White House’s proposed raise will increase special pay rates, too

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  • Occupations and positions with special pay rates are also expected to see a 2.6% raise next year. The Office of Personnel Management said the default special pay rate for 2020 will be in line with the president’s proposed pay raise for civilian employees under the General Schedule. Agencies can ask to deviate from the default special rate adjustment or make changes from the previous year. Agencies generally use the special pay rate authority for certain positions that have especially tough recruitment or retention challenges. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • Federal employees and contractors with a top-secret level clearance will eventually be subject to mandatory social media checks. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and OPM are overhauling the number and type of background investigative tiers. It’s part of the Trump administration’s Trusted Workforce 2.0 initiative. ODNI gave agencies permission back in 2016 to start using publicly available social media information to monitor and investigate clearance holders. But ODNI said agencies largely haven’t used that authority. (Federal News Network)
  • Hundreds of thousands of Defense Department employees are without services like alcohol treatment and financial counseling because of problems with an interagency agreement. Officials haven’t specified the reasons, but the Employee Assistance Program was suspended over Labor Day weekend. EAP had been delivered to DoD employees via an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Federal Occupational Health program. Defense officials said HHS has now agreed to temporarily resume the services, which also include legal aid, conflict resolution and other programs, but haven’t specified exactly when that might happen. Under federal law, all agencies are required to provide EAP programs. (Federal News Network)
  • The Interior Department exceeded its authority when it kept national parks open during the 35-day partial government shutdown. The Government Accountability Office found the agency violated the Antideficiency Act when it spent money collected from National Park Service fees to keep the parks open during the shutdown, and to pay for trash collection and keep restrooms clean. This marks one of more than a dozen shutdown-related reviews GAO has agreed to work on. (Rep. Betty McCollum)
  • In order to get a better idea of the air quality overseas, the State Department is looking to use the internet of things. Landon Van Dyke, a senior adviser on energy, environment and sustainability, said the agency has also looked at partnerships with other governments to help them set up their own network of IOT sensors. Van Dyke said the agency is also looking at ways to expand its IOT capabilities to monitor for the threat of flooding and earthquakes. (Federal News Network)
  • CACI Enterprise Solutions was awarded a $385 million contract to support the MyNavy HR Transformation. The task order will provide technical support to upgrade the Navy’s HR systems to a modern, cloud-based infrastructure. CACI will integrate platforms, mission capabilities and programs to build an interoperable and scalable network of capabilities for sailors. Work will take place in Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Florida. (Navy)
  • More details emerge about the Defense Secretary’s review of the controversial cloud procurement known as JEDI. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has received two or three briefings of two hours each about the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI program over the last few weeks. Speaking to reporters on his way to European Command, Esper said he’s also gone back and done his own research, including reviewing language in the Defense authorization bill, letters from Congress and independent reports on the program. He said he has no firm timeline in mind for when he will make a decision about JEDI. Esper also acknowledged that DoD’s inspector general’s review of JEDI also will play into his decision timeline. (Department of Defense)
  • The Social Security Administration has selected 10 private sector organizations to test out its new Consent Based Social Security Number Verification service. SSA plans to begin the pilot in June 2020 and expand it six months later. Through this new fee-based verification service, the entities, which includes the Navy Federal Credit Union, ID Analytics and others, will be able to more easily verify if a person’s Social Security number, name and date of birth combination matches Social Security records. Social Security said it will accept an electronic signature to disclose verification to program participants. (Social Security Administration)
  • Chris Townsend is leaving as the head of federal for cybersecurity firm Symantec, for a similar post at UiPath. Townsend joined Symantec as its vice president of federal in 2017 and has worked mainly in the cybersecurity and networking field. G2XChange reported he’s now joining UiPath, which provide robotics process automation services, as its vice president of federal.

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