Tuesday federal headlines – February 16, 2016

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy was on Capitol Hill last week defending the agency’s response to the drinking water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. Members of the House Agriculture Committee heavily questioned McCarthy at a hearing to find out why the EPA was not more active after it was discovered that Flint’s water supply had been...

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The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy was on Capitol Hill last week defending the agency’s response to the drinking water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. Members of the House Agriculture Committee heavily questioned McCarthy at a hearing to find out why the EPA was not more active after it was discovered that Flint’s water supply had been tainted. McCarthy said agency officials worked hard to get the state to install corrosion controls. (USDA)
  • The Army is seeking contractors to provide a broad variety of IT services over the next decade. Under the Army IT Enterprise Services-3 contract, vendors are being asked to provide everything from cybersecurity to integration and consolidation to network and systems operations and maintenance to IT education and training. The Army released the request for proposals for the nine-year contract Feb. 12. ITES-3 has a ceiling of $12 billion. The Army plans to make 14 of the 24 awards to small businesses. (FBO)
  • Federal agencies are open today under a 3-hour delay with the option for unscheduled telework or leave. Employees should plan on arriving no later than 3 hours than they would normally be expected to arrive. If you are driving in, take it slow and watch your speeds as icy road conditions on some main roads and many side roads still exist. Check back with FederalNews Radio.com for operating status updates.
  • A new report from the State Department’s Office of Inspector General finds nearly 70 percent of U.S. embassies have IT contingency planning deficiencies. The IG says the issues include information management staff not developing, updating, or testing IT contingency plans, and embassies having plans that lacked appropriate key stakeholders and contact information in case of emergencies. The office reiterated recommendations it made four years ago to the Bureau of Information Resource Management. (State Department OIG)
  • A Customs and Border Patrol agent is suing the federal government, several federal and law enforcement agencies, and former Border Patrol Supervisor Armando Gonzalez, who is currently serving prison time for illegal recording female agents in a San Diego office bathroom. KGTV reports the lawsuit blames Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security for failing to stop Gonzalez and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Gonzalez and others it alleges knew about his behavior. (ABC News San Diego)
  • The Office of Personnel Management is refining the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey to ask what it said are stronger, more relevant and less ambiguous questions. OPM issued a proposed rule back on Feb. 8. It’s seeking comments on a final list of 11 questions that are required by law. The questions can have objective metrics assigned to them. Keep in mind, FEVS won’t be reduced to 11 questions. Agencies retain the option to ask their employees to address specific areas in the survey. (Federal News Radio)
  • New details emerged on how the Defense Department intends to crack down on the possible abuse of independent research and development bid and proposal costs. The proposed rule would require industry to inform the appropriate DoD personnel of new IR&D efforts by industry. The rule would also require the results of the research and development be shared with DoD. IR&D efforts have come under fire recently after companies have been accused of padding contract bids public research funds to lower contract costs. DoD is holding an industry day in March on the issue. (Federal News Radio)
  • Even senior executives need a little help when they take on new jobs. Now the Office of Personnel Management has advice. OPM issued guidance for how to help SESers get up to speed when they join a different agency. It’s called onboarding. OPM suggested a four-step cycle for managing an onboarding program: planning, implementation, evaluation and revision. As for onboarding itself, OPM said the first 90 days are crucial to gaining competence. But onboarding can last a year. (Federal News Radio)