Please pardon our dust! The SEA website and membership database are under construction until mid-May due to some exciting changes that are in progress. Until then, we will not be issuing any new member identification numbers. Please email any membership inquiries to action@seniorexecs.org. Also, SEA Headquarters has a new address. Going forward, please send all USPS correspondence to 7918 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 300, McLean, VA 22102. We look forward to unveiling a brand new SEA website in mid-May which will greatly enhance your membership experience. Stay tuned and thank you for your patience!

How Do We Govern in a Post-Fact World?

This opinion piece was written by Joseph Maltby, a change management specialist in the U.S. federal government and a member of Young Government Leaders.

The data, turning on the news, and even our own experience tells us that there is intense political disagreement right now.  Not just over the right thing to do but even on basic facts.  People disagree about which pieces of evidence are real, what they mean, and who can be considered a reliable source.  Leaving aside the question of why this is happening, there’s another question to answer about what it means for government and the work of you, the leaders who make it work.  What might the next 10-20 years look like for you? There are three scenarios to choose from and prepare for.  Which one do you find most convincing?

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Seven Ways to Clean Your Financial House This Spring

 

Spring is on the way. For many of us, the increasingly longer days and warmer weather signify a chance to tidy up and start fresh. If you enjoy the ritual of spring cleaning, why not take time to spruce up your finances as well? The following list is a great place to start:

1. Your goals. If you set New Year’s financial resolutions, now is a good time to evaluate your progress. If you’re on track – excellent! If you’re not where you hoped you’d be, recommit to your goals. Identify what obstacles are in your way and create a plan to overcome them. If you need help deciding what to do next or how to stay on course going forward, consider meeting with a financial advisor who can provide you with a second opinion and help keep you accountable to your progress.

2. Your portfolio. As you evaluate your financial goals, it may be helpful to also review your portfolio, as the two often go hand-in-hand. Take a look at your asset allocation and ask yourself the following questions: Are you still diversified and invested according to your ability to withstand a potential market drop and the timeframe of when you need the money? And, do you understand why you are invested in the assets you have? Answering these questions can help you decide if you need to rebalance your asset allocation or make other adjustments to your investing strategy.

3. Your budget. There’s a good chance that your cash flow needs will vary in the summer months to come. In addition to summer travel, you may need additional funds for things like child care or extracurricular programs while your kids are away from school. Take time to plan ahead now so you can enjoy the summer fun while still feeling confident that you’re prioritizing retirement and other financial goals.

4. Your credit report. Did you know the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – are required by law to provide you with one free credit report annually? Make it a habit each spring to check your credit report. Doing so is a good way to ensure accuracy, protect against identity theft, and help you prepare for what interest rate you may receive if you plan to make a big purchase soon (such as a vacation home or new boat).

5. Your protection needs. While de-cluttering, take time to review life, home, auto and disability insurance policies to make sure you are still satisfied with your level of coverage. If you’ve experienced any life-changing events, such as divorce or the birth of a child, it’s possible that your needs have changed.

6. Your benefits. Even though open enrollment is typically in the fall, spring is a good time to make sure the benefits you selected are being maximized. Scheduling regular appointments with medical professionals, your eye doctor and dentist can be a great place to start. Also, check to see if you’re eligible for any elective benefits you’re considering, such as a new pair of eye glasses or orthodontic work.

7. Your estate plan. Estate planning is important regardless of your net worth. It’s never too early to create or update your will, health care directive, beneficiaries and basic powers-of-attorney – all of which can help your loved ones make decisions in line with your wishes in the event of your death. If giving assets to your loved ones and/or reducing your tax liability are important to you, an estate plan can also help you with strategies to accomplish those goals.

As with many spring cleaning projects, it’s possible to get overwhelmed as you review your finances. If this happens to you, step back and take each task one at a time. A financial advisor in your area can also help you get “unstuck” and identify ways to re-energize your finances.

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Face Your Future with Confidence Knowing You’ve Planned Ahead to Protect It

While the thought of needing long term care may be far from your mind today, circumstances can change. With people living longer, the chances of you or an aging relative requiring this type of care increases, which may bring added responsibility for you and your family. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a long-range care plan in place.

Long term care is personal care and other related services provided on an extended basis to people who need help with specific everyday activities (called activities of daily living) or who need supervision due to a severe cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The need for long term care can strike at any time in life due to chronic illness, injury, disability, or the aging process. What’s more, long term care can be expensive, and is generally not covered by traditional health insurance plans or Medicare.

No matter where you are in your career, consider the prospect of needing long term care insurance coverage under the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP). With benefits designed specifically for the federal family, the FLTCIP can help protect your savings and assets in the event you or your loved ones ever need long term care. Of the 268,000 federal family members enrolled in the FLTCIP, more than 50% started their coverage before age 55.

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SEA Statement on Administration’s FY2020 Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Bill Valdez, President of the Senior Executives Association (SEA) – the professional association responsible for representing, convening, and cultivating members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and senior career leaders across the federal government – released the following statement in response to the release of President Donald Trump’s FY2020 budget proposal.

“Much of the language included in the president’s budget proposal rightly identifies many of the impediments our federal government confronts on a daily basis, while also correctly recognizing that the solutions will require a long-term commitment, rather than mere Band-Aids,” said Valdez.

“The effectiveness of our government will continue to be limited so long as we can neither recruit top talent, nor adequately train and retain the talent we have already hired. Our government must better position itself to modernize and compete in the global labor market. Even as the budget proposal suggests that our national and homeland security requires additional staffing in the military and along our borders, the budget reiterates penny-wise and pound-foolish proposals to enact federal pay freezes and benefit and retirement cuts, thus implicitly assuring applicants interested in those posts that working for the federal government would mean enduring instability and ceaseless attacks surrounding even their most basic compensation.”

“On the heels of the longest government shutdown in history, which deeply damaged the government’s brand as an employer, this budget sends all the wrong signals to Americans considering jobs serving their country in federal public service. Furthermore, reneging on promises made to federal annuitants -- who planned their careers and retirements based on a set of commitments from their employer -- should be a nonstarter,” Valdez continued. “Put simply, we will not attract nor retain an innovative and talented 21st century federal public service workforce by undertaking a race to the bottom on federal pay and benefits.”

Valdez concluded, “I am concerned about the level of serious consideration to change management planning related to the administration’s agency reorganization proposals. For example, characterizing the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) functions as simply transferrable to the General Services Administration (GSA) is easier said than done and ignores OPM’s central statutory role in the federal merit system. Simply moving boxes on an org chart and superior technology are no saviors for inadequate planning and a people-focused change strategy. I urge the administration to bring stakeholders to the table to better understand the reorganization plans for OPM, and to better share information with the public so it can have confidence that taxpayer resources are being used wisely.”

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The Senior Executives Association (SEA) is a professional association representing Senior Executive Service members and other career Federal leaders. Founded in 1980, SEA’s goals are to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of the Federal government; to advance the professionalism and advocate the interests of career Federal executives; and to enhance public recognition of their contributions. For more information, visit www.seniorexecs.org.

Ten Considerations For Civi Service Modernization

Summary: The Senior Executives Association (SEA) and the Hoover Institution hosted three Civil Service Modernization Dialogues in the summer and fall of 2018 that had a goal of developing a consensus around general themes and concepts that a diverse group of organizations could support. Those Dialogues were organized around three general themes:

  • Civil Service Workforce Modernization
  • Civil Service Administrative Modernization
  • Civil Service Regulatory Modernization
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