Federal employees union wants CFPB official gone

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  • A union representing employees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a mass grievance against the agency. The National Treasury Employees Union wants CFPB’s policy director of supervision, enforcement and fair lending Eric Blankenstein to either step down, or be removed. The Washington Post reported in September Blankenstein had made several blog posts back in 2004 defending the use of racial slurs. NTEU claimed keeping Blankenstein on violates a clause in the the union’s contract with the agency, which says CFPB must maintain a workplace that is free of discrimination. (National Treasury Employees Union)
  • 16 Democratic senators said federal agencies have been too slow to comply with a recent court order which invalidated the president’s May executive orders. The senators wrote to acting Office of Personnel Management Director Margaret Weichert, saying some agencies have been engaging in bad faith bargaining and negotiations. That’s even after the federal district court struck down key parts of the president’s orders. (Federal News Network)
  • An advisor to the governor of Arizona is President Trump’s pick for Homeland Security Inspector General. The White House announced Joseph Cuffari as the nominee. He has more than 40 years of military service, including time with the Air Force and Arizona Air National Guard. He also served in the Inspector General’s Office at DoD and in different roles at the Justice Department. He’s currently an advisor on military and veterans affairs for Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. (White House)
  • The Agriculture Department’s IG is looking into the agency’s decision to relocate two bureaus outside the DC metro area. DC area Members of Congress requested the office review USDA’s plans to move the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Economic Research Service. They wanted auditors to determine if USDA has the legal and budget authority to move the bureaus, and if the agency followed the procedures for realignment and relocation. (Rep. Steny Hoyer)
  • The Federal Labor Relations Authority is closing its Boston regional office. The FLRA said it considered caseloads, operating and rental costs, and staffing when making the decision as part of its agency reform plan. It will stop accepting new cases on November 16. After that, they should either go to the agency’s D.C. office or possibly Chicago. (Federal Labor Relations Authority)
  • After more than three years, the Defense Information Systems Agency is still not using the cyber excepted service to help hire civilian cyber experts. The service gave the Defense Department more flexibility in hiring and pay for cyber positions. DISA Director Vice Admiral Nancy Norton blamed a risk adverse culture for the delay. (Federal News Network)
  • More than a dozen DoD offices will contribute to a new organization charged with combating cyber theft. Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered the creation of a new task force charged exclusively with safeguarding the technologies the Pentagon depends on for technological superiority. It will use staff borrowed from across the military services and other DoD organizations to solve what Mattis calls a “critical” problem: the theft of Defense information, including unclassified information. The new office will start with 30 and 90 day sprints to tackle what he calls “basic” problems in DoD’s ability to protect sensitive information. (Federal News Network)
  • Veterans homelessness is down five point four percent in 2018 since the previous year. The departments of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs said they counted about 2,000 fewer homeless veterans in emergency shelters or transitional housing in January 2018, compared to 2017. HUD Secretary Ben Carson and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said success is due to the HUD-VA Supportive Housing Program. Over 4,000 veterans found housing through the program last year. 64 local communities and three states declared an end to veterans homelessness. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • The strategy to move agencies more toward shared services is getting a refresh. The Office of Management and Budget will revamp the current thinking to what success looks like for agencies who adopt common back-office services. In the December update to the President’s Management Agenda, OMB is expected to refresh the three strategies that underpin the cross-agency goal. Federal CIO Suzette Kent said the new approach will focus on continuous innovation, make customer service a priority and clarify what success looks like. Success could mean anything from contributing to and adopting standards to moving to new services to moving to entirely new systems.
  • Homeland Security is looking for industry ideas for its second Biometric Technology Rally. The rally was created to challenge companies to develop biometric systems that can quickly and accurately recognize users. Interested organizations must enter a white paper and video by the end of November. (Department of Homeland Security)
  • Health and Human Services could face a wave of activity following next week’s mid-term elections. Medicaid expansion is on the ballot in several states, leading to what one researcher called a potential Medicaid wave. Writing in Health Affairs, Harvard public health professor John McDonough said Idaho, Nebraska and Utah appear to be states 34, 35 and 36 voting to expand Medicaid. Virginia will add 400,000 people in January . McDonough helped design the Affordable Care Act as a Senate advisor in 2008. (Health Affairs)
  • The leader of a massive IRS impersonation scam got over 11 years in prison. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Justice Department, and Social Security Adminstration were involved with the case. Investigators identified a team of five people who convinced more than 6,000 victims to pay out more than $10 million. (Department of Justice)