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The White House does not support giving back pay to low-wage contractors harmed during the 35-day government shutdown. In a Statement of Administration Policy, the administration said the provision in the mini-bus appropriations bill ignores important principles of federal contracting, and would lead to increased cost and risk of fraud, waste and improper payments. The administration said such a provision would be disruptive and costly, especially to meet the dual goals of paying quickly and paying accurately. (White House)
Supervisors said their agency’s culture is the biggest impediment to firing an employee for misconduct. A Merit Systems Protection Board survey of federal supervisors and managers, showed managers see more challenges with their agency’s culture and support from senior management when firing an employee. Just 25% of supervisors said their understanding of the removal process is their biggest challenge. (Merit Systems Protection Board)
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) is trying again to secure more details about the planned transfer of the security clearance portfolio from the Office of Personnel Management to the Pentagon. Warner included several amendments on the security clearance process in the Senate’s draft National Defense Authorization Act. One amendment would give the Defense Department more funding flexibility to establish a working capital fund for the security clearance business. Another measure would require an in-depth report from the new DoD entity that will begin handling security clearances on Oct. 1. The report must detail how the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency will prioritize background investigation requests from agencies and industry.
Inconsistent leadership and an unfocused IT modernization strategy have prevented OPM from improving its retirement claims process for nearly two decades. The Government Accountability Office said OPM’s latest IT retirement services modernization initiatives need a clear plan with specific timelines and goals. But OPM said inconsistent funding and leadership have hindered any progress. OPM said staffing challenges and mistakes on employees’ retirement applications are other roadblocks to improving the claims process. (Federal News Network)
The CIO Council detailed six steps to help agencies reduce the number of applications they run. A new playbook aims to help agencies move faster down a key path toward IT modernization. The application rationalization guide from the CIO Council is trying to provide a structured approach to identify, inventory, assess the value and the total cost, score and determine the future of all the software in use today across an agency. The council said the playbook will also help agencies develop more informed IT strategies, let procurement offices buy services more efficiently and enable users to deliver mission services to customers more effectively. The playbook advises agencies to consider the total cost and benefits of moving applications to the cloud versus keeping them on premise. (CIO Council)
House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said reports of political leaders at the Interior Department screening Freedom of Information Act requests are troubling. He’s called for greater oversight of the agency’s FOIA procedures, and several environmental groups have called on the acting inspector to review the policy as well. Internal emails obtained by Roll Call show political appointees had delayed or withheld the release of records scheduled for release under FOIA request. (House Natural Resources Committee)
Stakeholders in the Postal Service can not wait for Congress to help put it on firmer financial footing. Postal Governor David Williams is the latest to make suggestions to modernize USPS. He said the Postal Service needs to become a more data-centric agency to keep up with its private-sector competitors in the package delivery business. Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Robert Taub said USPS needs to take a closer look at defining its universal standards for delivery. This comes after a majority of the House has cosponsored a bill to preserve door-to-door delivery. (National Association of Letter Carriers)
Army Secretary Mark Esper is poised to be the next acting secretary of Defense, but the change won’t be official for several more days. Even though Patrick Shanahan has submitted his resignation as both the acting secretary and the deputy secretary of Defense, it won’t take effect until midnight Sunday. Esper will take on the duties of acting secretary at the same time. The Pentagon said Esper and Shanahan met briefly yesterday to discuss the transition plan. Ryan McCarthy, the undersecretary of the Army, is expected to become the acting leader of that service. It would be the second time he’s held the acting secretary title during his tenure.
The acting head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission is resigning from her position. Ann Marie Buerkle said she will be withdrawing her nominations to serve as chairman of the commission, and to serve an additional term at the agency. She said she will remain chair until the end of September, then fully depart Oct. 27. (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
The Senate confirmed a Trump nominee, 18 months after the president put him forward. Sean Cairncross received confirmation as president of the Millennial Challenge Corporation. The independent agency makes overseas grants to help alleviate poverty. Cairncross, an attorney, was deputy assistant to the president early in the Trump administration. Before that he worked for the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senate Committee. Cairncross was a partner at a Washington, D.C. law firm specializing in helping businesses and political appointees navigate compliance. (Millennial Challenge Corporation)