The Senate has confirmed 89 of President Obama's judicial appointees in 2014 – a record number of confirmations in the post-election lame duck session, according to analysis from the Brookings Institution. His judicial confirmation rate now exceeds that of previous two-term presidents Bush and Clinton.
Most military members will be receiving a one percent pay bump in the new year, a Dec. 22 Defense Department statement says. The DoD announced its 2015 military pay and compensation rates Monday. Congress froze pay raises for general and flag officers so they won't be seeing a pay raise in 2015.
Federal agencies are often encouraged to consult external stakeholders to assess the direction and impact of their policies, but there are many advantages to crowdsourcing within a given agency as well, says the General Services Administration.
Federal employees who take vacation or sick leave on a day when federal offices are closed due to inclement weather will now be charged for those days, a new Office of Personnel Management policy says. Previously, when agencies closed due to bad weather it was considered a non-workday, and an employee that had previously been approved to take the day off would not be charged for that day.
Agencies must look into how many senior executive positions they'll need overall in the next two fiscal years and report that number to the Office of Personnel Management by Dec. 31, a Dec. 12 OPM memo says.
The Office of Personnel Management has proposed a new way to measure how effective the government's health benefits program works. OPM is developing a new framework to analyze the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, according to a proposed rule (pdf) posted Dec. 15.
The Senate Dec. 10 approved a bill that would automatically enroll new federal workers into the Thrift Savings Plan's Lifecycle Fund rather than the Government Securities Investment Fund. The measure – which would not affect federal workers who are already enrolled in a TSP fund – heads to President Obama for his signature.
Federal government environmental departments are leading the way in diversity compared to private companies and nongovernmental organizations. But even with that, the percentage of racial diversity in those government agencies dealing with the environment are low, a recently released report from Green 2.0 says. People of color make up 15.5 percent of the federal government's environmental organizations. That's compared to 12 percent of private organizations and 12.4 percent of NGOs, says the report (pdf), which was released Dec.10 but was completed back in July.
Office of Personnel Management officials continue to defend the agency's progress processing federal retirement claims, even though OPM has fallen short of internal goals. OPM is currently processing about 83 percent of retirement claims within 60 days of receiving them, while the agency's goal is to process 90 percent in 60 days, OPM statistics show.
The Postal Service is paying significantly more in costs to supervise city mail carriers than it does for rural carriers, says a Dec. 2 USPS inspector general report. For every 100 employees, supervisory costs – including salary and benefits – for city carriers were about $440,000 on average in fiscal 2013, the report (pdf) says.