USPS operating costs not dropping as fast as mail volume

In today's Federal Newscast, the agency's inspector general says between fiscal 2009 and 2018, USPS cut its labor costs, but also saw a decrease in mail volume.

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  • The Postal Service’s inspector general has found the agency’s operating costs have not dropped as quickly as its mail volume. Between fiscal 2009 and 2018, USPS cut its labor costs by 14%, but saw mail volume decrease by 17%. The postal IG also saw a substantial increase in overtime costs over this period of time as well as rising costs for rural delivery because of an increase in the number of delivery points. (U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General)
  • Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) wants to codify President Donald Trump’s executive order on ensuring agencies are not creating legally binding requirements through regulatory guidance. He reintroduced the Clarity Guidance Act to require agencies to include text in their guidance documents explaining that the document is not legally binding. He said the bill would ensure that the regulatory system operates with the transparency that is required under the Congressional Review Act. (Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer)
  • The inspector general at the Office of Personnel Management remains concerned about the proposed merger of the agency with the General Services Administration. The IG said the administration is still pursuing ways to advance the merger. The staff and administrative support for three OPM-managed councils are supposed to move to GSA. But the IG said OPM doesn’t have a cost-benefit analysis for these moves. And OPM employees who work for these councils have no guarantee they’ll keep employment once at GSA. (Federal News Network)
  • GSA’s 18F organization is dipping its toe into the national security arena. The General Services Administration’s 18F innovation hub is launching a national security and intelligence portfolio unit. The goal is to focus on partner projects in the national defense sector with DoD, intelligence and civilian agencies. In a post on its GitHub account, 18F said the national security and intelligence area is ripe for bringing in new technology and digital processes. 18F currently has five projects in this arena already, including one with the Marine Corps to better manage data and improve their logistics operations.
  • Top civilian leaders of the military services said it may be time to cut ties with some privatized military housing companies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday. Housing companies continue to do shoddy work cleaning up issues reported by service members in their homes ten months after Congress began investigating reports of mice, mold and lead paint in the houses. A recent Government Accountability Office report states the contracts the military has with the housing companies limits the oversight the Defense Department can conduct on service member homes. (Federal News Network)
  • A Colorado defense contractor has agreed to settle a case alleging it knowingly sold sub-par weapons systems to the Army. The Justice Department said Capco LLC will pay a $1 million settlement for shipping grenade launchers with barrels and firing pins that didn’t meet the Army’s specifications. The agreement also means the company will avoid admitting any legal wrongdoing. The problems were first raised by one of the firm’s quality engineers who became a whistleblower, and was later fired. He’ll receive about a quarter of the settlement under the False Claims Act. (Federal News Network)
  • The Navy launched a new portal for sailors to review and apply for jobs in the service. MyNavy Assignment is a new sailor interface which allows enlisted sailors to see new and enhanced career management capabilities. The application helps sailors search for billets, find jobs to enhance the career path they want to take, and gives them an opportunity to show off extracurricular talents to commanders. MyNavy Assignment is currently only available to active-duty sailors, but an update for the reserve is coming soon. (Navy)
  • As the Trump administration explores new ways to teach federal employees in-demand skills, the Census Bureau will launch its own data science reskilling program. Fifty employees will be chosen for the program’s first cohort in January. Those employees will learn data science skills through online coursework, in-person training and mentorships. The bureau has stood up the pilot with help from the Chief Information Officers Council and the Office of Management and Budget, which last year launched a government-wide reskilling academy for cybersecurity skills. (Federal News Network)
  • The Department of Homeland Security wants industry input on the features of the new cybersecurity personnel system currently under development. DHS is hosting an in-person industry day Dec. 9. The department’s Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer is looking for feedback on how it might implement the new cyber talent management system. The new system is supposed to help DHS seek out top cyber talent, recruit and retain individuals based on their actual skills, and set salary rates based on market pay and other factors. (Federal News Network)
  • There’s bipartisan concern over an Office of Personnel Management repository that connects employees with disabilities to agency coordinators isn’t up to date. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) are asking for more details from OPM Director Dale Cabaniss. The senators said OPM is supposed to continuously update the Selective Placement Program Coordinator Directory. But the updates are behind. These coordinators are supposed to help agencies recruit and retain employees with disabilities. (Federal News Network)
  • The Energy Department is upgrading its capacity for looking at nuclear or other radiation events from upstairs. In ceremonies today, the National Nuclear Security Administration will roll out three new aerial measuring system aircraft. The twin-engine Beechcraft model is also used in military special missions and law enforcement. NNSA says the new planes will carry new, more sensitive detection systems the agency can fly to any spot in the United States. They’ll also measure baseline radiation. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will speak at the rollout at Joint Base Andrews.

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