MSPB: Agencies rarely act on managers who fail probationary period

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  • Agencies rarely use the probationary period to take action against unsuccessful supervisors who are new on the job. The Merit Systems Protection Board found that between 1999 and 2016, only about seven for every 1,000 new supervisors faced consequences for failing their probationary period. MSPB research found that supervisors historically survive the probationary period, and the likelihood of probationary period failure was less frequent 20 years ago. Agencies removed just 63 new supervisors for failing their probationary period back in 1999. (Merit Systems Protection Board)
  • The Office of Special Counsel wants whistleblower protections to extend to federal employees who uncover wrongdoing by any entity in the private sector and not just agencies. It filed a brief with MSPB for a case involving a Treasury employee who says she was retaliated against for disclosing improper practices by a non-federal bank. OSC said the Whistleblower Protection Act’s protections should extend to those making claims about non-federal entities. (Office of Special Counsel)
  • There’s a new commissioner at Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Service. Tim Gribben, former CFO at SBA, took over on May 13 for Kim McCoy. McCoy retired after 27 years of federal service. Gribben had been with the SBA since 2009 and had been its CFO since 2016. He also worked at the Postal Service and several private sector firms. (Department of the Treasury)
  • Another intelligence officer is heading to prison for disclosing sensitive information to the Chinese government. Former CIA officer Kevin Mallory was accused of trying to sell at least five classified documents to the Chinese government back in 2017. He’s been sentenced to 20 years in prison. (Department of Justice)
  • The Justice Department moved to strengthen ties with law enforcement at the state and local level. Attorney General William Barr greenlit a new unit within the Office of Legislative Affairs. It’s called the State and Local Law Enforcement Coordination Section. Its purpose is to make sure Justice executives are kept informed of the law enforcement priorities at the non-federal level. The section’s first task is developing a plan for how to engage directly with state and local entities. (Department of Justice)
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development is looking for help standing up its Office of the Chief Data Officer. In a draft RFQ, HUD looks for its CDO to help the agency make smarter financial decisions, as well as improve data quality and data sharing. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act requires agencies appoint a CDO by the end of July. (GitHub)
  • HUD and GSA released six draft requests for quotes to industry seeking input on moving HUD in to the implementation phase of the Centers of Excellence IT modernization program. The draft RFQs want feedback on how HUD can adopt a forms-as-a-service and electronic records management cloud system. There are two for data analytics. HUD also wants a centralized contact center with a knowledge management and customer relationship management system. Responses to the draft RFQs are due May 31. (GitHub)
  • The Office of Personnel Management is joining the General Services Administration’s Center of Excellence Initiative. GSA and OPM will sign a series of inter-agency agreements to start a sprint-based discovery phase to modernize OPM’s legacy IT systems. GSA’s IT teams will work on OPM’s retirement services system and three others. OPM is the third agency to partner with GSA’s Centers of Excellence. The partnership is also part of the Trump administration’s to merge some of OPM’s existing activities with GSA, without legislation. (Federal News Network)
  • The Pentagon’s inspector general said DoD is out of compliance with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act for the seventh straight year. The law tells all federal agencies to track their improper payments and set annual goals for reducing them. But the IG said DoD’s estimates are unreliable. Auditors said the department wrongly excluded more than $6 billion dollars in transactions from its payment reviews last year, and did inadequate payment reviews on another $5 billion in spending. Because of that, the IG said DoD can’t know whether it’s taking the right steps to reduce its improper payments. (Department of Defense)
  • A former defense official is sounding the alarm about UFO’s. Although it’s not aliens that former Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Christopher Mellon is worried about. In a recent op-ed for The Hill, Mellon explained how since 2015, dozens of Navy F-18 fighter jets have encountered unidentified aerial phenomenon, what used to be called UFO’s. Rather than extraterrestrials, he said this likely means a potential adversary has mastered technologies the U.S. hasn’t matched. He wants Congress to investigate the sightings and deliver their findings to the public. (The Hill)
  • House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) wants to punish the Defense Department for dragging its feet on implementing congressionally-mandated acquisition reforms. He’s looking to include an idea in the next Pentagon funding bill, which fences off funding from the DoD chief management officer until it has a plan to cut DoD’s fourth estate. (Federal News Network)

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