2013 that funds the government through March 27. The stopgap spending measure ensures feds, already working under a two-year pay freeze, will not see a salary bump until April at the earliest. More
Report confirms feds would feel the effects of sequestration
Government Executive Share
Using language protesting Republican budget tactics, the Office of Management and Budget released a congressionally mandated report detailing the impact of across-the-board budget cuts looming in January and provided a set of numbers that would affect nearly every agency and most of the federal workforce. More
Lawmakers concede USPS overhaul unlikely before November election
The Hill Share
Lawmakers are conceding that an overhaul of the struggling U.S. Postal Service won't be enacted before November's elections — and that any reforms passed this year may not be as sweeping as originally sought. With Congress set to skip town again in a few days, the House has yet to vote on its postal reform bill, despite suggesting it would it take it up over the summer. More
Phased retirement? Half of feds just don't know
Government Executive Share
According to the Pew Research Center, 26 percent of the U.S. population are baby boomers. Phased retirement offers fed-boomers the opportunity to stay in their position part time while continuing to make contributions to their Thrift Savings Plan. By staying on longer, senior employees will have the opportunity to train the incoming generation of feds. And who said there wasn't a solution to the incoming retirement brain-drain? Given the obvious benefits, what accounts for only 11 percent of feds knowing that they have a phased retirement option at their agency? More
Calorie restriction may not extend life
National Institutes of Health Share
In a 23-year study, scientists found that significantly cutting calories didn't extend the lives of rhesus monkeys. The result differs from previous work that linked calorie restriction to longer life in primates. Calorie restriction research has a long history. In the 1930s, investigators observed that some lab rodents lived up to 40 percent longer when fed a calorie-restricted diet. Since then, scientists have found that calorie restriction extended the lifespan of yeast, worms, flies and mice. But not all studies agreed. Some even found that certain mice died younger if they were on a calorie-restricted diet. More
Grandparenting well when adult children divorce
The Huffington Post Share
Grandparents are on tricky ground when their adult kids divorce. Emotions run high. The parents are in the thick of their conflict and may look to their own parents to validate and support their feelings and opinions. Grandparents may feel a need to protect grandchildren from fighting or to shield them from decisions that are being made. Meanwhile, their access to the grandchildren they love may be called into question. Just because they are related doesn't guarantee that a grandparent has legal rights for contact with grandchildren. More
The No. 1 reason you get interviews, but not offers
Why is it that sometimes the candidates who are clearly more qualified and have more relevant experience often don't get the job? Or, what goes wrong when you make it to the top two and then lose the offer to the other candidate? It is within this place that we often hear candidates talking about age, race, gender or any other type of discrimination. More
How high will the retirement age go?
U.S. News & World Report Share
Robert Benmosche, chairman of the insurance giant American International Group, recently said an increase in the retirement age was unavoidable. What surprised many is how high he predicted the age would go. "Retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old," Benmosche told Bloomberg. Currently, Americans are eligible for early retirement at 62 and full retirement at 66. The loss of retirement funds during the economic downturn forced many to acknowledge that they would have to work longer. More
In-flight first aid: What's a passenger to do?
Los Angeles Times Share
The Federal Aviation Administration doesn't regulate a passenger's emergency response, said Ian Gregor, an FAA spokesman. But, he noted, "We have very specific requirements on the amount and type of medical supplies airlines have to keep on board, depending on the seating capacity of the plane, as well as crew member training." Remember that flight attendants' first responsibility is safety, and first-aid training, including CPR training, is part of the package. More
Find the best handyman for the job
For a busy — or simply hammerphobic — homeowner, it sounds almost too good to be true: A hired handyman (or woman) could tackle your odd jobs for about a third of the cost, time and hassle of a general contractor. There are plenty of jacks-of-all-trades out there, but is it possible to find one you can really rely on? The answer is yes — provided you know where to look and what chores to give him or her. More
We are NARFE. Join us!
The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association is the only membership organization solely dedicated to protecting and preserving the benefits of all federal workers and retirees. NARFE is your legislative voice and your information resource. Join now.
Visit NARFE on the Web at www.narfe.org.
Please forward this edition of NewsWatch to friends and colleagues who might be interested in its content.