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Four out of five members of the National Treasury Employees Union say they’re starting to worry about the impact of a potential government shutdown on their finances. NTEU heard from over 6,200 members in a survey on their shutdown preparations. They say they’re already bracing for the possibility of going without a paycheck. 72% of NTEU members say they’ve already cut back on their spending or will do so soon. Current government funding runs dry December 20. (National Treasury Employees Union)
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wants to end the practice of giving employee union representatives official time to prepare complaints on behalf of their coworkers. EEOC issued a proposed rule saying that allowing union reps official time to prepare EEOC complaints is inconsistent with the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations statute. The American Federation of Government Employees says the new rule would make it harder for employees to raise discrimination issues. EEOC is collecting comments from the public through February 10. (Federal Register)
A group of House Democrats wants the Government Accountability Office to review the Agriculture Department’s Kansas City relocation. The lawmakers, including Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) and Don Beyer (D-Va.) want a better look at USDA’s cost benefit analysis for the move of two of its research bureaus. They’re questioning whether moving the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture actually saves the department any money. They’ve asked GAO to examine the impact of ERS and NIFA attrition on the agencies’ missions. (Rep. Jennifer Wexton)
Annual agency human capital reviews are back again. The Office of Personnel Management says it will continue to host one-on-one conversations with each agency to talk about their recruitment, retention, employee engagement and reskilling challenges. OPM says it is especially interested in progress toward modernizing their workforces. The goal is to help OPM collect best practices and evaluate how well agencies are responding to the President’s Management Agenda. (Chief Human Capital Officers Council)
Defense contractors may have to cough up more of their internal cost data under a provision in this year’s Defense authorization bill. The measure is largely a response to the actions of Transdigm, a spare parts supplier that DoD’s inspector general says routinely overcharged the government. It requires vendors to make a “good faith” effort to turn over cost and pricing data to contracting officers who are trying to decide whether their prices are fair and reasonable, or else be disqualified from the contract. The bill also requires DoD to keep track of contractors who consistently refuse to disclose that data when asked. (Federal News Network)
Private debt collectors hired by the IRS nearly doubled the amount of revenue they obtained for the agency last year. Senate Finance Committee data shows private debt collectors brought in nearly $213 million in Fiscal 2019, compared to nearly $148 million the year before. The program has provided more than $60 million to the IRS’s special compliance program, which has used those funds to hire 200 private debt collectors. Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the new data shows the program is working as Congress intended. (Senate Finance Committee)
Nearly half the U.S. Senate has signed onto a bipartisan resolution to ensure the results of the 2020 Census are fair and accurate. The resolution urges the Census Bureau to do everything it can to make the decennial questionnaire easy for households to complete. In March, most households will be receiving a mailed invitation to respond to the decennial count. (Sen. Brian Schatz)
Five years after its passage, FITARA is having the expected impact on federal IT. GSA, the Education Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development earned top marks on the latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act or FITARA scorecard. The House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations say these three agencies merited grades of A for their work to implement the five-year-old law. Nine agencies saw their scores improve with DHS making the biggest jump to a “B+” from a “D-.” The average score is now a “C plus,” which is up from a “D minus” in 2015. (Federal News Network)
John Skudlarek, deputy CIO at the Federal Communications Commission, is leaving after five years. He had been acting CIO since May and decided with new CIO Francisco Salguero coming in, it was time to move on. Skudlarek says he isn’t necessarily leaving government, but will take some time off to decide what comes next. After retiring from the Army as a lieutenant colonel, he has worked for several agencies, including the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Defense Security Service, before coming to the FCC in 2014.
Ten current or former Veterans Affairs employees in the West Palm Beach and Miami medical centers, along with five supply vendor employees, face charges of fraud and bribery. The VA employees worked in supply logistics. They stand accused of ordering supplies from phony vendors or involved overly large quantities, in return for kickbacks. The Justice Department said the arrangement cost the department millions of dollars. The VA Office of Inspector General investigated the arrangement. (Department of Justice)