Author Archive

Nathan Abse

Nathan Abse writes for Federal Employees News Digest and covers special-focus topics for Federal Daily.
Employee Policy

Three Mile Island: Whistleblowers saved the day ... after

A new documentary on errors made in the cleanup after the infamous 1979 nuclear accident reminds feds, and workers of all kinds, of the importance of whistleblowers—and the need for stronger whistleblower protections.

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Mike Causey

Remembering a favorite columnist—and longtime friend.

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Expert to feds: All of us can help fight rise in mental illness and suicides. Here’s how …

Nathan Abse interviews Dr. Asim Shah, Chief Psychiatrist for Harris Health in Texas and a leader in public mental health for Houston's 5 million people. Shah discusses our country's rise in suicides—and how feds and their families can help stem the tide. In distress? Dial 988!

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COLAs: Corporate experts OK 'chained CPI’—feds don’t

Feds and labor advocates continue to push back against corporate experts who think COLAs should be calculated using a "chained CPI" formula.

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Senior Citizens League surveys mark inflation worries—amid glimmers of hope

Nathan Abse interviews Mary Johnson, a Social Security and COLA expert with TSCL, on the economic issues affecting retirees—led by high inflation—and passage of Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, cutting future medical costs for retirees.

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Expert: Threats to feds follow Mar-A-Lago search—but action was 'unavoidable'

Nathan Abse interviews Kenneth Warren on the implications for feds of the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago, as mandated in a warrant seeking the return of classified and other documents—and the intense backlash from former president Trump and his MAGA movement. Warren is a civil service expert and professor of public administration at Saint Louis University.

Employee Policy

Report: Probe of DHS IG remains slow-going

The much-criticized Trump-era Inspector General continues to vex critics.

Benefits

Burn pit victims: Feds, unions hail PACT Act

Feds cheered the new law's signing this week, and the coming of far more comprehensive and fair health care coverage for millions of vets who were exposed to toxic U.S. military "burn pits" abroad.

Employee Policy

Reports: Former president promises politicized civil service—seeks donations off prospect

New reports describe the former president's increasingly loud calls to turn back the clock on America's more than a century-old apolitical government agencies, and turn them into direct instruments of a president's administrative and political power.

Employee Policy

Abortion rights: DOJ group complains WH weak on protecting feds

A longstanding group working to protect gender equality rights for federal employees is charging that, in the month-and-a-half since the Dobbs decision, the Biden administration has taken “no action" on this important slice of the issue.

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Expert: In W.Va. vs. EPA, SCOTUS curbs agencies—amid wider political landscape of “deep state” lies

Public policy expert Don Kettl discusses the parallel worlds of a Supreme Court curbing federal regulatory power and a popular world awash in (unfounded) "deep state" conspiracy theories—with both realms hostile to agency authority.

Employee Policy

West Virginia vs. EPA: To some, another win against the alleged “deep state”

The Supreme Court recently ruled to curb the EPA's power, with the possible implication of restricting federal regulatory strength in general.

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Expert: Survey shows morale drop among feds—but similar issues weigh on wider workforce

Nathan Abse interviews Iowa State University's "Dr. Politics," political scientist Steffen Schmidt, on recent polling revealing gloomier feds, against the broader context of worries weakening engagement across American workplaces—with causes that are economic, political and cultural.

Employee Policy

OPM data breach: Feds can claim their part of $63 million settlement

Affected feds, contractors and others can now seek monetary compensation for costs they suffered in the 2015 breach, through a newly launched settlement website.

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Retirement today: Inflation matters—but so do other factors …

Nathan Abse interviews Fritz Gilbert—a longtime writer on retirement—about the psychological and financial considerations retirees say, in hindsight, helped shape good outcomes in their decisionmaking process.

SCOTUS cuts EPA's power

Electric power plants were facing sharper curbs on gas emissions. Now it's the half-century old regulatory agency—and possibly others—that's been brought to heel.

Pay

Advocates, lawmakers laud firefighter pay boost

Federal wildland firefighters finally get long-awaited pay boost, and advocates are relieved.

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Union: Fed firefighters finally get big pay boost

Nathan Abse interviews NFFE's president, Randy Erwin, about the good news: Fed wildland firefighters finally got a big raise, at least for two years. But climate change is bringing far more fire danger to our country, and much of the rest of the world.

Employee Policy

Despite polarizing politics, civil service protections endure—for now

With hearings on the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection looming, political scientist Kenneth Warren discusses the danger extreme polarization poses to American politics—and, over time, the civil service.