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Health Benefits for Temporary and Seasonal Feds

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

Temporary and seasonal federal employees will soon be eligible for enrollment into the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.

The newly eligible employees will be able to apply for federal health benefits no later than January 2015, pursuant to a final rule by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently published in the Federal Register. 

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Help Feds in Need—Support FEEA's Bill Bransford Helping Hands Fund

During this year’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) – join the effort of feds helping feds!

Consider contributing to the Bill Bransford Helping Hands Fund, which provides grants to federal employees in need for whom repayment of even a no-interest FEEA (Federal Employee Education & Assistance Fund) loan would create an undue hardship.

Bill Bransford, of the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C. and the publisher of the FEDmanager and FEDagent newsletters, passed away in September 2013.

"Bill was known as a champion of the federal workforce and dedicated his profession to advocating on their behalf. This fund recognizes that dedication and ensures that his legacy continues to truly help those in need. He'd approve, and ask you to join him in support," said Debra Roth, longtime law partner at Shaw Bransford & Roth, upon creation of the Fund.

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MSPB Reverses Dismissal of VA Whistleblower Case

A Veterans Affairs nurse filed a complaint with OSC on December 30, 2011, and disclosed to OSC that he believed medications were being improperly distributed to veterans, and that some patients had been granted access to off-limits areas. He filed an OSC complaint on July 24, 2012, claiming that in reprisal for his original disclosure his car was vandalized, he received patient complaints, was issued a “minimally satisfactory” evaluation, that he received a “double bind” proficiency review and summary review notice, and was subjected to a hostile work environment. On July 26, 2012, the employee informed the agency he planned to resign, and on August 12, 2012, that resignation became effective. After his resignation, the employee filed another OSC reprisal complaint, but was informed on March 7, 2013, that OSC was closing its investigation. At that time, the employee filed a Board appeal and requested a hearing. The MSPB administrative judge agreed with the employee that he had exhausted his administrative remedies with OSC, but ultimately found that he had failed to make a nonfrivolous allegation that the agency retaliated against him by creating intolerable working conditions that caused his involuntary resignation. The employee appealed to the full Board. On October 16, 2014, the Merit Systems Protection Board reversed the administrative judge’s finding, and remanded the case for an analysis of his involuntary resignation claim.

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2014 Sammies Showcase Federal Employees

Last month, the federal community came together to recognize the efforts of outstanding government employees at the annual ceremony for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, commonly known as the Sammies. The awards, sometimes called the “Oscars of the government workforce,” were given out at a black-tie gala that attracted government luminaries such as Attorney General Eric Holder, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. This year was the 13th edition of the awards ceremony.

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