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After a pay raise for federal employees was signed into law recently, the National Treasury Employees Union wants to know when they can expect to see the extra cash. NTEU President Tony Reardon wrote to acting Office of Personnel Management Director Margaret Weichert, asking for an immediate update on when federal employees could expect to see it in their paychecks. Congress recently included an average 1.9 percent pay raise for civilian employees in a larger spending package for the rest of 2019. President Donald Trump signed the spending package into law over a week ago. (National Treasury Employees Union)
The Trump administration wants to overhaul the white-collar federal pay system. The President’s Pay Agent said it has concerns about the current methodology the government uses to compare federal employee pay with the private sector, saying it does not reflect job shortages within certain occupations and fails to consider employee benefits when making pay comparisons. The President’s Pay Agent includes the Labor secretary, and the directors of the OPM and the Office of Management and Budget. (Office of Personnel Management)
There’s bipartisan support to try to reinstate a labor-management advisory panel in the executive branch. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) reintroduced legislation that would establish a National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations. It would consist of federal employee union leaders, the OPM director and deputy director for management at OMB. The Obama administration formed a similar group. But the Trump administration disbanded it back in 2017. (House Oversight and Reform Committee)
The Trump administration joined the battle over the fiscal 2020 budget. The White House will seek reductions of 5 percent in non-defense programs for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. It will try to get around sequestration cuts to the Defense Department by stuffing more spending into overseas contingency operations accounts. Unless Congress acts otherwise, automatic 10 percent cuts would take place under the Budget Control Act. The president’s request is due out in March. (Federal News Network)
Agencies have until mid-April to report back on some key records-management metrics. The National Archives and Records Administration will send records officers a survey to gauge how well they’re maintaining email records. Senior agency officials for records management must also submit data for their annual reports. Agencies also have to complete their annual records management self-assessments, which track compliance with NARA records management policies and guidance.
Agencies received recognition for the ways they are improving mission outcomes. The first ever Gears of Government Awards went to 116 agency teams or individuals to honor their efforts to achieve better mission outcomes, improve services to citizens or for spending money more effectively. OMB announced the awards yesterday and will hold a recognition ceremony in May during Public Service Recognition Week. Fourteen agencies received GEAR awards with HHS garnering the most with 20, while Commerce, Agriculture, Treasury, SBA and SSA all received at least 10 honors. (Performance.gov)
You may soon be able to Venmo the IRS if you owe tax money. The agency is looking at ways to make paying delinquent debts through tools like Square credit car readers. In a request for information, it’s looking for non-cash payment tools revenue officers can use to collect debts. The IRS has asked vendors about mobile apps and devices, as well as other platforms. (Federal News Network)
The Army, Navy and Marine Corps released their plans to deal with reports of mold, rats and lead paint at on-base military housing. The Army and Air Force will inspect all of their housing units. The Navy and Marine Corps will require commanding officers to reach out to all residents in on-base housing, to ask if they would like leadership to look at issues with the houses. The Air Force already ordered a full inspection of its 74,500 housing units by March 1. (Federal News Network)
Innovation is more than a buzzword at the FBI. The bureau is launching an IT Innovation Council to bring technology experts and non-IT experts together to focus on customer service improvements. The idea for the council came from the success of the FBI’s centralized help desk or solutions center to address employee technology problems. (Federal News Network)
Software is a component of almost every modern weapons system, but DoD’s data on how much it costs is fuzzy-at-best. A new study by the Government Accountability Office said software costs are largely missing from the top-line figures DoD reports about how expensive its systems are to maintain. That’s partly because the Pentagon hasn’t enforced a policy that requires the military services to report software costs to a central database. GAO said there are also differences in how the services’ account for software updates: The Navy considers them an ongoing engineering expense, while the Army and Air Force classify them as depot maintenance. (Government Accountability Office)
Veterans suicide prevention is the next big interest for Veterans Affairs congressional committees. Senate Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said he’ll introduce a bill next week designed to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ suicide prevention efforts. The bill would ensure all transitioning military members have health care for up to a year after leaving active-duty. House Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) said he’s planning a roundtable on veterans suicide next week. Takano said he wants to learn from communities who have been successful in engaging veterans who aren’t active in the VA. (American Legion)
Following the arrest of a coast guard lieutenant for making terrorist threats based on his beliefs as a white nationalist, a few democratic lawmakers want to know what DoD and the Department of Homeland Security are doing to fight extremism in the military. In a letter, congressmen applauded efforts by law enforcement in the swift arrest of Lt. Christopher Hasson, but explained their worry that he was able to serve for such a long time while harboring his dangerous views. (Rep. Jamie Raskin)