Veterans Affairs IG investigating more cases of employees stealing drugs

  • More cases of Veterans Affairs Department employees stealing drugs are being investigated. Data obtained by the Associated Press showed 36 investigations have been opened by VA’s inspector general since October, bringing the total number to 108. Documents from the Drug Enforcement Administration showed the rate of reported missing drugs at VA health facilities was more than double that of the private sector. Veterans Affairs announced plans to combat drug thefts in February. They include employee drug tests and additional inspections. (Associated Press)
  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General said the agency needs to get a better understanding of its workload if it wants to defend itself against spending and personnel cuts. In its 2017 management challenges report, the IG said it was difficult to prove whether the loss of thousands of employees has negatively impacted EPA’s mission, because the agency doesn’t have a system to gauge its effectiveness. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Bureau of Land Management recently honored eight individuals and groups who volunteer their time and effort to improve public land. BLM is not just about drilling and mining. It also provides access for recreational use, like fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Some 27,000 people volunteered last year, contributing what BLM officials estimated is 1 million hours of work. (Bureau of Land Management)
  • Despite the Missile Defense Agency’s success in taking out a fake warhead yesterday, the Government Accountability Office said the the MDA has room for improvement. In a new report, GAO said MDA is having a tough time staying on schedule and completing it’s testing goals. It’s also developing new programs without enough input from the military services who would use them. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Air Force said civilian hiring is back up and running now that the hiring freeze has been lifted, but with a bit of caution. The Air Force Personnel Center is in the process of working more than 12,000 requests for personnel action that were on hold. In accordance with directions from the Office of Management and Budget, Air Force leaders have been directed to scrutinize new recruitment actions to make sure the positions accurately reflect mission needs. (Air Force)
  • The Pentagon now has a Senate-confirmed comptroller and chief financial officer, but David Norquist is just one of five undersecretaries that help run the Defense Department, and the only one the Trump Administration has nominated so far. The Senate approved Norquist last week, making him only the fifth confirmed Defense official in the Trump administration. DoD has a total of 53 political slots that require Senate confirmation, and so far, the White House has only nominated a dozen people to fill those jobs. Among the key positions that remain open: the secretaries of the Army and the Navy, the undersecretaries of all three military departments, the undersecretaries of Defense for policy, intelligence, acquisition and personnel, and dozens of assistant secretary slots.
  • The House passed a bill to give federal employees a 45-day stay on a personnel action before the Merit Systems Protection Board if the Office of Special Counsel requests one. The bill now awaits the president’s signature. The board currently only has one member so it can’t review petitions until the president appoints at least one other person to the board. (Congress.gov)
  • The chief human capital officer of the Office of Special Counsel is blowing the whistle on the OSC. James Wilson said top OSC leadership retaliated against him for disclosing his concerns that agency leaders approved and ordered a variety of unlawful personnel actions. MSPB granted Wilson jurisdiction in his case and set a hearing date. OSC is responsible for protecting federal employees from prohibited personnel practices and whistleblower reprisal. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration unveiled a new contracting approach for a governmentwide cybersecurity initiative. GSA and the Homeland Security Department chose the Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract to host the future of the continuous diagnostics and mitigation (CDM) program. GSA and DHS held an industry day last week detailing its plans for five new task orders falling under the moniker DEFEND. This new effort could be worth as much as $3.4 billion over the next six years. DEFEND will partially replace and expand upon the current contract for the governmentwide cyber initiative, which ends in August 2018. (Federal News Radio)

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