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Federal Employees News Digest : May 13, 2013
actual claims processed in March versus the 11,500 it had predicted. After several months of receiving an unanticipated number of claims, the backlogged inventory of claims at OPM at the end of March had been 36,603, up more than 10,000 from the 26,402 claims remaining at the end of December 2012. But by the end of April, OPM had reduced that number to 30,080. At the start of 2012, OPM had projected that its claims processing efforts would trim its inventory of backlogged retirement claims to 23,078 by the end of April 2013. Retirement ops scaled back But OPM’s gradual gains on trimming its retirement claims backlog may be about to change. The agency recently announced that it will scale back its Retirement Services business operations because of budget cuts caused by the sequester. Beginning April 28, OPM suspended all overtime for employees working in Retirement Services, and cut back call center hours to 7:40 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT, Monday through Friday. “While it is our hope that process improvements developed over the past year will ameliorate some of the adverse effects of these necessary actions, retirees should expect an increase in the time required to process their claims or respond to inquiries,” stated an OPM notice. OPM said any impact of the changes would be reflected in its monthly retire- ment claims processing report. To see more, go to www.opm.gov/ about-us/budget-performance/strategic- plans/retirement-processing-status.pdf, and www.opm.gov/retirement-services/ retirement-notice/. ••• In Brief Shifting of weather duties postponed The Federal Aviation Administration this month postponed a plan that would end contract weather observer (CWO) programs at airports across the country and shift weather-reporting duties to air traffic controllers. The FAA’s decision, made in the wake of criticism from a number of quarters across the aviation industry, will result in an extension of the CWO program at the nation’s airports until at least the end of the fiscal 2013. FAA also will reinstate CWO services at 14 airports where the services were discontinued this week. Airports Council International-North America, which represents governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada, was a vocal critic of the FAA plan, and applauded the FAA’s change of course. “ACI-NA is extremely pleased that the FAA will be taking time to work closely with airport operators and other affected stakeholders on its CWO transition plan,” ACI-NA President Greg Principato said in a statement May 2. “ACI-NA will con- FedCentral • Job Listings • Government Contacts • Links to Discount Sites for Feds • Chart of the Month • And more! Visit FedCentral now! http://federaldaily.com/pages/fedcentral.aspx your federal employee resource! May 13, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 41 6 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com continued from page 5 continued on page 8
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