Agencies should focus on eliminating unnecessary functions and address poor employee performance to show they properly use funds because budgets may soon decrease, says the Merit Systems Protection Board. When addressing poor performance, MSPB first recommends employee training and development.
The federal workforce's training levels and age demographics make it hard to adopt new technologies or innovations and pose long-term risks as more workers reach retirement age, said members of a panel hosted by the Center of Strategic and International Studies. Carly Fiorina, co-chair of U.S. leadership in Development at CSIS, said there is "an unwillingness to change fundamental processes in a way that would permit the transformative power of technology to work."
According to numbers (.pdf) published Jan. 23 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 956,000 federal government employees are members of unions, some 26.9 percent of the total 3.5 million federal workers. This is down from the 28.1 percent member rate in 2011.
The Transportation Department lacks the data to properly determine acquisition workforce needs and goals for its operating administrations, which spent more than $5.6 billion on procurement in fiscal 2011, says the Government Accountability Office.
The new headquarters building for the FBI will have to house more than 11,000 employees but can't have more than 4,300 parking spaces, so the location will require access to multiple forms of mass transit, said Pat Findlay, the bureau's assistant director of facilities and logistics.
The Justice Department does not consistently check references for potential law-enforcement hires, says the agency's office of inspector general. Only three of the agency's 39 components reviewed for the audit have clear written policies that give specific guidance and questions for reference checks, says the report, despite the Office of Personnel Management and the Merit Systems Protection Board suggestions that agencies check references for all potential hires.
Officials from the General Services Administration and the FBI held an industry day Jan. 17 to discuss options to exchange the FBI's Hoover Building for a new development that would house more of bureau's personnel in a new location. The agency has submitted a request for information asking for input about the potential value of the Hoover Building and where best the FBI could be served.
When not on full-time activated status, personnel-related costs for a reservist are 22 percent to 32 percent those of a regular active-duty military member, the board says in its report (.pdf). Reserve Component forces represent 39 percent of total military manpower but account for 16 percent of the DoD budget.
The House is scheduled to vote on the week of Jan. 21 on a bill that will refreeze federal worker pay levels and reverse an increase called for in a Dec. 27 executive order from President Obama. The president's proposed pay increase of 0.5 percent is set to take effect March 27 and would be the first governmentwide cost-of-living adjustment since the pay freeze started in November 2010.
Up to 15 kinds of advanced goods and services will be created and managed from the research stage through final production and sale or patent-leasing through the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, says the National Science and Technology Council.