Zinke slams report about personal use of government helicopters as ‘total fabrication’

To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe on PodcastOne or iTunes. 

 

  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has blasted reports questioning his use of government helicopters. Government travel logs obtained by Politico via a Freedom of Information Act request showed Zinke used National Park Service helicopters this summer to ferry him and his staff to and from official events near Washington in order to accommodate his attendance at political events. The events included a swearing-in ceremony for his replacement in Congress and a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence. Zinke, in a tweet on Saturday, called the reports “a total fabrication.” Interior officials said the flights were for official business. (Politico)

 

  • Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt has offered the first rationale from the department as to why it reassigned dozens of top executives out of Washington.  Bernhardt called the move a valuable management tool to infuse more collaboration and fresh perspectives into different bureaus. The reassignments have also been characterized as moving 30-to-50 opponents of Trump administration policies out of Washington. Union leader Bill Valdez,  president of the Senior Executives Association, said he wished Bernhardt would have shared the information six months ago, but said it was encouraging that Interior is alerting the agency’s senior executives about its intentions. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • National Guard troops in California have been activated to fight multiple wildfires in the state. The 1,300 California guardsmen will be used to track and map existing fires, and detect new ones.  On Friday, the Pentagon said an additional 500 personnel may be activated to provide quick reaction force teams, transportation and even fire suppression. California announced the activations as it struggles to contain massive wildfires caused by extremely dry conditions along its heavily populated southern coastal area.  (Army Times)

 

  • The Defense Department said it wants a delay in the deadline to allow transgender people to join the military. The D.C. District Court issued an injunction requiring the ascension of transgender people starting Jan. 1. DoD said the timeline causes undue burdens. Critics said DoD has been ready to allow transgender people into the military since the summer. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • The Pentagon plans to begin its first-ever financial audit later this month.  It’s widely expected that DoD will fail to earn a clean opinion on its first audit, but the fact that it’s undergoing one is a major milestone in and of itself. Defense officials said they’ve been informed that the DoD inspector general will begin the project this month, though much of the work will be conducted by private-sector audit firms. Pass or fail, it will now be a yearly exercise, with results reported in mid-November of each year. DoD remains the only federal agency that’s never earned a clean opinion on its full financial statement. (Federal News Radio)

 

  • Government agencies have until April 2018 to assign new codes to cybersecurity and IT positions. The Office of Personnel Management said it is working on new guidance to help agencies figure out if their positions should be considered a “critical need.” Agencies should report cyber critical needs to OPM starting in 2019, and then for each of the next three years. OPM said agencies should also spend the next year developing plans to handle these cyber positions and mitigate skills gaps. (Human Capital Officers Council)

 

  • Dozens of small businesses have learned of their eligibility to participate in the next large IT services contract. Eighty small businesses have received General Services Administration awards for a spot on the Alliant II small business governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC). The 10-year contract has a ceiling of $15 billion. Since 2009, agencies have spent more than $6.6 billion through the Alliant small business contract. GSA made awards to the unrestricted version of Alliant in late November, but that vehicle faces protests from four unsuccessful bidders. (Federal Budget Office)

 

  • The Pentagon said it has rarely used the “lowest price technically acceptable” (LPTA) source selection procedure for awarding contracts valued at $10 million or more for the types of services identified by the National Defense Authorization Act, Vendors of professional services got a law discouraging use of LPTA passed last year. Sure enough, the Government Accountability Office found the armed services almost never used LPTA in 2017. Auditors found only nine LPTA deals among 133 contracts for information technology services above $10 million dollars. For seven of the nine, LPTA really was the best deal. (GAO)

Related Stories

    Ryan Zinke

    Zinke slams report about personal use of government helicopters as ‘total fabrication’

    Read more
    Ryan Zinke

    Zinke slams report about personal use of government helicopters as ‘total fabrication’

    Read more
    Ryan Zinke

    Zinke slams report about personal use of government helicopters as ‘total fabrication’

    Read more

Comments