Top News from FEDmanager
This week, hundreds of employees at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) were notified that the agency would be relocating two of its components to new locations outside Washington, D.C., while a third component would be relocated to D.C. proper.
Jeff Pon, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, released a memo for Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCOs) across government this week, highlighting special considerations within the D.C. Metropolitan area in light of the city’s transportation improvement initiative, which has intermittently hobbled certain portions of the area’s Metro system.
On Monday, President Trump signed the latest National Defense Authorization Act into law, a $717 billion defense legislation package that will provide $639 billion in base funding for the Department of Defense, set aside another $69 billion for a fund called “Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), and provide $21.9 billion for the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons programs.
While government jobs are known for their stability, they are not necessarily renowned for their pay scales. Fortunately, one of the perks of being a federal employee is that many companies are willing to thank public servants by offering them discounts on almost anything, from computers and cell phones to hotels and flights. Such discounts and deals are provided exclusively to federal employees and their families. To capitalize on these savings, be on the lookout for the following essential federal employee discounts:
You probably didn’t know that the Okinawan government has an office in DC. Their main mission is to inform American federal staff, Congress, and the American people of what is happening regarding the relationship between Okinawan people and the U.S. military bases on Okinawa. Okinawa represents 0.6% of Japan, but hosts over 70% of the U.S. exclusive military bases in Japan. The office also has been building closer ties with Okinawan communities in the U.S. The Okinawan communities were present at the Cherry Blossom Festival and performed on stage.
This weekend, NASA launched its Parker Solar Probe, which is destined to “revolutionize our understanding of the sun” when the craft flies through the punishing heat of the sun’s outer atmosphere.
Why do arguments change people’s minds in some cases and backfire in others? Hugo Mercier explains how arguments are more convincing when they rest on a good knowledge of the audience, taking into account what the audience believes, who they trust, and what they value.
According to a new report released by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), the office has witnessed a significant spike in outreach from private citizens.
According to an exclusive story from Federal News Radio’s Nicole Ogrysko, “multiple sources say the Trump administration is preparing an executive order to authorize and implement the transfer of the governmentwide security clearance program from the Office of Personnel Management and National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) to the Pentagon.”
The Government Managers Coalition – a group of federal employee groups representing federal managers from numerous federal agencies – has sent a letter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee outlining its vision for civil service modernization. The letter was sent in response to a request from OGR Committee Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who asked for specific ideas during a May 16th hearing featuring testimony from Bill Valdez, President of the Senior Executives Association, the GMC group responsible for spearheading the letter.
According to new data released this week by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the rate of federal workers filing retirement claims has increased by 16 percent over the same period last year, with nearly 70,000 federal employees filing for retirement since January, compared to just under 60,000 claims filed between January and July of last year.
House Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) have signaled that they will hold a hearing on recent allegations that emerged following an internal investigation at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
The Federal Managers Association (FMA) is an organization dedicated to representing the interests of managers in the federal government on Capitol Hill, and one of the primary reasons people join is for our legislative advocacy. Thanks in large part to that advocacy, the Department of Defense (DOD) will soon be prohibited from reducing the long-term temporary duty (TDY) per diems for all DOD civilian and uniformed military travelers based on duration of the assignment.
In an effort to “eliminate equipment of Russian and Chinese origin,” according to Bloomberg, the Pentagon “has an expanding ‘do-not-buy’ software list” aimed at ensuring potentially vulnerable software packages aren’t being fielded in sensitive federal environments.
In a busy week for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the agency saw its new secretary sworn in and also received word that President Trump will seek to fill its open slot for a chief information officer to oversee VA’s data, technology, and cyber initiatives – a post that has remained vacant since the Trump administration began.
Robert Wilkie, the VA’s new secretary, was sworn in Monday by Vice President Mike Pence in an Oval Office ceremony also attended by President Trump. Wilkie will replace the embattled David Shulkin, who was forced to resign following a series of ethics probes and questions regarding the role of privatization within the VA.
Wilkie was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate by an 86-9 vote, promising during considerations of his nomination that privatization would play no role in the priorities guiding his tenure as secretary.
The White House also announced that James Paul Gferer would be nominated to fill the role of assistant secretary for information technology at the VA, a role that, according to Federal Times, “also serves as the agency chief information officer.”
Gferer will inherit a post that has, in recent history, been a fairly tumultuous one. Gferer will be the first permanent CIO at VA in this administration.
As summarized by Federal Times, VA “has not had a permanent CIO since the departure of LaVerne Council, who left with the Trump presidential transition. Since then, the agency has had a spate of acting CIOs. Rob Thomas headed the agency’s IT from January 2017 to October 2017, when he retired from government service. Scott Blackburn then took over the role, before abruptly resigning via Twitter in April 2018.”
The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week passed a bill that could mean significant changes to both the disciplinary appeals process and to the probationary period for federal employees.
The Treasury department’s Fiscal Service Data Lab has released a new dataset intending to answer the question, “How has federal contract spending changed over time?” The team “investigated a decade of data on federal government contract spending,” exploring seasonal and annual trends, and comparing “the type of congressional appropriations….and whether they could predict any changes in contract spending.”
Last Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) heard from President Trump’s three nominees to serve on the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) – the “quasi-judicial board that adjudicates adverse actions against federal employees to ensure compliance with merit system principles,” as explained by GovExec.
Late last week, Congressman Mike McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, equated the pursuit of a breakthrough on quantum computing to the nuclear arms race, arguing that the technology would be a game-changing tool, according to FedScoop’s Carten Cordell.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision dismissing a tort claim filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act by an airline traveler who was arrested after an alleged altercation with Transportation Security Officers (“TSOs”). The appeals court held that the United States did not, through the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), waive sovereign immunity from tort claims made against TSOs, who were not “investigative or law enforcement officers.”