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In This Issue

 




CFO-ADMIN NEWS YOU CAN USE

A Monthly Newsletter from the
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and
 Director of Administration

 

November 17, 2010

 

In this issue of CFO-Admin News You Can Use, we focus on the following: 

  • DOC and its Bureaus Embark on a Wellness Initiative

  • The ABCs of Email in the Workplace

  • JP Morgan Chase Travel Card

  • Budget and Accounting Training

  • Status of Budget Processes

  • ITA Comings and Goings

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DOC and its Bureaus Embark on a Wellness Initiative

 

 “Learn your Family History” is one of the tips on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) “Autumn Health and Safety Tips.”  We are reminded that National Family History Day is observed on Thanksgiving Day.  This year fall's newsletter is being distributed by the Department’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health (OOSH) in an effort to reach 90 percent of employees with information on wellness (http://www.cdc.gov/family/autumn/autumntips.pdf).

 

A July 15, 2010, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) memo requested federal agencies to implement Wellness Programs.  The Department of Commerce (DOC) was instructed to complete the OPM WellCheck Needs Assessment.  Eight DOC locations were selected to participate and among them was the Herbert C. Hoover Building (HCHB). 

 

DOC performed well on the assessment, with a score of 3.16 (out of 5.0) an overall rating on five components: Health Education, Social and Environmental Support, Screenings, Linkages, and Integration.  The Department was also rated in four areas of Health and Wellness: Nutrition, Physical Activity, Weight Management, and Tobacco Cessation, and scored an average of 3.0.  While the Department scored above the government average, there is opportunity for improvement. 

 

To enhance its Wellness Program, the Department submitted action items to OPM on September 13, 2010.  This included the creation of several task forces to develop a DOC-wide Wellness Policy, budget guidelines, health education plan, healthy foods criteria, metrics to tracking results, and marketing guidelines.  All bureaus are represented on the DOC Wellness Working Group, and are able to participate on the task forces.  Bureaus are also being asked to develop their own Wellness Plans. 

 

Nancy McWilliams, CSP, ARM, Director of Commerce’s Office of Occupational Safety and Health (OOSH), is serving as the focal point for the Department’s Wellness efforts.  Ms. McWilliams encourages all employees to make small changes.  “Perhaps, make one healthy food choice a day, increase your exercise level each week, and participate in wellness activities that are offered in your workplace,” she advises.

 

Walking is a beneficial, low impact form of exercise encouraged by OOSH and the Commerce Occupational Health Organization (COHO) Fitness Center.  “Walking is man’s best medicine,” Hippocrates has said.  It can reduce “bad” cholesterol, help manage type 2 diabetes, and increase bone density.  (For other benefits of walking, see: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ01612).  Some within HCHB may be glad to note that one loop around the building equals to about half of a mile.

The CDC advises that effective workplace programs and policies can decrease health risks and enhance the quality of life for millions of employees in the United States.  It cites a study published by "Preventing Chronic Disease", which shows that “employees engaged in more physical activity, had better knowledge of disease management (diabetes and asthma), had better eating habits, and smoked less” when a Wellness Program was implemented.  For more information, please visit CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/WorksiteWellness/

Commerce Health & Wellness Programs

To pick up other health-related tips and to download informative booklets (from Krames Patient Education Inc.), please visit OOSH’s website: http://hr.commerce.gov/Employees/WorkLifeIssues/DEV01_006095

 

Additional Resources:

Feds Get Fit

OPM Director John Berry is joining with other federal agency leaders to raise awareness of the value of wellness and prevention.  FedsGetFit (FGF) is an interactive way for federal employees to participate in activities that promote a healthy lifestyle. FGF highlights the four components of a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity, nutrition, healthy choices, and prevention.  See: http://www.fedsgetfit.gov/

Seasonal Flu Shots

The CDC advises that everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine. While flu is unpredictable, it's likely that the 2009 H1N1 virus and regular seasonal viruses will cause illness in the U.S. this flu season.  The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against three different flu viruses: an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus, and the H1N1 virus.  For more information, see the CDC's flu webpage: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/ 

Trying to determine whether or not to get the seasonal flu shot?  If you have questions or need assistance in determining your risk status, you may visit: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/vaccination/gbs_qa.htm or http://www.cdc.gov/flu/flu_vaccine_updates.htm

“5 Min. Safety Talk”

Information from the National Safety Council on wellness in English and Spanish: http://www.nsc.org/members_get_more/Documents/coldandflu.pdf

The ABCs of Email in the Workplace

 

For most people the rudiments of learning entail memorizing the alphabet, commonly referred to as “ABC”.  Although elementary, assimilating this information is critical to our lifelong endeavor to acquire knowledge and effectively communicate.  It may seem like ancient history since you first learned your “ABCs,” but you must admit it is as essential to effective communication today as it was in the beginning.  This concept should not be lost when considering electronic communication in the workplace.  That said, we can go back to basics and stroll down memory lane by highlighting the “ABCs” of using email in the workplace, which is not unknown but will serve as a timely reminder.  

