OPM releases 2016 Presidential Transition Guide

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

In today’s Top Federal Headlines, the Office of Personnel Management now has guidance for incoming officials with transition responsibilities.

  • To help make the upcoming transition smooth, the Office of Personnel Management has released the 2016 Presidential Transition Guide. Acting Director Beth Cobert said it will help incoming administration and agency officials with transition responsibilities. It contains rules and policies for creating transition teams, the departure and appointment of political appointees, and the treatment of career federal employees. (Chief Human Capital Officer Council)
  • The Office of Personnel Management wants to officially put some of the lessons it’s learned from agencies about the federal hiring process in writing. OPM and the Office of Management Budget released new guidance with three goals and seven best practices to improve it. Agencies must pick three of the seven and come up with a plan to implement them. OPM also says it’s developing new training courses for HR specialists and hiring managers. They should be available in early 2017. (Federal News Radio)
  • About seven out of every 10 SESers received performance bonuses in 2015, up nearly 3 percent from a year earlier. That’s according to Office of Personnel Management figures obtained by GovExec. The average bonus was about $10,700, up slightly from a year before. Performance ratings were A-OK too. Half of senior executives received the highest scores, also up a bit from a year earlier. (GovExec)
  • About 28 percent of OPM’s 1.9 million phone calls to the agency’s Retirement Services line went unanswered in 2015. The OPM Inspector General said that’s worse than the prior year’s 24 percent rate. OPM said it’s added more phone lines to help shorten the time, but with more than 2 million annuitants, they’re gonna need more staff. The IG said OPM has one customer service rep for every 27,000 annuitants. (Federal News Radio)
  • Another course on the new Blended Retirement System is released by the Defense Department. This one is for financial counselors, educators, and other financial professionals to learn about Joint Knowledge Online and Military OneSource. This is the second of four courses DoD plans to release. It said  a course for those eligible to opt-in to BRS will be available early 2017. (Navy)
  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter has rolled out new initiatives to widen the military’s base of potential recruits, saying it’s drawing from only a narrow slice of the American population. Carter said the military is becoming a family and geographically-centered business — about 40 percent of recruits come from just six states, and people with veteran parents are twice as likely to enlist. Among the changes: a beefing up of Reserve Officer Training Corps programs, which are already located at colleges across the country. The Pentagon will also spend more on advertising campaigns that emphasize the overall benefits of military service, rather than only the focused recruiting messages from each of the military branches. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department has supported a shared cybersecurity system. Defense CIO Terry Halvorsen said the Joint Regional Security Stacks will save money and tighten security for the military services. But Halvorsen warns there could be growing pains in the form of less autonomy and an ever-changing threat landscape. (Federal News Radio)
  • A major acquisition is happening in the federal telecommunications market. CenturyLink is buying Level 3 communications for $34 billion in cash and stock options. With the acquisition, CenturyLink has become the second largest domestic communications provider. The deal comes as CenturyLink is one of several companies bidding on the next generation telecommunications contract called Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions under GSA’s Networks 2020 program. CenturyLink and Level-3 are two of the five contract holders under the current telecommunications contract called Networx. (CenturyLink)
  • A new vendor is needed to run the International Trade Center piece of the Ronald Reagan building in Washington. The General Services Administration issues a solicitation asking for a vendor to operate and manage the second largest federal building in the DC metro area. It’s looking for a 20-year deal with the vendor to provide a variety of services ranging from cleaning and repair to managing the conference center and food court tenants. Bids are due Jan. 13. (FedBizOpps)