Monday December 9, 2013
As of the end of November, Thrift Savings Plan funds have increased in value dramatically this year. Of the five non-lifecycle funds available to federal employees for investment, four have seen gains in value.
The S, C and I Funds have increased 34.40%, 29.17% and 20.32% respectively. The much more conservative G Fund has increased 1.69%. Of course, no one can know how long these funds will continue to garner such strong returns. History shows that once funds go up, they eventually come down, but over the long haul, investments gain value. The exception to the recent upward trend is the F Fund which is down 1.13% for the year through November.
You can read more in a Fedsmith story.
Sunday December 8, 2013
In a panel discussion last week, three former directors of the US Office of Personnel Management outlined some major flaws in how the federal workforce is managed. They touched on promoting tenured employees to supervisory positions despite their lack of management potential, evaluating employee performance and doing more with less.
In federal government -- as in other levels of government, the private sector and the nonprofit sector -- some managers just aren't cut out to manage people. "Some people just stink at being supervisors, yet it's the only way to reward them for their expertise, for their experience, for their contribution," former OPM director in the Clinton administration Janice Lachance said.
This problem is compounded by what George H.W. Bush-era OPM director Constance Berry Newman calls " a lot of phoniness in the appraisal systems." The system incentivizes managers to go easy on their employees in performance evaluations.
Budget pressures force federal agencies to do more with less. But according to Linda Springer, OPM director under George W. Bush, the doing more with less mantra is not right. "I really, really have a strong aversion to doing more with less. Take out those two middle words, and just do less," she said. If you try to do everything cheaply, quality greatly suffers, she also said.
You can read more in a Government Executive story.
Thursday December 5, 2013
Many government retirement systems allow employees to cash in unused sick leave and vacation leave to add to their service credit which makes them eligible for retirement sooner. Everyone needs a vacation now and then, but employees who burn through their leave do not have the option of swapping leave for service credit.
Some government workers want to retire as soon as they reach eligibility. This gives them access to their annuity payments and plenty of time to start another career after exiting public service. Employees who intend to retire as soon as they are eligible should not waste their leave time.
Read more: Mistakes that Delay Retirement from Public Service | How Government Retirement Systems Work
Tuesday December 3, 2013
There are several forms of government a municipality can organize itself under. No matter which form of government a city adopts, voters are ultimately in charge. Elected officials and high level public administrators might think differently at times, but they ultimately answer to the people.
Many large American cities operate under the strong mayor form of government. The mayor is directly elected by the citizens and runs the day-to-day operations of government. Even though the mayor is immensely powerful, he answers to the people.
Another common form of city government is the council-manager system. Under this set-up, the city manager runs the daily operations at the direction of the mayor and city council who are elected. These elected officials answer to the voters.
Read more: Who is in Charge in City Government?