OPM is eliminating dozens of occupational series deemed unnecessary

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  • The Office of Personnel Management is looking to get rid of nearly 50 occupations in the government that are not needed anymore. The list of proposed cuts includes everything from clerks and typists, to patternmakers, sign makers, bakers and theater specialists. OPM said these occupations aren’t needed because of the “evolution of work.” These occupations have 25 or fewer incumbents across government. Positions under these series will be folded into other existing occupations. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • A bipartisan group of senators are again urging the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board to reverse planned changes to the Thrift Savings Plan’s I fund. The board was planning to use a different index to track the I fund starting in mid-2020. FRTIB Chairman Michael Kennedy told the senators, the board will review its decision at a meeting today. The senators fear the index change would expose federal employees to too many Chinese companies that pose too many financial and ethical risks. (Sen. Marco Rubio)
  • Federal employees and annuitants now have a new long-term care insurance option. The Office of Personnel Management announced a new plan and rate structure under the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program called FLTCIP 3.1. It’s designed to keep the costs of premiums down in the future. The new plan includes a premium stabilization feature. The insurance program will calculate a participant’s cost savings as a percentage of premiums paid under the FLTCIP 3.0 group policy. The amount can be used to offset future premium payments under certain conditions. (Federal News Network)
  • The Pentagon has selected Microsoft for its multi-billion dollar JEDI Cloud contract. The announcement marks a major milestone in a contracting process that’s been controversial from the beginning – and it’s fair to call it an upset. Amazon Web Services was widely favored to win the award. Critics of the process, especially Oracle, have alleged the contract was structured to favor AWS from the beginning. DoD said it expects to spend more than $200 million on the contract in its first to years, but JEDI is still the subject of litigation and an inspector general’s investigation. (Federal News Network)
  • New training for federal scientists, and copyrighting government software for private-sector use are part of a plan to commercialize more agency research. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have pitched both ideas, as part of a lab-to-market goal under the President’s Management Agenda. Both agencies have also looked at ways to measure the impact of science and technology policy on commercializing federal research. (Federal News Network)
  • The State Department is moving ahead on design-build contracts for four new projects. Awards from the Bureau of Overseas Buildings and Operations went to a Birmingham, Alabama, company. B.L. Harbert International will do the design and build for structures drawn by various architects. State will erect a new embassy in Windhoek, Namibia, as well as new consulate general buildings in Casablanca, Morocco; Chiang Mai, Thailand; and Merida, Mexico. Since the Clinton administration, State has built 162 new facilities, with 51 to go. (Department of State)
  • The departments of Energy and Agriculture are teaming up to promote rural energy and develop technologies to support agricultural communities and domestic manufacturing. The agencies signed a memorandum of understanding saying they will collaborate on facilitating energy-related investments in rural communities, streamlining and optimizing program resources, encouraging innovation and offering technical assistance to rural communities. USDA and Energy created an interagency working group to focus on five areas, including developing and expanding energy- and manufacturing-related businesses, industries and technologies in rural America and encouraging investments in new or improved rural energy infrastructure. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
  • At least one agency has a plan to meet the 2022 deadline for electronic records management. The Interior Department plans to use an email electronic records management system in the cloud to fulfill the requirements of OMB’s mandate to manage 100% of all records electronically in the next two years. Interior released a request for information asking for industry feedback across five requirements. These include email and document archiving and auto classification of email and other content. Bloomberg Government said the eMail Records and Document Management System could be worth $80 million over the five-year life of the contract. Responses to the RFI are due Nov. 20. (FedBizOpps)
  • Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) would like the Government Accountability Office to take a look at how often the Department of Homeland Security shares personally identifiable information with contractors. In a letter to Comptroller Gene Dodaro, Hassan cited recent data breaches as the reason to look into contractors’ access to PII. (The Hill)
  • A governmentwide council of inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to reconsider its handling of an intelligence community whistleblower complaint against the president. The Council of the IGs on Integrity and Efficiency said a DOJ legal opinion that held up the complaint from reaching Congres, could seriously undermine the role of whistleblowers if the agency doesn’t withdraw it. The opinion from DOJ’S Office of Legal Counsel said the complaint wasn’t an urgent concern because it didn’t pertain to intelligence community operations. (Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency)
  • Two members of the Senate Whistleblower Caucus have asked the intelligence community’s inspector general to outline how he’ll protect the identities of whistleblowers and prevent retaliation. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich) and caucus co-chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said President Donald Trump’s efforts to track down the source of a whistleblower complaint has had a chilling effect on others coming forward. That complaint has led to impeachment proceedings in the House. The senators have asked the IG to respond to their questions by Nov. 14. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is changing the make-up of its police force. The department will implement a police national governance body to help manage and oversee policy issues and create a police modernization office, among other reforms. VA said it used recommendations from GAO and its IG office. (Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • Non-citizens can now be hired by the Census Bureau if they speak a language needed for the count and no U.S. citizens are available for the job. Tim Olson, an associate director at the Bureau said appropriations law makes that exception to fill language needs. The bureau hopes to hire as many as 500,000 workers by next spring. (Associated Press)

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