Reminder: No gifts for federal employees, even during a shutdown

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  • Agencies have reminded their employees that ethics rules and guidelines apply during a government shutdown. Federal employees can not accept a gift during a shutdown that they wouldn’t otherwise accept during normal operations. On the other hand, agencies can not typically accept volunteers to provide services during a lapse in funding, nor can they accept volunteer service to replace the services they can’t provide during a lapse in appropriations. (Department of Justice)
  • The House and Senate have adjourned for the week without a deal on appropriations. This means uniformed members of the Coast Guard won’t receive their regularly scheduled paychecks on time by December 31. The Coast Guard said paychecks for military members are delayed until Congress passes some sort of funding deal. This paycheck covered time uniformed members spent working before, and during the partial shutdown. The Coast Guard is only the military service directly impacted by the partial government shutdown. Military members are on a different pay schedule than civilian employees. (Federal News Network)
  • The Office of Personnel Management has sample letters federal employees can use to work with their creditors during the furlough. The letters serve as a guide for impacted employees to prove the partial government shutdown and its impact on their pay. OPM issued similar letters during the 1995-96 and 2013 government shutdowns. Furloughed employees should speak with their landlords, mortgage companies or creditors first, before sending a letter about their financial status. (Federal News Network)
  • Web sites are a mixed bag for federal agencies affected by the partial government shutdown. Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Justice, all citing the lapse in funding, have posted notices that their sites are no longer being updated. Housing and Urban Development displays a tweet indicating the same thing. Treasury’s web site said information may not be up to date. But a refund tracking page of the IRS web site indicated it was updated on Wednesday, with no mention of possible delays. (Federal News Radio)
  • FEMA has issued a stop work notice to all of its contractors that are not exempt from the lapse in Homeland Security funding. Bobby McCane, FEMA’s chief procurement officer, said in a FedBizOpps notice, any work done by the contractor at this point will not be reimbursed. He said they should also issue stop work orders to subcontractors affected by the shutdown. (FedBizOpps)
  • At least two federal courts have put all of their civil cases on hold because of the ongoing government shutdown. The chief judge of New York’s Southern District suspended work on all civil cases until the first business day after the shutdown ends. The Northern District of Ohio had already issued a similar order. Federal courts themselves are unaffected by the shutdown so far, but many of the Justice Department attorneys who represent the government in civil cases have been furloughed. (Federal News Network)
  • Oracle and Amazon are involved in a court fight over whose attorneys are allowed to participate in a challenge to DoD’s JEDI Cloud contract. As part of its bid protest lawsuit, Oracle asked the court of federal claims to give one of its in-house attorneys access to protected material in the case. But AWS objected. In court papers yesterday, the firm argued Oracle already has five capable outside attorneys representing it in the case. AWS said letting Oracle’s own legal team see sensitive procurement information could compromise the ongoing, $10 billion cloud computing procurement.
  • Some Navy personnel are now able to use their mobile devices securely, without having to use their Common Access Cards. The service has started to adopt the Defense Information Systems Agency’s “Purebred” program, which uses derived credentials to authenticate mobile devices on DoD networks. The transition has already started for Apple devices. Android devices are still undergoing testing. (Navy)
  • With the military services still experiencing a high numbers of sexual assaults, they’re trying a new approach to fight the problem. The Army, Air Force, and Navy are holding a conference on preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault at colleges and universities. The organizing event will be held this coming April at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. (Navy)