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 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission releases guidance for agencies to consider to ensure fair discrimination hearings and appeals.
In an effort to ensure fair federal employee discrimination hearings and appeals, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published new best practices. The guidance describes how agencies should respond to discrimination complaints, how long the appeals process should take, and what kind of evidence an agency should present. EEOC looked at public comments and feedback Government Accountability Office reports and past hearings to write the guidance. (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics, wants to educate the public on just what his agency does. In a letter, he asked Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to hold a hearing to answer questions about his organization’s role. Chaffetz raised questions about Shaub’s Twitter comments regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s plans for divesting from his businesses. (Federal News Radio)
President Barack Obama has set the suitability standards and governance process for federal security clearances. A new executive order has codified much of what the administration has indicated as its priorities. It defines roles for the Office of Personnel Management and the National Background Investigation Bureau. OPM will set the standards and the NBIB will use them to adjudicate the cleared population. (Federal News Radio)
In a final memo, the Obama administration wants four particular agencies to make a push for diversity in their employees. President Obama aimed this executive order at Interior, Forest Service, the Army’s civil works branch and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It said that for all Americans to equally enjoy public lands and waters, the agencies making decisions about them must be diverse. Among the directives, more training on what the memo calls unconscious bias. (The White House)
The Air Force has introduced a new energy flight plan. Miranda Ballentine, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, said the plan emphasizes energy resiliency. The plan takes a holistic approach to providing cost effective and cleaner energy. Just this year, the Air Force opened its energy assurance office to embrace an enterprise-wise approach. (Air Force)
Other federal agencies may need to start thinking about energy sustainability. The Federal Acquisition Regulation Council proposes a rule which would implement President Obama’s executive order on the issue. The order encourages agencies to buy sustainable products, services, and construction methods in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and improve their environmental performance. (Federal Register)
The Pentagon’s outgoing acquisition chief has said Congress should not interfere with the acquisition force. Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, used his final speech to blast Congress for reforms that he said have been unhelpful, layering on more bureaucracy to a workforce that needs to be empowered to do its job. He pointed to a long series of reforms the Pentagon has made, resulting in the lowest level of cost growth DoD has seen in its weapons programs for the last 30 years. Kendall said continued improvements are mostly a matter of dedicated management attention — not congressional mandates. (Federal News Radio)
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) wants agencies to expedite implementation of the DATA Act. In letters sent to five large agencies, Warner said he’s understands the challenge of creating a standardized method to reporting federal spending, but said it’s important that agencies pick up the pace ahead of the May rollout. Warner is one of the sponsors of the DATA Act. (Federal News Radio)
A new online tool to make oversight of the banking industry a little easier. A new application from the Comptroller of the Currency is simplifying how banks file licenses and public welfare investment applications and notices. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announces its new online Central Application Tracking System or CATS. The OCC will deploy the new system in three phases. Phase one which launched yesterday is for frequent online-filers. The second and third phases of CATS are scheduled to begin in spring 2017. The OCC already piloted phase 1 with a limited number of banks earlier this year. (Office of the Comptroller of the Currency)