OPM inspector general nominee has virtual day in front of Senate

In today's Federal Newscast, the president's nominee to be the Office of Personnel Management inspector general got some face time before the Senate.

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  • The president’s nominee to be the Office of Personnel Management inspector general got some face time before the Senate. Craig Leen told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee he’d focus on OPM’s pandemic response, and a possible merger with the General Services Administration if confirmed as IG. He says, “…if there were to be a merger… overseeing that merger to protect the core equities of OPM, including the human resource function, FEHBP, retirement, charitable giving. There are so many different things that OPM does, and you don’t want that to be lost within the much larger structure of GSA. There is definitely a role to play for the OPM IG and I plan to play it.” Leen would be only the second permanent OPM IG since 1990 if confirmed.
  • Agencies in the national capital region are starting to reopen facilities to small groups of federal employees. Phase one of the Agriculture Department’s reopening plan started Monday. USDA says political appointees are starting to reenter facilities in the Washington D.C. area. Other employees will receive notices from their supervisors in the coming days. The Energy Department set a June 8th date for phase one of its reopening plan. Energy estimates 3.7% of its workforce employees will re-enter DC area buildings on that date. (Federal News Network)
  • Former General Services Administration watchdog Brian Miller has been confirmed as the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery. Miller most recently served as a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office. As the special IG, Miller will oversee about $500 billion in Treasury spending on businesses under the CARES Act. A bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last month would fast-track hiring staff to work for the special IG’s office. (Federal News Network)
  • Former DHS CIO John Zangardi has found a new home just seven months after leaving government for an industry position. Redhorse Corporation named Zangardi as its new president. He will run the day-to-day operations of the IT services company, which does work in the public and private sectors. The former DHS and DoD IT executive left government in November to join Leidos as its senior vice president of business initiatives and strategic partnerships.
  • The National Nuclear Security Administration plans to hold an online hiring event on Wednesday, June 24. The agency says it’s looking to hire one hundred people in engineering, physical sciences, operations research and security. The NNSA has openings in locations across the country. Candidates must register and submit resumes in advance. But once online, they’ll be able to view agency videos and visit various virtual program booths, and apply for jobs. Interviews will take place afterwards.
  • The Agriculture Department is rolling out a new performance management and employee award system this fall. Employees will earn a pass or fail performance rating, instead of one of the five performance categories they have now. Awards will be based on specific employee accomplishments. And USDA managers will no longer save awards for the end of the year. They’ll instead hand out cash bonuses and time-off awards to employees throughout the entire year. The new USDA policy is still draft form. But agency leaders plan to finalize and begin implementing it by October 1. (Federal News Network)
  • Moving the paper-based system of declassifying records to an electronic one wouldn’t just save money. The Public Interest Declassification Board says a backlog for declassifying once-sensitive records has made it harder for federal employees to telework, if their jobs require them to work with those records. The board recommends the Director of National Intelligence lead efforts to modernize the declassification process. The National Archives and Records Administration estimates the current paper-based classification process costs about 18 billion dollars a year to maintain. (Federal News Network)
  • Four months later, confusion over the government’s position on using e-commerce portals remains. As the General Services Administration moves closer to awarding a proof-of-concept for its e-commerce platform, an industry association is pressing for changes. The Coalition for Government Procurement wants GSA to amend the current solicitation or explain how the initiative meets the goals of the February executive order aimed at protecting the public from counterfeit products on e-commerce platforms. The association says there are several contradictions between the e-marketplace acquisition from GSA and recommendations from DHS that came along with the executive order. CGP says its concerned that GSA’s current approach isn’t sufficient to protect federal buyers from purchasing counterfeit and gray market products. (Federal News Network)
  • The Navy is announcing 10 new information warfare projects ranging from radio software enhancements that stop jamming to a shared data environment for non-tactical information assistance. The Navy will hold a virtual industry day on the projects next week. It will include briefings from Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic and Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific. Other projects that will be announce are 5G network enhancement prototypes and a redesign on legacy submarine launch control system buoys.
  • The Air Force is rethinking its approach to race in the wake of George Floyd’s death. The leaders of the Air Force say they are conducting a full independent review of the service’s military justice system. The Air Force’s top enlisted airmen took to Twitter stating he is committed to making racial disparities in the service better. He noted that black airmen are disproportionately punished and top leadership lacks diversity. Service member advocate organization Protect Our Defenders recently put out a report alleging that the Air Force did not act on recommendations from four years ago to correct racial disparities. (Federal News Network)
  • Homeland Security officials have identified a Federal Protective Services officer who was shot and killed amidst protests in the San Francisco Bay Area last weekend. David Patrick Underwood was standing watch outside the federal building in Oakland when officials say he and a fellow officer were gunned down in a drive-by shooting Friday night. The second officer was seriously wounded, but is expected to recover.

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