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Union employees wasted no time in presenting their priorities to the new chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Chairwoman Janet Dhillon was sworn in yesterday. Council 216 of the American Federation of Government Employees immediately urged her to push for more staff, saying the #MeToo movement has spiked the workload. Council Vice President Rachel Shonfield said the EEOC’s staffing has dropped to under 2,000 the lowest since 1980, adding the Trump administration 2020 budget proposal would cut 180 more. (American Federation of Government Employees)
A bill to give agencies more tools to fight improper payments passes the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The bill would give more agencies access to the Social Security Administration’s Master Death File, in order to avoid paying benefits to deceased individuals. The bill would also set new procedures for SSA to screen its data for extremely elderly beneficiaries who may in fact be dead. (Sen. Tom Carper)
The committee also passed a bill making it easier for congressional offices to help constituents navigate agency services. The bill would let people electronically sign off on allowing their representative or senator to resolve their case at an agency, rather than using written permission. (Sen. Rob Portman)
The Office of Personnel Management is one step closer to getting a permanent director. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced the nomination for Dale Cabaniss to be the next OPM director. The committee easily voted in favor of Cabaniss. But three members including committee Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-Mich.) voted no. The Senate committee also advanced the nomination of Michael Wooten to be administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. (Federal News Network)
Another agency CIO heads to the private sector. The Federal Communications Commission is hanging out the help wanted sign once again for a new CIO after only three months. Christine Calvosa, who had been the permanent CIO since February and acting for the previous 15 months, left the FCC last Thursday to take a job with a commercial bank in Malaysia. A FCC spokesman would only confirm that Calvosa left but declined to say who is the acting CIO. John Skudlarek has been the deputy CIO since 2014 and is the logical person to be acting. Calvosa joined the FCC in 2014 as the deputy CIO after working at the Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for about four years. (Federal News Network)
Congresswomen with military backgrounds are hoping to create their own caucus to help support the growing number of female veterans. There are more than a dozen military and veteran-related caucuses in the House, but none dedicated to the specific needs of women who serve. The still-forming Congressional Servicewomen & Women Veterans Caucus is part of the group’s growing network of influence in national politics which includes efforts to recruit more female veterans to Congress, to help with the unique challenges women veterans face. (Associated Press)
The Department of Veterans Affairs said it’s better positioned now to meet the December deadline and implement the remaining pieces of the Forever GI bill. VA said it named one person in charge of the project, and awarded two new contracts to help it meet implementation deadlines. The MITRE Corporation performed an independent technical assessment of VA’s implementation of the Forever GI bill. It made 20 recommendations. VA also awarded Accenture a $14 million contract to serve as VA’s systems integrator for the GI bill project. (Federal News Network)
A group of Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee introduced a bill to exercise more power over how the Defense Department can move its military construction funds. The bill would cap national emergency military construction transfers at $250 million dollars. It would also hold transfers from happening until Congress is notified.
There will be one more acting secretary at the Pentagon starting June 1. DoD said Air Force Undersecretary Matthew Donovan will become acting secretary of the Air Force after Heather Wilson steps down. Donovan joins a long list of acting secretaries in the Pentagon including the defense secretary and deputy defense secretary.
A spare parts supplier under fire for dramatically overcharging the Pentagon said it won’t be issuing any refunds, at least not for now. A Pentagon audit found TransDigm routinely marked up the parts it delivers as the sole-source contractor for many of the military’s aviation systems – by more than 1,000% in many cases. But company officials testified Wednesday they’re not inclined to issue the refunds the inspector general identified as “excess profits,” because doing so would be an admission of guilt. DoD’s top acquisition official said the company’s practices may have been legal, but that they’re also “immoral” and “unconscionable.” (Federal News Network)
Another federal contractor got caught in the commercial sales false claims act net. Informatica Corporation agreed to pay more than $21 million to resolve allegations it overcharged the government by providing misleading information about its commercial sales practices used in GSA contract negotiations. A former employee of Informatica, a California based software development company, filed the false claims act lawsuit and will take home more than $ 4 million as a reward. (Department of Justice)
President Donald Trump is giving the Commerce secretary more authority over what information and communications technology is allowed in the U.S. He signed an executive order declaring a national emergency due to threats against information and communications technology and services. The secretary of Commerce now has 150 days to develop interim regulations that explain how the government will prohibit transactions posing a risk to national security. (White House)
Fees to use the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service’s independent arbitrators are going up. It’s part of FMCS’ efforts to clarify and streamline regulations which have not been used or are simply redundant. The cost to open up a case with FMCS arbitrators will go up $5. The cost of using FMCS to manually process a new case will go up from $50 to $70. (Federal Register)