LGBT workers at the Justice Department want reassurance from Attorney General

In today's Federal Newscast, employees at the Justice Department, who are also members of the LGBT community want reassurance from Attorney General William Barr...

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  • LGBT employees at the Justice Department want reassurance from Attorney General William Barr that they won’t face discrimination at the workplace. DOJ Pride, an organization of LGBT workers at the department, sent a letter to Barr expressing distress over DOJ arguing against such protections in a recent Supreme Court case. (DOJ Pride)
  • The American Federation of Government Employees expressed concern over what it says is suppression of whistleblower rights at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Acting USCIS director Mark Koumans last week warned employees they could face termination if they leak non-public information. AFGE Council 119 calls it an effort to silence employees. It’s joined in the complaint by the Government Accountability Project.
  • A new tool is out to help agencies measure the success of their performance appraisal programs. The Office of Personnel Management revised its Performance Appraisal Assessment Tool to help agencies evaluate their informal and formal performance feedback mechanisms, whistleblower protections and other tools for supervisors. The tool is a voluntary self assessment. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
  • OPM has chosen 402 finalists for this year’s Presidential Management Fellows Program. Fellows will interview with agencies throughout the year to find placements. Fellowships last for two years and include leadership development training and rotational experiences. The goal is to eventually place fellows within a permanent career position at an agency. Nearly 49,000 people applied for the PMF program this year.
  • The Defense Department’s top scientist is asking the Defense Science Board to study microelectronics, critical infrastructure and the industrial base. Michael Griffin, undersecretary for research and engineering, asked that three task forces are formed to study the topics. The teams will look at how to find a trustworthy supply of microelectronics to the military and how to broaden and strengthen the defense industrial base. The third task force will look at vulnerabilities caused by the military relying on civilian power plants and water supplies. (Federal News Network)
  • Charles Williams is nominated as the next Navy assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment. Williams served 32 years in the Navy before retiring in 2005. He currently serves as the president of Commercial Realty in St. Louis. Williams will inherit significant privatized housing issues that plague all of the military services. Service members reported instances of lead paint, mold and mice in the homes managed by military contractors. (White House)
  • The Navy has a new 20-year plan to fix some of the most critical shortcomings at its aging ship repair facilities. But a new audit says it may be low-balling the cost. The Navy estimates the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan will cost $21 billion. But a new review by the Government Accountability Office says that estimate might not be reliable. GAO says the Navy didn’t document the assumptions it made to arrive at that figure, didn’t account for inflation over the next 20 years, and still hasn’t settled on new roles and responsibilities for managing the shipyards. GAO says the Navy runs the risk of not asking Congress for enough money to execute the massive project. (Government Accountability Office)
  • GAO is recommending the Defense Department include contractor ownership in its department-wide fraud risk assessments. GAO said there are certain risks attached to opaque ownership such as ineligible contractors receiving contracts and foreign firms receiving sensitive information through U.S.-based companies. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Commerce Department is considering limiting the scope of a ban on certain telecommunications vendors. The agency, in a proposed rule, would take a case-by-case approach to banning telecoms vendors owned or controlled by a foreign adversary. The proposed rule stems from an executive order President Donald Trump signed in May, aimed at Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE. The agency said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will make these case-by-case determinations based on assessments from the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence. The proposed rule is open for public comment for the next 30 days. (Federal Register)

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