Top News from FEDmanager
A newly released report from the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) expressed concern with the level of opioids prescribed to Postal Service employees under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) program. While other agencies have seen significant reductions in prescriptions over the last few years, the Postal Service’s prescription count is declining at a much slower pace.
A group of 128 bipartisan lawmakers has issued a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie regarding on-going negotiations with the union representing 260,000 frontline employees, the American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (AFGE). Lawmakers expressed concerns regarding the collective bargaining rights of federal employees and adequate care for veterans.
A union grievance protesting the publication of “Adverse Action Reports” (AAR) by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) resulted in an arbitration decision directing VA to remove AARs from its website and to cease and desist the publication of AARs.
In 2016, researchers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that almost 70% of people turning age 65 will need some type of long-term care services in their lifetimes. If you or someone you know has ever had to care for a loved one with a chronic disease or condition, you know the emotional, physical, and financial burden this can create.
Freshman Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) has introduced legislation to create an Acquisition Review Board within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The proposed legislation responds to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which shed light onto costly delays within the current acquisition process.
The state of California and the Pentagon have created a cooperative agreement to better spot and tackle destructive fires. In an effort to prevent a recurrence of the deadly fires that swept California last year, the state and the Department of Defense (DOD) will be utilizing Cold War-era satellite technology and expanding drone use.
For three years, repeated tests at the Goodfellow Federal Center in St. Louis, Missouri revealed that the building had traces of dozens of hazardous substances that could damage the health of those in contact with the building. A whistleblower disclosure to the Office of Special Council now contends that the General Services Administration (GSA) failed to adequately protect and notify employees of these hazards despite years of knowledge.
The House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government passed a bill yesterday which includes $24.55 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $1.4 billion over the 2019 enacted funding levels and $355.5 million over the president’s 2020 budget request. The bill grants federal employees the largest pay raise in over 10 years.
As you have no doubt read at FEDManager.com, it has been a busy time at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in recent months. OPM has been led by Acting Director Margaret Weichert – who also serves as the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget – since October 2018. President Trump nominated Dale Cabaniss as director of OPM in March 2019, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee favorably reported out her nomination in May. The full Senate has not yet acted on her nomination. FMA and our colleagues within the Government Managers Coalition offered support for her confirmation, noting the agency has only had a Senate-confirmed director for eight months out of the last four years.
Do you know what you are doing this summer? To find out what our National Parks have to offer, tune in to FEDtalk this Friday and start planning your trip!
Last week the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a guide to help agencies bridge the gap between emerging technologies and the workforce of the future. The guide focused on reskilling and reshaping the workforce, as well as providing guidance for managing the changing federal workforce.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that a Forest Service-run Job Corps program will be transferred to the Department of Labor. As part of the move, nine of the 25 Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers will be closed. The plan could eliminate up to 1,100 jobs from the Forest Service.
The Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act is the first comprehensive Artificial Intelligence (AI) strategy to address the needs of a changing workforce and help the federal community understand this emerging technology. U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Rob Portman (R-OH) have heralded this as a bipartisan bill to invest $2.2 billion over five years to “build an AI-ready workforce, accelerating the responsible delivery of AI applications from government agencies, academia, and the private sector over the next 10 years.”
OPM explains how USA Performance can make performance reviews faster and more efficient.
Last week the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) Acting Director Margaret Weichert and Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Acting Director Russ Vought released the legislative proposal and business case for transferring much of OPM’s duties to the General Services Administration (GSA) and OMB. While some elements of the plan received praise, criticisms have also arisen ahead of today’s hearing in the House Subcommittee on Government Operations within the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
The US Postal Service has begun a two-week trial of self-driving carrier trucks in three southwestern states. The pilot partnership with San Diego based startup TuSimple would use autonomous vehicles to move mail between Phoenix and Dallas in an effort to improve delivery times and costs.
This article is written by Brandon Jones
During my tenure as a Civilian Federal Employee, I was tuned into various Federal programs, like the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), health options during Open Season, and other auxiliary benefits. I was not aware, however, that Feds have options beyond FEGLI for life insurance coverage. It was only until I joined the private sector that I heard about WAEPA, a nonprofit that’s been exclusively serving Civilian Federal Employees with Group Term Life Insurance* for more than 75 years.
Bipartisan legislation aimed at improving constituent services passed unanimously out of committee in the Senate this week. The Creating Advanced Streamlined Electronic Services for Constituents (CASES) Act of 2019 seeks to streamline the process by which constituents, congressional offices, and agencies interact by modernizing provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974.