Federal arbiters to cut down leave, telework days for HHS employees

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  • Department of Health and Human Services employees may soon see some of their allowances reduced. The Federal Services Impasses Panel sided mostly with management in a dispute between labor groups and the agency. The changes, which concern telework and paid leave around December holidays, are still on hold while other aspects of the Collective Bargaining Agreement are negotiated. (National Treasury Employees Union)
  • Customs and Border Protection has canceled its recruitment and hiring contract with Accenture Federal Services. CBP said it ended its multi-million dollar contract for convenience with no penalty to Accenture. Accenture received a total of $21 million for completed work — including $19 million in start-up costs — and another $2 million for about 56 applicants that Accenture got through the hiring process. CBP and Accenture are settling outstanding charges. The balance of remaining contract funds will go back to the Treasury. (Federal News Network
  • The departure of Secretary Kirstjen Neilsen is just one more hole in the management swiss cheese of the Department of Homeland Security. With Kevin McAleenan as acting secretary, Customs and Border Protection will no longer have a full-time head. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will also go longer without a confirmed head now that President Donald Trump withdrew the nomination of Ron Vitello. DHS also lacks a permanent deputy secretary, chief financial officer and undersecretary for science and technology. There’s no undersecretary for strategy, policy and plans either. The deputy undersecretary for management will leave soon for the private sector. (Federal News Network)
  • Trump nominated U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza to serve as the next head of the Small Business Administration. If confirmed, she will replace outgoing Administrator Linda McMahon. Carranza served as SBA’s deputy administrator for more than three years, under the George W. Bush administration. Prior to serving in government, she spent more than 20 years working for UPS, and served as president of the company’s Latin America and Caribbean operations. Trump, in a tweet posted Thursday, praised McMahon for having “done an outstanding job,” and said he will “look forward” to having Carranza join his Cabinet. (Federal News Network)
  • Mark Calabria was confirmed as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. He takes over for acting director Joe Otting. FHFA oversees the government sponsored entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Calabria was a senior aide on the Senate Banking Committee, where he helped in writing the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. (Department of the Treasury)
  • Agencies have a new guide for selecting, assessing and training program managers. The Office of Personnel Management identified 32 competencies and 19 technical competencies agencies can use as a guide to recruit and retain program management talent. It surveyed over 7,000 federal employees for their ideas. The competencies and survey are part of OPM’s efforts to comply with the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act. (Chief Human Capital Officer Council)
  • HHS was the first agency to try out the new direct hire authority for technology positions. Less than 24 hours after the direct hire rule came out, HHS looked to hire four people with that new authority. HHS and the U.S. Digital Service issued a job notice on Friday saying it would accept the first 100 applicants over the next two days. HHS said it’s looking for candidates in four skillset areas: IT specialists, IT customer support, IT data management and IT policy and planning. OPM finalized the rule on April 4, giving CIOs the ability to hire people with IT expertise more quickly for a term appointment of no more than four years. (USA Jobs)
  • Cybersecurity remains the hottest service under the Alliant 2 governmentwide acquisition contract, but artificial intelligence and robotics process automation are catching up quickly. GSA reported agencies contracted for 128 cyber projects in 2018, while big data and virtual networking followed closely. GSA said the Alliant 2 contract saw a big jump in the number of AI and RPA projects with 61 and 72 projects, respectively. Overall, agencies spent more than $4.4 billion on 112 task orders on Alliant 2 last year. (General Services Administration)
  • The Army wants to get to work quickly on outsourcing at least some of its IT infrastructure to private companies. In a notice to industry, the Army said it’s considering using Other Transaction Authority instead of a traditional contract to begin a project it calls IT-as-a-service. It’s planning to pilot the approach in at least 15 of its bases, starting with three this year. The work would encompass a range of IT services the Army currently delivers on its own, from wide-area networking to application hosting, collaboration and help desk services. The service said it’s current approach won’t let it modernize its enterprise IT quickly enough to meet soldiers’ needs. (FedBizOpps)
  • To help more soldiers get civilian occupational licenses, the Army is also looking to expand its Credentialing Assistance Program. The program started as a pilot in Fort Hood, Texas in 2018. Army Sgt. Maj. Dan Daily said it will expand to all installations starting Oct. 1. The Army hopes that by credentialing soldiers in civilian occupations, they will have an easier time getting jobs once they leave the military.
  • The Air Force will merge its two organizations overseeing cyber, intelligence and electronic warfare. Air Combat Command said it will combine its 24th and 25th Air Forces at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, with the hopes of increasing unity across cyber and other areas to provide more options for combatant commanders. (Air Force)

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