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The Bureau of Land Management will soon offer buyouts to its employees. An Interior Department spokesman said the Office of Personnel Management signed off on BLM’s request to offer Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments. Employees will receive the offers in the coming weeks. Interior said it will also host information sessions on these incentives for employees over the next two weeks. BLM said buyouts are an alternative for employees who don’t want to relocate to Colorado or another western state.
Employee engagement across government remained stable in 2019. The latest results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey show a governmentwide engagement index at 68% — the same score as the previous year. The Office of Personnel Management said it also saw small improvements in employees’ perceptions of their supervisors and leaders. The Department of Health and Human Services and NASA had the highest engagement scores among agencies of their size. (Federal News Network)
The end is here for one of the worst websites in government. The General Services Administration said it met its goal of making beta.sam.gov the official source for federal business opportunities by Nov. 8. FBO.gov will officially be retired over Veterans Day weekend. GSA launched Fed Biz Opps in 2000 and the site has basically remained the same in terms of look and feel for the past 19 years. The agency has been developing and testing the new beta.sam.gov since 2017. (General Services Administration)
The National Guard is beginning to create cyber risk mitigation plans for states after some local government IT systems were attacked this summer. Twenty-two counties in Texas had their government systems stalled due to ransomware attacks. The National Guard is taking lessons learned from those incidents to shore up cyber vulnerabilities in other networks. It is also creating plans to find weaknesses in critical infrastructure and election security. (Federal News Network)
The number of bid protests federal contractors filed in fiscal 2019 dropped by 16% compared with the year before. The Government Accountability Office reported vendors filed just under 2,200 cases compared to more than 2,600 last year. Of those protests, 373 came from task- or delivery order-type contracts, which is 100 more than the number vendors filed just two years ago. GAO said the effectiveness rate, which measures how often the protestor received some sort of relief, remained steady for the fifth year in a row. (Government Accountability Office)
Federal prosecutors are charging a New York company and eight of its executives with fraud for allegedly selling Chinese security and surveillance equipment to the government. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York said Aventura Technologies has spent more than a decade mislabeling the gear as American-made, and that the long-running scheme is a grave security concern. The equipment wound up being installed on dozens of Army, Navy and Air Force bases, along with Energy Department facilities and Navy aircraft carriers. (Federal News Network)
President Donald Trump has nominated Elaine McCusker to be the Pentagon’s top financial management official. She’s been the deputy comptroller and chief financial officer since August 2017. Before that, she was a senior executive in charge of resources and analysis at U.S. Central Command. McCusker would move into a vacancy created when the former comptroller, David Norquist, moved up to deputy Defense secretary in July. Since then, McCusker has been leading the comptroller’s office in an acting capacity. (White House)
Senior agency records officials have a new reporting tool to assemble this year’s annual Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reports. But the Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy will allow agencies to continue to use the old method of compiling the data this year if they prefer. OIP has encouraged agencies to use the new reporting tool so that it can tweak it for next year’s reports. (Department of Justice)
With the holiday season about to arrive, the Postal Service is gearing up to deliver more than 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. To handle increased demand, the agency is recruiting seasonal workers and working on ways to maximize its mail and package sorting equipment. In the 10 days leading up to Christmas, USPS estimates it will deliver more than 20 million packages each day. (U.S. Postal Service)