Top News from FEDmanager

Report on Census Test Identifies Concerns Ahead of 2020

Report on Census Test Identifies Concerns Ahead of 2020

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General’s Office of Audit and Evaluation released a report analyzing the 2018 end-to-end test done to prepare for the 2020 census. The report concluded that the Census Bureau must address several concerns before 2020 in order to complete a successful census.

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OPEN Government Data Act Means Changes for Agency Leadership

OPEN Government Data Act Means Changes for Agency Leadership

Last month the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2017 passed Congress and was signed into law. Included in this legislation was the OPEN Government Data Act, which requires all non-sensitive government data to be made available to the public. The law established non-political Chief Data Officers (CDOs) to guide agencies in implementing this policy.

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Government Shutdown Q&A with Shane Canfield

Government Shutdown Q&A with Shane Canfield

WAEPA (Worldwide Assurance for Employees of Public Agencies), a nonprofit Voluntary Employee Benefits Association which offers Group Term Life Insurance* exclusively to Civilian Federal Employees, made headlines in January when they announced they were waiving January’s premiums for all their members, including those for Members not impacted by the partial Government Shutdown, which went on for 35 days from December 21, 2018 to January 25, 2019, and affected approximately 22% of Federal workers.

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First Chance Act Proposes Hiring Reform for Individuals with Criminal Records

First Chance Act Proposes Hiring Reform for Individuals with Criminal Records

A bipartisan group of representatives is working to “ban the box” --specifically the box federal job applicants check that discloses their criminal record. As a follow up to the First Step Act, the First Chance Act would delay disclosure of a criminal record until a conditional offer of employment is given.

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How to Evaluate Employee Performance

How to Evaluate Employee Performance

Evaluating employees can be an intimidating task.  In this video, Frederik Bisbjerg breaks down how to make the most out of every performance review.

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Trump Expands ‘Buy American’ Order to Federal Infrastructure Projects

Trump Expands ‘Buy American’ Order to Federal Infrastructure Projects

President Trump is encouraging federal agencies to buy American-made products with an executive order signed late last week. This order builds on a previous executive order calling for federal financial assistance awards to provide preference to goods, products, and materials produced in the United States. Under the expanded measure, “domestic preference” covers not only iron and steel, but also products containing aluminum, plastics, concrete, glass, and lumber.

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GAO Creates New Science and Technology Team

GAO Creates New Science and Technology Team

The Government Accountability Office has launched the new Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics (STAA) team, dedicated to using cutting edge research methods to solve Congress’s problems. The team hopes to provide insight and analysis on how federal agencies employ science and technology in dealing with issues such as regenerative medicine, 5G wireless communication, and quantum computing, according to a GAO blog release on the subject.

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Senate Turns Focus to Security Clearance Reform

Senate Turns Focus to Security Clearance Reform

Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) has reintroduced a measure that would modernize the security clearance system. Warner hopes the Modernizing the Trusted Workforce for the 21st Century Act of 2019 will reduce the security clearance backlog while saving time and money.

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Bill Would Give Reservist Feds the Choice to Enroll in TRICARE

Bill Would Give Reservist Feds the Choice to Enroll in TRICARE

While much of the news has rightly been dominated by the partial government shutdown and the 2019 pay freeze, the 116th Congress is slowly beginning to turn the gears and get underway. New legislation is being introduced and reintroduced from earlier sessions of Congress. Among the bills that has been reintroduced is the TRICARE Reserve Select Improvement Act (H.R. 613 / S. 164), introduced by Representative Trent Kelly (R-MS) and Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), respectively. This legislation, referred to the House and Senate Committees on Armed Services, would address an issue the Federal Managers Association (FMA) has been working on for several years.

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Understanding Border Security from the Front Lines

Understanding Border Security from the Front Lines

The U.S. borders have inundated news cycles in recent months.  To find out what’s really going on, tune in to FEDtalk to hear a group of federal law enforcement professionals discuss what they experience at the border and what they need to do their mission. 