 

A  

1.     Always Answer emails, even if you have to say I will get back to you later; it can be considered rude to do otherwise

2.     Avoid being Ambiguous, include a subject in all email messages

3.     Accuracy, set automatic spell-check and proof emails before hitting send; our messages represent us to others, so we want to put our “best foot forward” when expressing our ideas electronically

B

Business of the government is the primary purpose of our workplace email accounts; although not prohibited, we want to limit personal emails to highest degree possible.

 

Breaking the rules of etiquette in workplace email communication should be avoided at all cost, for example, ALL CAPS, etc.

 

Beware that emails generated in the workplace hold no privacy protection, are FOIAble, and employees across the Federal Government have been embarrassed, lost the confidence and respect of colleagues, or have been terminated because of using email inappropriately.

      C

      Concision should be your goal in writing emails; people are busy, may have to comb through tons of emails and often don’t read to the bottom of the message; if there is a lot of information to be shared consider attaching a Word document.

           Conduct goes back to etiquette and rules of behavior giving Careful Consideration to what   you write because once sent, technically, you can’t take it back (even with recall message)

      Content of emails should be taken into account before “cc” everyone on your mailing list; need to know prevails; otherwise your emails may be considered valueless or deleted immediately; avoid “the boy who cried wolf” syndrome. 

      Keeping these points in mind will go a long way toward demonstrating that we are the consummate professionals that we all desired to be viewed as.  It will also make your parents happy that their hardwork was not in vain, as you can truly appreciate the value of “ABCs.”

 

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JP Morgan Chase Travel Card

 

ITA JP Morgan Chase travel cardholders are reminded that the travel card is to be used for expenses associated with official government travel only.  The card is not intended for personal use.  Also, payment of the travel card bill is due upon receipt and on time, even if awaiting reimbursement.

 

If you have questions, please contact Sharon Russell, ITA Travel Card Coordinator, at (202) 482-3267.

 

Budget and Accounting Training

 

The Office of Financial Management will be offering budget and accounting training to ITA employees here at headquarters and in the field. 

 

OFM, together with our accounting system provider (NIST), is also sponsoring a program of training on the CBS accounting system. This objective of this training is to improve ITA user knowledge of the capabilities of the CBS accounting system.  The training is being conducted by NIST at several locations, including overseas.  If you are interested in this type of training, please contact Cathy Roberts at Cathy.Roberts@trade.gov (202-482-3153).  

 

Status of Budget Processes

 

At any given time, ITA is participating in three different budget fiscal years. The status of each  (FY 2010, FY 2011 and FY 2012) is described below: If you have questions on any of these items, please contact Michael House at Michael.House@trade.gov (202-482-5739) or Doug Allis at Doug.Allis@trade.gov (202-482-9151).

 

At this time, ITA budget and accounting staff have finished closing FY 2010.  ITA obligated (or spent) 99.3 percent of the funds available to the agency in FY 2010 and expects to receive a clean audit opinion for the year.

As reported in the October 7 edition of "News You Can Use", FY 2011 began October 1 without an appropriation. Instead, Congress passed, and the President signed a continuing resolution (CR), which runs through December 3.  It is important to remember that:

A.   Pay and benefits are unaffected.

B.   Hiring and travel will continue at a CR supportable level as determined by the Assistant Secretary of each business unit, to include the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer.

C.   Any single action which would create an obligation of $100,000 or more must be approved by the ITA Budget Officer (Michael House). This includes contracts and interagency agreements. 

Each year, on the first Monday after Labor Day, ITA as well as the rest of the Federal Government, must submit its budget proposal for the next fiscal year (FY 2012) to OMB. OMB reviews the budget for the President, who must submit a budget to Congress on the first Monday of February.  Senior ITA officials briefed OMB staff on our proposals in September, and we expect OMB to “passback” its recommendation on the FY 2012 ITA budget on November 30.  It is expected that ITA and the Department of Commerce will get two to five days to review OMB’s passback before final decisions are made regarding the 2012 budget in December. The month of January is used by ITA, the Department and OMB to prepare all the budget documentation that the President must submit to Congress in February.

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Send your suggestions or comments about this newsletter to Nina.Harris@trade.gov.

 

The International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, manages this global trade site to provide access to ITA information on promoting trade and investment, strengthening the competitiveness of U.S. industry, and ensuring fair trade and compliance with trade laws and agreements. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.

 

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