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Federal Employees News Digest : April 8, 2013
considering the totality of the informa- tion gathered in this research, the Panel finds that the preponderance of the testi- mony presented by agency cybersecurity, national security, ethics, human resources and other experts supports the conclusion that posting personal financial information as required by the act does indeed impose unwarranted risk to national security and law enforcement, as well as threaten agency missions, individual safety, and privacy." The report's findings spell out that threat more explicitly. "An open, online, searchable, and exploitable database of personal financial information about senior federal employ- ees will provide easy access to 'high qual- ity' personal information on 'high value' targets," said one key finding. The report included excerpts from agen- cy letters on the issue, including from the Defense Department: " Our initial assess- ment is that Internet posting of these detailed financial reports would unnecessarily expose DOD personnel to harm from criminal enterprises or hostile foreign interests"; and the State Department: "Criminals and foreign intelligence services would undoubtedly wel- come receiving the expansive, detailed infor- mation contained on OGE-278 reports about the finances of the department's Foreign Service and Civil Service personnel, as well as the personnel of other agencies whom the department hosts abroad at U.S. embassies and consulates." Senior Executive Association President Carol Bonosaro commended the report, but called for repeal rather than suspension of the requirement. "NAPA has reached the only possible conclusions regarding the consequences of the STOCK Act's provision requiring posting financial reports on the Internet," Bonosaro said in a statement. "What is baf- fling, however, is the Academy's failure to reach the logical recommendation---that of repealing the requirement." "This leaves it to Congress to take the only action which makes sense, and the association urges that it do so," she said. See the full report at: www.napa- wash.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/ STOCKactFinal1.pdf. Lawmaker says USPS had little choice on consolidations A senator close to postal reform efforts says the U.S. Postal Service's recent deci- sion to speed up facility consolidations is in part a result of Congress's failure to enact postal reforms. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he does not blame USPS for announcing it will accelerate the consolidation of 53 mail processing facili- ties, characterizing it as a painful move in the face of USPS insolvency. Carper, who with other key lawmakers has been calling for comprehensive postal reform, said in a statement that the deci- sion to speed up consolidation should not come as a surprise "given the U.S. Postal Service's dire financial situation..." Carper, who last year cosponsored the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012, said that the postmaster general is simply "moving forward to implement additional cost-cutting measures with the limited tools at his disposal." "It is painful any time the possibility emerges that a community could lose a postal facility---be it a post office or a distribution center---and I know that the impacted communities are grappling with the ramifications of the Postal Service's proposals," Carper said. "Despite this dif- ficult news, it's hard to condemn the post- master general for moving to do what he believes he can and must do to keep the lights on at the Postal Service, which may be only months away from insolvency." Carper said that while problems at the Postal Service are "eminently solvable," Congress and the administration so far have been unable to agree on reforms. While efforts to pass reform legislation failed in the last Congress, Carper expressed hopes that members of the House and Senate who currently are working on a bicameral set of reforms will be able to enact a bill quickly in the new session. To see more, go to: www.hsgac.senate. gov/media/majority-media/chairman- carper-statement-on-usps-plans-to-con- solidate-53-mail-processing-facilities- ahead-of-schedule. The National Postal Mail Handlers Union also has posted a list of the affected facilities online at: www.npmhu.org/media/news/image/ Advanced-AMP-List_001lores.pdf. Senator: Cut employees 'paid to do nothing' Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) last month said that agencies should remove from the federal payroll any employees who are "paid to do nothing," rather than furlough employees in critical positions. "It makes little sense to furlough air traf- fic controllers and border patrol agents," Coburn wrote in a March 27 letter to Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry, "while retaining employees who are AWOL [absent without leave], on standby, not performing official duties, or sitting idle awaiting security clearances." As an example, Coburn cited an over- sight report on AWOL federal employees his office released in 2008 that found that employees at 18 departments and agencies were AWOL for "at least 19.6 million hours between 2001 and 2007." Coburn also took aim at so-called "offi- cial time" that certain employees spend during work hours to attend to union- related activities. He pointed to an OPM report that found that such time spent by employees cost the federal government $155 million in 2011. He also noted the expense of paying for "standby" employees. "While it makes sense to have some on standby, such as employees of the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, others are less obvious, such as standby employees at the Agricultural Marketing Service," he wrote. While most of his letter targeted federal workers, Coburn did not spare federal con- tractors, specifically those who are draw- ing pay while awaiting security clearances, which can take months. "Under current arrangements, these employees are paid large salaries during waiting periods, but are not given mean- April 8, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 36 4 Visit us on the internet at www.FederalDaily.com continued on page 5 continued from page 3
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