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Federal employees may soon have some new flexibility to make up time taken off for religious reasons. A final rule from the Office of Personnel Management allows federal employees to work overtime and earn a special form of compensatory time to make up lost hours used for religious purposes. Employees can adjust their schedules before or after time taken off, but only for religious purposes. They must tell their supervisors about their plans to make up the work and get approval before the religious holiday. (Federal Register)
A new ethics code for employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs is centered on integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence, also known as I-CARE. The code also includes general ethics guidelines for all federal employees. VA said it and other federal agencies have recently implemented codes of integrity. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said the code also incorporates Government Accountability Office recommendations on specific VA management issues. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
The Government Accountability Office’s priority open recommendations for the Department of Homeland Security are out. Chief among them are facilities not implementing National Institute of Standards and Technology standards for improving the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. GAO also cited DHS’ trouble in analyzing costs of more barriers at the U.S. southern border. (Government Accountability Office)
More troops may be on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. A Pentagon spokesperson said 300 more troops could be deployed after a request from DHS for more military assistance. The new troops would be in support roles such as driving buses with detained migrants and providing meals to them. The plan also includes sending Defense Department lawyers to help with processing migrants. (Associated Press)
Fourteen percent of Navy families living in the 6,000 privatized housing units in San Diego and Norfolk, Virginia, requested visits from Navy leadership after reports of mice, mold and lead paint. The Navy said it is working on fixing housing problems and is monitoring property managers’ trouble call databases. Only 2% of the families in the 63,000 government-operated housing units in those areas requested visits. (Navy)
The U.S. Naval Academy’s police chief has been fired following an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment. Chief Lance Royce remained on duty during the course of the investigation, and Navy officials told the Capital Gazette the final results were inconclusive. Nonetheless, the academy confirmed he had been fired as of Thursday. The Navy won’t, however, say why. The department’s deputy chief will lead the law enforcement agency in an acting capacity. The organization’s main mission is to protect the academy, but it provides law enforcement services to other Navy tenants in the Annapolis area. (Federal News Network)
The Defense Department’s top researcher urges caution in awarding contracts and building prototypes faster. Undersecretary for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin said program managers should be careful with the term fail fast, and DoD will always put stock in peer review and reproducible experiments over speed to delivery. (Federal News Network)