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A White House plan to take away some workers’ rights from civilian Defense Department employees was denied support from the Senate. The idea was included in the administration’s proposal for creating a Space Force, and it called for giving the Pentagon broad authority to fire civilian employees and deny them the right to appeal. The Senate Armed Services Committee did not include the provision in its 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
The American Federation of Government Employees wants more than 2,000 employees out of a multi-agency facility in St. Louis. The building has a history of problems with hazardous materials, including lead and asbestos. The issue stems from a 2016 Occupational Safety and Health Administration report, which found several instances of unsafe working conditions. The facility has also been reviewed multiple times by the General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General. AFGE also filed a complaint of whistleblower relation with the Office of Special Counsel, claiming GSA considered reassigning an employee who brought concerns to management. (Federal News Network)
Agencies are offering mixed messages on how their employees should handle commuting challenges due to Metro closures in the Washington, D.C. area this summer. The Agriculture Department said employees are still limited to telework one day a week, but is encouraging supervisors to approve leave requests during summer Metro closures. Also, one office within the Department of Health and Human Services implemented a one-day a week limit on telework starting this week, according to the National Treasury Employees Union. (Federal News Network)
Changes are coming to the Transportation Security Administration’s performance management system for uniformed officers. A new recognition program will identify and reward the highest performing TSA officers. The agency said TSA officers with a satisfactory performance rating will still be eligible for a pay raise or performance bonus depending on available funding. Employees in the Model Officers program will get salary bumps, monetary awards and other forms of recognition throughout the year. The agency said feedback from the TSA National Advisory Council, other experts and the officers themselves informed the changes. (Transportation Security Administration)
The General Services Administration is looking for help from vendors to help recruit IT talent. GSA posted a solicitation on Tuesday looking for help to recruit for hard-to-fill jobs at its Technology Transformation Services office. The agency is looking for application engineers, and dev ops and security engineers, as well as customer experience specialists. GSA said it has an immediate need for six fill-time dev ops engineers. Vendors would have to reach out to prospective candidates and screen their qualifications. Vendors have until the end of May to respond to the solicitation.
Members of Congress wasted no time in criticizing the Trump administration’s plans to close nine Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) wants Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to reconsider plans to transfer the Job Corps program from U.S. Forest Service to the Labor Department. Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) also announced their opposition to the move. The closure of nine Job Corps centers would lay off some 1,100 federal employees.
The Navy’s newest numbered fleet is now operational. The service declared initial operating capability for the 2nd Fleet Wednesday, just a year after officials decided to re-establish the headquarters to help counter what they view as increasing threats from Russia. The Norfolk-based command will have responsibility for ships and other forces operating up and down the East Coast and other areas of the North Atlantic. Officials said they’ll focus on high-end training, including via the upcoming Baltic Operations exercise in northern Europe. (Federal News Network)
The Defense Department isn’t done asking for bigger budgets. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said the military is entering its second phase of recapitalizing readiness. The increased budgets over the last three years were used to fill gaps, but Dunford said DoD now needs more money to keep its competitive edge against China and Russia. (Federal News Network)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services seeks an extension of an information gathering program. In a Federal Register notice, the agency asked for comments on extending a program of using focus groups of citizens, to get qualitative feedback on its services. The agency said the focus groups have given what it calls useful insights on how to improve, and early warnings of problems. USCIS anticipates needing 3,000 people, each participating in 90-minute sessions. Comments are due July 29. (Federal Register)