Official under investigation for improper travel plans international trip before retirement

In today's Top Federal Headlines, House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is interested in why the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's ...

  • House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) wants to know why the director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is taking an international training trip weeks before her retirement. FLETC Director Connie Patrick announced her retirement in the middle of an investigation from the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general. The IG is investigating Patrick for wasteful spending, improper travel and prohibited personnel practices. (House Oversight and Government Reform Committee)
  • Agencies have more details on how the White House expects them to reduce the number of regulations they oversee. The Office of Management and Budget issued new guidance asking agencies to include in their fiscal 2019 annual performance plans, five indicators to measure how they are getting rid of regulations. OMB also highlighted the waiver process for those departments that issue few or no regulations. This is to implement President Donald Trump’s 1 in 2 out policy. (The White House)
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said he’ll release a State of VA report in the coming weeks about the challenges he’s found at the department. The report comes as VA begins working on the Trump administration’s reorganization efforts. Shulkin said he wants to reduce the size of the central corporate office and increase shared services. He said he and other agency secretaries are discussing what partnerships they can develop. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Pentagon is easing up on civilian hiring restriction, putting an official end to the hiring freeze President Donald Trump implemented in January. As of Wednesday, the freeze is over, at least for the Defense Department. A memo Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work issued to department leaders says they’ll no longer have to seek specific exemptions in order to fill open civilian positions, but DoD will still demand careful scrutiny over all new hires as it prepares to send the White House a plan to reduce its overall headcount. For example, Work said temporary and term employees should be used wherever possible, and managers should look for ways to move job functions to lower pay grades, at lower organizational levels. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Army’s Rapid Capabilities Office will begin fielding electronic warfare technologies and products this year. The office plans to field offensive and defensive cyber weapons next year. The Rapid Capabilities Office was created eight months ago to satisfy specific needs from units in the field. (Federal News Radio)
  • Federal employees on official travel have new options. The other MGT Act is about to become law. The Senate followed the House’s lead by passing the Modernizing Government Travel Act letting federal employees get reimbursed for using ride sharing services such as Uber or Lyft for official business. The bill now goes to President Donald Tump for his signature. Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Sean Moulton (D-Mass.) authored the MGT Act — not to be confused with Hurd’s other MGT bill, Modernizing Government Technology Act. Hurd says letting federal employees have access to the modern sharing economy is a small step toward recruiting and retaining top talent. (Rep. Will Hurd)
  • Fiscal 2016 was record year for federal Freedom of Information Act requests. The Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy said agencies received more than 788,000 FOIA requests. The Homeland Security Department received the most requests making up about 40 percent of the total. (Department of Justice)
  • The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on his agency’s employees to help modernize the department. He asked them to offer ideas, promising to create new boxes for new work processes. He said he plans to have in-depth discussions with a sample of 300 employees to better understand the depths of the department. Tillerson outlined challenges around the world while praising the analysis State Department employees send to the National Security Council. (Federal News Radio)
  • Professional services provider Deloitte became the latest the company to receive the National Security Agency’s Certified Incident Response Assistance accreditation. CIRA accreditations are used to identify companies who are able to provide support to National Security Systems owners and operators in incident response and intrusion detection. Deloitte is now the 15th company to meet those qualifications. (Deloitte)

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