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Federal Employees News Digest : Oct. 22, 2012
4 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com without condition and disclosures from federal contractor employees," Angela Canterbury, director of public policy for POGO, said in a statement. "This unprecedented Presidential Policy Directive is leveled at the endemic culture of secrecy in the intelligence community and the dearth of accountability it foster," Canterbury also said. "While this directive is not a panacea, it begins to fill a large void in whistleblower protections and lays the framework for more government accountability where it is sorely needed. "Because the president directs agencies to create procedures for internal review of claims, we will be very interested in the rulemaking and strength of the due pro- cess rights in practice," Canterbury added. All of the advocates FEND spoke with about the directive expressed similar con- cerns that the rulemaking be done in such a way as to ensure that its essence is car- ried out. To see more, go to: www.pogo.org, www.citizen.org or www.whistleblower.org. Annuitants to get 1.7 percent COLA The Social Security Administration last week announced a 1.7 percent increase in Social Security benefits for 2013. The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment will begin in January 2013 for about 56 mil- lion Social Security beneficiaries. Eligible Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees Retirement System retirees both will receive a 1.7 percent increase in their annuities in 2013. SSA also said the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax in 2013 will increase to $113,700 from $110,100, an increase expected to affect about 10 million workers. An SSA COLA increase is based on the rise---if any---in the average Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or CPI-W, for July, August and September, compared to the same peri- od's average the prior year. A 1.66 percent increase in 2012 over the average in 2011 produced the 1.7 percent COLA for 2013. In 2012, CSRS retirees received a COLA of 3.6 percent---by law the same as the 2012 Social Security COLA. Under the rules for setting COLAs for FERS, if the CPI-W index is above 3 percent, FERS retirees receive 1 percent less. Consequently, in 2012 FERS annuitants received a COLA of 2.6 percent. Measured response National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Joseph Beaudoin called the COLA "welcome news." "We at NARFE are pleased to hear that retirees will receive some relief from the rising costs of everyday goods," Beaudoin said in a statement. "NARFE continues to support strong COLAs based on fair assessments of increases in consumer prices, including medical costs, to keep federal annuities in line with inflation." Beaudoin said his organization was pre- pared to oppose "any changes to the COLA formula that would have an adverse effect on retirees." American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox said the COLA news could have been worse. "While next year's COLA is much smaller than the increase federal retirees and Social Security recipients received at the beginning of this year, it could have been much worse." Cox said in a statement. "Under the deficit reduction plan proposed by Morgan Stanley Director Erskine Bowles and ex-Senator Alan Simpson, the annual COLA would be cut by three-tenths of a percentage point." Cox said that would have resulted in a 1.4 percent COLA. "Although a 0.3 percent cut doesn't sound like much, it adds up over time," Cox said. "Over 10 years, that 0.3 percent difference would mean a 3 percent cut in benefits. Over 20 years, the loss in benefits rises to 6 percent." To see more, go to: www.ssa.gov/pres- soffice/pr/2013cola-pr.html, or http://tinyurl. com/dxe8l7m (AFGE) or http://tinyurl.com/ c2ogpqc (NARFE). ••• In Brief MSPb completes revisions The Merit Systems Protection Board announced this month that it has com- pleted its nearly two-year effort to revise its adjudicatory regulations. MSPB pub- lished a final rule on the revisions in the Oct. 12 Federal Register. The revisions, which will become effec- tive Nov. 13, come in the wake of what MSPB called "an unprecedented review"--- and the first significant reconsideration of its regulations since the agency was cre- ated in 1979. The revision initiative---launched in January 2011---took into account sugges- tions from MSPB staff, the results of an internal MSPB working group's review of the regulations, input on those rec- ommendations, and input solicited from stakeholder agencies, organizations and individuals during a comment period. "Today marks the culmination of a tre- mendous amount of work by MSPB staff with broad participation and input from our stakeholders and the public," MSPB Chairman Susan Grundmann said in a statement. "We greatly appreciate the comments we received throughout the process, and they improved the final rule," she said. "As a result of this input, we are going to step back and look even more closely at our jurisdictional regulations in a follow-up rulemaking this fiscal year. We look for- ward to further improving our regulations for everyone, and we pledge to monitor and review the impact of the changes published today." The board now is pursuing outreach efforts to brief legal, labor and human resources professionals on the changes. continued from page 3 October 22, 2012 Vol. 62, No. 15 4 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com continued on page 5
Oct. 15, 2012
Oct. 29, 2012