GAO has suggestions for Congress in handling whistleblowers

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  • What are best practices for Congress when dealing with federal whistleblowers? The Government Accountability Office has some answers. While not calling them recommendations, GAO listed some key practices for Hill staff. Ideas included developing a solid system to document and track whistleblower complaints with written procedures, building good communications and rapport, and offering whistleblowers referral options and realistic expectations. The report, aided by the Office of Special Counsel and the Inspectors General council, was ordered up by the House Committee on Appropriations. (Government Accountability Office)
  • Federal contractors said they’re still recovering from the most recent government shutdown. Some still had unpaid invoices as of two weeks ago according to the Professional Services Council. Leidos said it lost $14 million in revenue because of the shutdown and it impacted nearly 1,000 employees at the company. Another small business told the House Oversight and Reform Government Operations Subcommittee that it came within days of declaring bankruptcy. (Federal News Network)
  • President Trump’s nominee to be the next director of the Office of Personnel Management sailed through her Senate nomination hearing. Dale Cabaniss said she’ll have to share more details with Congress about the proposed OPM reorganization, because much of it will require legislative action. She also said she wants to focus on hiring young talent to the federal workforce, and conduct a bottom-up review of the retirement processing system. (Federal News Network)
  • The 28 Federal Executive Boards across the country had an especially productive fiscal 2018. OPM said FEBs trained over 31,000 federal employees last year, saving agencies nearly $10 million. Eight FEBs worked with the Office of Management and Budget to enroll talented GS-13s through 15s in an inter-agency rotational program. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • The General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service kicked off its annual customer survey earlier this month. FAS plans to use the data to see how it’s meeting industry and agency customer needs. Last year, FAS received more than 13,000 responses. In the meantime, GSA said it is making some changes based on responses, including reducing or eliminating minimum order quantities and making it easier for vendors to upload changes to their catalogs on GSA Advantage. (General Services Administration)
  • Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) plan to introduce a regulatory reform bill in the coming days. The Setting Manageable Analysis Requirements in Text Act would require agencies to give advanced notice for rules costing more than $100 million annually. Agencies would also have to outline the problems their proposed rules would solve, and set metrics for how those rules would measure success. (Sen. James Lankford)
  • The IRS will be hanging the help wanted sign out for a new chief information officer. Gina Garza, the current CIO at the tax agency, is retiring on May 31 after more than 34 years of federal service, including the last three as the lead technology executive. Nancy Sieger, the IRS deputy CIO for filing season and tax reform, will replace Garza on an interim basis. An IRS spokeswoman confirmed Garza’s decision to retire and Sieger’s interim appointment. Garza began her IRS career in 1984 as GS-3 mail clerk. She moved into IT in 1987 and ascended up the executive career ladder, holding several positions including deputy CIO for operations, associate CIO for the Affordable Care Act program management office and the deputy associate commissioner for business integration. (Federal News Network)
  • Lieutenant General Marshall Webb was selected as the leader of Air Education and Training Command. Under that position he’ll be responsible for the recruitment, instruction and education of airmen. Webb currently serves as the top official at Air Force Special Operations Command. Webb takes over for Lieutenant General Steven Kwast. (Department of Defense)
  • A new plan from the Air Force looks to improve its on-base privatized housing. The outline includes five major lines of effort and 27 initiatives to correct issues servicewide. Further details on the plan have not yet been released. The Air Force began looking at its privatized housing after reports of mold, mice and lead paint. (Air Force)
  • The Pentagon’s inspector general is opening a new investigation into housing conditions on military bases. The IG’s announcement said it will look specifically at Fort Gordon, Georgia, Naval Station Mayport, Florida, and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. Auditors said they’re following up on previous housing inspections in 2015 that found hundreds of deficiencies ranging from inadequate fire protection to mold and electrical problems. Besides examining whether those specific problems have been addressed, the IG wants to know whether the military services have improved their oversight of housing providers. (Department of Defense)
  • With the Merit Systems Protection Board still without any members, two Congressmen want to make sure agency whistleblowers are still protected. Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) introduced a bill to give MSPB’s general counsel the power to stay personnel decisions made by agency leadership, for as long as the board remains without any members. President Trump nominated his third pick for the MSPB last week. (Federal News Network)

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