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DHS Secretary Honors 312 Employees with Awards for Exceptional Service

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

Last week Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson awarded 312 DHS employees from across the country for extraordinary service and outstanding contributions to the Department with the Secretary’s Award.

The Secretary’s Awards had not been given since 2008. A full list of Secretary’s Award winners can be accessed here

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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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OSC Investigation Finds Pervasive Discrimination against Transgender Army Employee

A configuration management specialist with the Department of the Army and Desert Storm veteran began the process of transitioning from a man to a woman in 2010, after telling her first-line supervisor of her intersex medical condition and anticipated gender transition in 2007. In 2010, the employee obtained a court-decreed name change, obtained a passport with her new name and gender listed as female, and submitted her name change request with the Department of the Army. After notifying the Agency of her official name change in 2010, both the employee and management agreed that she would use the single-stall executive bathroom instead of the female bathroom “for some initial period” so that other employees would not feel uncomfortable. However, on three occasions when the executive restroom was unavailable due to it being out of order or being cleaned, the employee used the female restroom.  After the third occasion, the employee was approached and told she needed to continue to use the executive restroom only. The employee’s second-line supervisor frequently used the male pronoun to refer to the employee in the company of others, and management attempted to limit her discussion of her transgender status in the office. The employee filed a complaint of prohibited personnel practice. On October 23, 2014, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel announced its determination in the matter, releasing a redacted August 28, 2014, report finding that the Department of the Army had engaged in gender-identity discrimination in violation of 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(10).

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Writing an SES Resume with Integrated ECQs and TQs

Although these are still the small minority among SES applications, there is a trend among federal agencies to streamline the initial phase of the SES hiring process. In these cases, instead of requiring full ECQ narratives, you are required to integrate all five ECQs into a five-page resume. Sometimes you also have to integrate a couple of TQs.

Most recently, we’ve even seen the Internal Revenue Service place a three-page limit on resumes for their Candidate Development Program, and all five ECQs still had to be included.  

In these types of applications, you have two basic options in order to integrate ECQs/TQs effectively:

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