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Federal Employees News Digest : Nov 25, 2013
November 25, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 19 5 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com the second option, discretionary outlays would be reduced by $71 billion from 2015 to 2023, the report said. Heed CBO warnings Jessica Klement, legislative director at the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, told FEND in an email that her organization is "strongly opposed" to any options in the report that would "reduce the deficit on the backs of federal employees and retirees." But Klement said that it is important to note that CBO does not take a stance on policy, and that the options contained in the report are not policy recommendations, but rather CBO's objective analyses of the budget impacts of the options in the report. Moreover, she said, CBO makes clear mention of the risks posed by those options. "In the report, CBO explicitly recog- nizes that these policies could undermine the strength of the federal workforce," Klement said. "Policymakers should pay attention to those warnings, especially in light of the burdens and strains already placed on the federal workforce through the three-year pay freeze, the government shutdown and sequestration." See the report at: www.cbo.gov/sites/ default/files/cbofiles/attachments/44715- OptionsForReducingDeficit.pdf. Fiscal year ends in more losses for USPS The U.S. Postal Service reported a net loss of $5 billion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. It is the seventh consecutive year of losses for the organization. The losses come even amid implementa- tion of cost-saving measures, and gains in certain product lines, particularly package services. "We've achieved some excellent results for the year in terms of innovations, rev- enue gains and cost reductions, but with- out major legislative changes we cannot overcome the limitations of our inflexible business model," Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe said in a statement. "Congress is moving forward with legisla- tion that has the potential to give us greater flexibility and put us back on a firm finan- cial footing, and we strongly encourage that they continue moving forward." Total mail volume slipped slightly to 158.4 billion pieces in fiscal 2013, com- pared to 159.8 billion pieces a year ago. Package and Standard Mail volumes grew by 210 million pieces and 1.4 billion pieces, respectively, while First Class Mail fell by 2.8 billion pieces. Operating revenue---excluding a $1.3 bil- lion non-cash change in an accounting esti- mate---was $66 billion, compared to $65.2 billion in 2012. Operating expenses dropped to $72.1 billion in 2013 compared to $81 billion in 2012. USPS said savings from consolida- tions, post office hour changes, workforce optimization and other initiatives produced about $1 billion of savings in 2013. USPS said work hours in 2013 decreased by 12 million hours, despite an increase of about 774,000 delivery points in the year. One bright spot was the Postal Service's package services business. Package revenue increased by $923 million in fiscal 2013, or 8 percent, on a volume increase of 210 million pieces. Amazon pushes Sunday delivery USPS has been putting extra emphasis on its package business. Days before the USPS released its annual report, online retailer Amazon announced it was working with the Postal Service to establish Sunday delivery of packages, starting in the Los Angeles and New York metro areas. The company is aiming the Sunday deliv- ery at its Amazon Prime members, who get unlimited, free two-day shipping. Amazon said plans with USPS call for expanding the roll-out of the delivery service to more areas in 2014---including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Phoenix and others. "As online shopping continues to increase, the Postal Service is very happy to offer shippers like Amazon the option of having packages delivered on Sunday," Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer Patrick R. Donahoe said in an Amazon press statement. The effort comes as the result of a new negotiated service agreement approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, accord- ing to a Nov. 13 posting on the USPS Office of Inspector General blog. While USPS already delivers on Sunday with its premium Priority Mail Express product, the new option will be cheaper because it will be offered using the Postal Service's Parcel Select product. According to the National Association of Letter Carriers, USPS has begun Sunday delivery of Parcel Select packages in more than 900 ZIP codes across the country to test the new delivery option. "We're excited about the potential of the rapidly growing e-commerce market and what it means for the Postal Service," NALC President Fredric Rolando said in a statement. "It's important to take advan- tage of the universal postal network, which already delivers to 151 million homes and businesses throughout the nation six days a week---and which could do so on Sundays as well. That would benefit the economy, consumers, businesses and the nation as a whole." "NALC has been involved in and fully supports this effort, and we will continue to work with the Postal Service to grow this business in the future," Rolando said. See the Amazon announce- ment at: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/ phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol- newsArticle&ID=1874602&highlight=.The USPS report is at: http://about.usps.com/ news/national-releases/2013/pr13_087.htm. ••• In Brief VA trims disability claims backlog The Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it has reduced its backlog of disability compensation claims by one- third since March. VA said the backlog now stands at 400,835, down from a peak of 611,000 in March. In April, the department launched an initiative to eliminate the oldest claims first. VA said that the Veterans Benefits continued on page 8 continued from page 3
Nov 18, 2013
Dec 2, 2013