Countdown: Boehner on fed jobs, IT spending cuts

Today’s Federal News Countdown guests are:
Tim McManus, Vice President, Partnership for Public Service
Dan Mintz, Chief Operating Office, Powertek

Tim McManus’ stories
#3 White House warns agencies to prepare for wave of retirements
From Federal Times:

Agencies must get ready for a renewed wave of retirements, the White House says in its proposed 2012 budget.

An aging federal work force, combined with a recovering economy, could push retirements and other separations to more than 300,000 in 2011, the budget said. Between 2005 and 2008, the number of separations each year ranged from 244,000 to 252,000. But the recession slowed older employees’ retirements and encouraged others to hold on to their jobs longer. In 2009, separations fell to 212,000.


#2 GOP lawmakers seek to freeze bonuses, step increases
From Government Executive:

House lawmakers want to take the two-year civilian pay freeze a step further by canceling any increase in compensation this year.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., on Wednesday introduced an amendment to House spending legislation that would deny federal employees step increases allowed under the General Schedule. A similar amendment to the continuing resolution from Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., would prevent any appropriated funds from being used for federal employee salary increases.

#1 John Boehner says 200,000 new federal jobs have sprouted since start of Obama’s term
From PolitiFact:

In a Feb. 15, 2011, press conference, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that “over the last two years since President Barack Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We’re broke. It’s time for us to get serious about how we’re spending the nation’s money.”

A few readers asked us whether Boehner was right about the number of new federal jobs, so we checked into it.

Dan Mintz’s stories
#3 NARA’s costs soared for digital archive, GAO says
From Federal Computer Week:

Development costs have more than doubled and aren’t under control for the National Archive and Records Administration (NARA)’s digital archive project, now projected to cost as much as $1.4 billion over its life cyle, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Since 2001, NARA has been developing the Electronic Records Archive (ERA) to preserve and provide access to a variety of digital records. But due to revisions in the original requirements and weaknesses in applying management control, estimated development costs to complete the current phase have risen from $317 million to $567 million, and are likely to go higher, GAO said in the Feb. 4 report.

#2 Army taps Second Life for troop and family support
From NextGov:

The Army is bringing a program to improve troops’ physical and emotional well-being into the Second Life virtual world.

The service is strengthening its Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, established in 2008, with a “virtual resiliency” campus on an Army island in Second Life, said Maj. Gen. Reuben Jones, commander of the Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. The campus will offer soldiers and their families exercise tips as well as online, avatar-led classes to improve their physical fitness. The emotional, social, family and spiritual sections will help troops develop coping mechanisms and deal with post-deployment readjustment, Jones said.

#1 OMB puts $2B in IT spending on the chopping block
From Washington Technology:

Eight federal agencies and departments would see more than 10 percent cut from their IT budgets under a management reform program for fiscal 2012, a senior White House official said today. Other federal organizations would have smaller reductions.

“We are cutting what we cannot afford and deploying game-changing technologies,” Vivek Kundra, federal CIO, said in a press call with reporters.