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Federal Employees News Digest : Dec 2, 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: email@example.com 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. December 2, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 20 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com my great-great-great-whatever. Some say he was run out of town, others say ridden out of town, others yet say that the towns- folk forgave and had a good laugh. His version of a practical joke is a little much for me. Because after all, it involved lying (unless he really believed it) for an extended period of time. And playing on people’s religious beliefs and faith. So I make no apologies for him. But the point is that his genes are coursing through my veins. So I turned out to be a reporter, a member of the media. Covering the government no less. And although D.C . is a long way from Ohio, 170 years later, I nonetheless have a lot in common with my fun-loving ancestor. Not much has changed. But I try not to scare people with end- of-the-world forecasts. I don’t know any more than you do. Sometimes, because I am based in D.C ., that probably means I know a lot less than you do. Lately the news out of Washington, for members of the federal family, has hardly been good. It seems like every day a congressional committee, a think tank, a blue-ribbon White House panel or the Congressional Budget Office comes out with a plan to whack federal benefits, reduce the size of government, and slow the growth in pay and pensions. In fact the highly respected, nonpartisan, CBO just issued a special report for the joint House- Senate Committee meeting on a possible compromise budget plan. Six of the 100-plus money-saving ideas involve federal workers and retirees. One would boost retirement contributions for feds hired next year. Another would increase them 1.2 percent for current employees. Still another would change the yardstick used to measure inflation so that future raises for federal, postal, mili- tary and Social Security retirees would be about 3 percent less than under the current method. Over time—because it hits Social Security recipients too—it would save bil- lions of dollars. Over a lifetime of retirement, going to the chained CPI (the new yardstick) would cost typical federal retirees $20,000 to $30,000 in benefits not received. A pro- posal to base future retirement benefits on the employee’s highest 5 years of salary is also out there. The switch from the high-3 to high-5 formula wouldn’t be as serious as the chained CPI proposal. But feds hate it when they hear it. Which reminded me of a letter given to me by Tammy Flanagan. She also covers the federal beat and she gave me a copy of a letter the Air Force sent out to employees. It was meant to be a heads-up. Not a fright show, but an alert that Congress was about to do some stuff that would change their careers. Among the things listed: • Congress was likely to raise retirement contributions. • Congress was ready to change the ben- efits formula from the high-3 to the high-5. • Congress planned to reduce future cost-of-living adjustments for retirees. The letter was similar to others sent out by federal agencies to their people. And the “imminent threats” were duly reported by yours truly, and others covering the fed- eral beat. And they were well-intentioned at the time. But wrong. Did I mention that when the Air Force’s warning letter to employees was sent out, Ronald Reagan was president? That was in 1985, a long time ago. And it didn’t happen. Those warnings have been repeated nearly every year since. So far, nothing has hap- pened. True, times have changed. The pro- federal employee White House first pro- posed the federal pay freeze. Only partisan bickering (which can sometimes be good) has kept hard-liners in Congress from whacking your benefits. So while it hasn’t happened up to now, things could be different this time around. Or next year. We’ll just have to wait. And we’ll try to keep you up to speed without overstating the dangers. Meantime, if some guy in the Cincinnati- Dayton area tries to convince you that it doesn’t matter, that the world is going to end soon anyhow, don’t sell your house. And don’t quit your day job. INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1 © 2013 Government Employees Health Association, Inc. All rights reserved. • Higher maximum benefits up to $15,000 for High Option, • Larger dental network in 2014 – 30% more locations Now includes access to Connection Dental and Cigna Networks, • Expanded orthodontia benefit, • Free preventive care, in-network exams, X-rays and two cleanings per year, • Comprehensive coverage fillings, root canals and other services, • No deductible, • No waiting period for most procedures, • See any dentist. GEHA – Good answer. GEHA answers your dental care questions. GEHA’s FEDVIP dental plan offers: (877) 590-GEHA gehadental.com/GetAnswers The registered marks “Cigna” and the “Tree of Life” logo are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. and network administration services are provided by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company.
Nov 25, 2013
Dec 9, 2013