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Federal Employees News Digest : Sep 23, 2013
Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Public Sector Media Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$39 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $39. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. September 23, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 10 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com During the recession, many companies like this laid off people, resorted to fur- loughs or forced people to take pay cuts ranging from 5 to 25 percent (did that too!). Of the few that offered employer matches to 401(k) plans, many stopped doing that. That included Sears, Hewlett- Packard and Starbucks. Many who dropped the employer match changed (as in lowered) it significantly when it was resumed. A 200-year old company that, while creaky, is still around. It has a monopoly on a number of services. In many cases, it doesn't---like its competitors---have to pay rent. Its start-up costs have long since gone away. Or were never considered. It has a well-educated workforce. Salaries for lower-level and mid-career jobs are very competitive. Especially when benefits are factored in. At the upper levels, people could make more at other places. It hasn't had a layoff since the 1990s. The downside to the company is that it has a huge board of directors. They range from near geniuses to near idiots. A few are relatively poor. A number are millionaires. The board is divided in four factions, each one hating the other three. The board tends to put things off, then act (often hastily, often wrong) at the last minute. The CEO says nice things about the workers, but is either aloof or preoccupied. Pay has been frozen for several years, but about one-third of the employees get an automatic 3 percent raise each year. The bad news is that the board, of late, has cut funding for the operations that bring in about 93 percent of revenue. And it is plan- ning further cuts. The biggest component of the operation had six furlough days this year, and says it may have to have limited layoffs starting in October. And its work- load is expected to increase, especially in its overseas, Middle East branch. The pension plan at option No. 3 is excellent. So are the health benefits. But the board of directors has taken itself out of the health program so it can be expected to slide over the years. And there is talk of making people pay even more for their retirement benefits. So which do you choose? Well, if you picked option No. 3, you are home free. That employer, as you surely guessed from the description, is the federal government. It does some things others aren't allowed to do, and it does some things nobody else wants to do. Or can do. Working for Uncle Sam has been a safe haven, especially during the recent/current recession. But for how much longer? As the economy improves, the job market will come back. Unfortunately for job-hunters, many of the jobs that are coming back or will be created are low-paying. Many, prob- ably most, companies won't be offering decent health insurance. Or 401(k) plan options. Some of the smaller one's don't or won't have sick leave and vacation time. Meantime, as of now, the government is on a semi-war footing even as the military has been cut back and civilian feds have been furloughed. Defense is talking about RIFs (reductions in force) in the upcoming fiscal year. The FBI announced bureau- wide furloughs next fiscal year with all but the most critical personnel being forced to take the same days off. The government continues to be a great place to work. For now. But the future isn't looking all that bright. And it starts next month! INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1
Sep 16, 2013
Sep 30, 2013