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Tame Your Inbox: 4 Tips for Dealing with Email Productively

Tame Your Inbox: 4 Tips for Dealing with Email Productively

Answering emails can be stressful and time consuming. Entrepreneur Thomas Frank offers tips on how to clean out the clutter and keep what matters.

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Uncertainty Still Looms as Deal is Reached to End Shutdown

Uncertainty Still Looms as Deal is Reached to End Shutdown

Federal workers are returning to their offices after the longest government shutdown in US history. Over 800,000 workers who missed two paychecks as a result of the shutdown are expected to receive back pay this week; unfortunately, the stopgap spending measure only lasts until Feb. 15, setting up another possible shutdown next month.

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Internal Revenue Service Struggles to Find Footing Post-Shutdown

Internal Revenue Service Struggles to Find Footing Post-Shutdown

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is beginning their busiest season a few steps behind as employees return to work following the government shutdown. As the IRS works to recover, Americans all over the country may feel the impact of this backlog come filing season.

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FEDtalk Covers New Commission Dedicated to Inspiring Americans to Serve their Country

FEDtalk Covers New Commission Dedicated to Inspiring Americans to Serve their Country

Last week, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service released their interim report, setting the stage for the next year of action. Julie Perkins of Shaw, Bransford, & Roth P.C. hosted a discussion between Commissioner Mark Gearan and Max Stier of the Partnership for Public Service to learn more about what the commission is doing and what our public service needs it to do.

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Absence of Evidence Cannot Favor Agency Defense Against Whistleblower Reprisal Claim

Absence of Evidence Cannot Favor Agency Defense Against Whistleblower Reprisal Claim

Last week, FEDmanager reported on the Federal Circuit’s decision in Siler v. EPA, on the issue of whether EPA adequately asserted the attorney-client privilege to withhold documents from Siler during the discovery phase of his MSPB appeal his removal from federal service. This week, we report on the portion of the court’s decision that vacated the MSPB’s denial of Siler’s whistleblower reprisal affirmative defense and remanded the matter to MSPB for further proceedings.

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House Introduces Retroactive Pay Raise Legislation for Federal Employees

House Introduces Retroactive Pay Raise Legislation for Federal Employees

Representative Gerald Connolly (D-Va.) has introduced the Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act of 2019, or H.R. 790. This legislation provides a 2.6% pay raise across the board which, for most employees, would be retroactively applied from Jan. 1, 2019. Rep. Connolly has framed this as necessary relief for federal workers recovering from the government shutdown.

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Uncertainty Addressed by FEDS President

Uncertainty Addressed by FEDS President

As the President of FEDS, I didn’t know whether to celebrate the agreement to fund agencies through mid­February or to commiserate over the uncertainty that lies ahead. What I did know, as a former federal employee, is that the fallout of a shutdown brings uncertainty into homes of employees and frustration where offices or agencies are unstaffed or understaffed. Due to the potential stress caused by such circumstances, I made the decision early on in December that FEDS member benefits would not be interrupted and that policies would remain in-force, even if there were missed payments during or because of a shutdown. I feel that it was necessary then, and now more than ever, that you know that we are in this with all federal employees, and that we will always have your back. 

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Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques

Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques

Picking the right words can be difficult.  Particularly in spontaneous situations, it can be easy to say the wrong thing. Matt Abrahams, a Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, provides a lesson on how to speak on the fly with greater confidence and clarity.

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Former EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum Won’t Seek Third Term

Former EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum Won’t Seek Third Term

A former Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Democrat Chai Feldblum, has been awaiting Senate confirmation for her third term on the commission. On January 2, with the ending of the 115th Congress, the nominations of Feldblum and two others for the EEOC expired. Now, Feldblum has announced she will no longer be seeking a third term.

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Communities Rally Together to Assist Furloughed Workers

Communities Rally Together to Assist Furloughed Workers

Furloughed workers in need of relief are finding it, not in the government, but in their communities across the country. As workers approach their second missed paycheck due to the government shutdown, private corporations, religious groups, and community organizations have been working to help furloughed workers make ends meet.

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