OGE considering restrictions for donations to federal employees’ legal expense funds

In today's Federal Newscast, the Office of Government Ethics wants feedback on whether it should set restrictions on donations to legal expense funds for federa...

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  • The Office of Government Ethics wants feedback on whether it should set restrictions on donations to legal expense funds for federal employees. In its request for comment, OGE also asked whether it should require public disclosure of donors. OGE will hold a virtual public hearing on the issue on May 22 and will accept written comments through June 14. (Federal Register)
  • The Interior Business Center said most of its customers will see the 2019 federal pay raise and retroactive lump sum payments reflected in their checks by April 23. IBC said employees may see delays if they experienced a change in pay status between now and the beginning of the year, if agencies haven’t finished accounting for those changes. IBC said members of the Senior Executive Service should also see the 2019 raises, if their agencies made pay status changes in advance. (Federal News Network)
  • For those who did experience a change in pay status since the start of year, they may need to wait a little longer. Paychecks will need to be manually changed to reflect the 2019 raise. The IRS told the National Treasury Employees Union nearly 25,000 IRS employees experienced a pay status change in the last four months. The National Finance Center will need to make those changes manually. NTEU said it could be another four months before the pay raise is ready for these employees. (Federal News Network)
  • President Donald Trump’s proposed 10% cut to the Merit Systems Protection Board’s budget would have a direct and negative impact on the agency, leaders said. MSBP submitted its own budget bypass to Congress, requesting at least what it got in fiscal 2019, to quickly process appeals and fill potential workforce gaps. MSPB is an independent agency and can submit its own appropriations requests to Congress. The board already lacks a quorum and the holdover term for the last remaining member expired in March. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to get rid of a decades-old paper process to measure employee performance. VA currently uses five different forms to collect information on the performance of more than 380,000 employees. Each of those PDF forms must be manually scanned into the employees’ Electronic Official Personnel Folder. VA leadership said there has to be a better way. A new request for information seeks input from vendors on how a cloud-based employee performance management system could automate the entire process. VA is considering a 10-year contract to implement this software-as-a-service application. VA said the current manual paper-based process makes it difficult to achieve transparency, accountability and report metrics on VA performance management. It also greatly hinders the agency’s ability to manage performance of its employees. Responses to the RFI are due May 7. (FedBizOpps)
  • The Air Force will soon implement a new way of promoting officers by creating at least seven categories to separate airmen into. Each category will have different criteria for promotion. The service hopes the new standards will give airmen more flexibility to pursue interests related to their careers. (Federal News Network)
  • There will be a new chief technology officer position in the Air Force to oversee all of its science and technology research. The new CTO will execute the branch’s recent S&T plan, which will invest heavily in vanguard technologies and give scientists leeway to experiment in broad topics of interest. (Federal News Network)
  • The military’s service academies said they’re implementing the Pentagon’s new policy on transgender service. The Naval Academy and the Coast Guard Academy both said they’re complying with the Trump Administration’s policy, starting with the 2020 school year. The change disqualifies transgender applicants if they’ve already transitioned from their biological gender or if they’ve received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. The American Medical Association is among the organizations who’ve criticized the change in recent days. AMA said there’s no medically valid reason to keep transgender individuals out of military service. (Federal News Network)
  • House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman John Garamendi (D-Calif.), said Congress is considering taking activities away from major bases vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather. He also said he will not vote for any new military construction unless it’s climate change resilient. Garamendi’s comments come after the military asked for nearly $10 billion to fix bases damaged by hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding in the last year. (Federal News Network)
  • NASA and GSA sign a memorandum of understanding to improve major construction and facility improvement efforts. Under the agreement, the space agency and GSA established a programmatic framework for new construction projects, particularly to build and modernize NASA-owned offices and laboratories. The Public Building Service will apply these standards to make sure several projects, including one at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia and another at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, deliver on-time and on-schedule. (General Services Administration)
  • Law enforcement officers throughout the country would benefit from easier access to mental health treatment, the Justice Department said. In its first study of the mental health and wellness of the nation’s 800,000 law enforcement personnel, DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) urged Congress to support federal, state and local development of community based mental health resources for police. Including programs that embed mental health practitioners in law enforcement agencies. (Department of Justice)

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