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A new Census data analysis shows the recession of 2008 and 2009 hit one segment of the population particularly hard: Soldiers who left the Army during it. Some 650,000 mustered out between 2000 and 2015. The data shows infantry and combat veterans tend to do worse than average on both employment rates, and earnings for those who did find work. Those with military backgrounds in autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity, intel or telecommunications do far better and tend to end up in higher-paying professional services.
Bargaining unit federal employees will be able to cancel their union dues at any time starting next month, as long as they’ve been in the unit for a year. New regulations from the Federal Labor Relations Authority finalized a decision the FLRA made back in February. The decision reinterprets past precedent that gave bargaining unit members just one chance a year to cancel automatic union dues payments. FLRA acknowledged the decision may create financial uncertainty for federal unions but it said the new regulation gives federal employees more freedom. The National Treasury Employees Union filed a new petition challenging the FLRA regulation in federal appeals court. (Federal News Network)
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government easily cleared its 2021 spending bill. The bill is silent on a federal pay raise for civilian employees next year. It also includes new language restricting agency limits on telework, official time, and collective bargaining. It also prohibits the Office of Personnel Management merger with the General Services Administration. The full appropriations committee is expected to consider the bill next week. (Federal News Network)
The Office of Personnel Management’s reopening plans will get a closer look from its inspector general. Acting OPM IG Norbert Vint said he’s concerned about the health and safety of OPM employees and contractors returning to the office. He’s the second IG to confirm plans for investigating agency reopening policies. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) asked 24 inspectors general to review their agency’s plans and report back to Congress with their findings. (Federal News Network)
IRS managers said Federal Protective Service employees and contracted security officers aren’t always wearing masks as required. The Professional Managers Association told leaders of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees that personnel have in some cases not worn masks when checking credentials as employees enter the building. PMA President Chad Hooper said that poses a direct threat to the health and safety of IRS workers. (Federal News Network)
Census workers are getting a head-start knocking on doors. The Census Bureau has begun a “soft launch” of its non-response follow-up. Enumerators will go door-to-door nationwide on Aug. 11, but that work has already begun in a few places. On Monday 10,000 enumerators started in places like New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Missouri. A second wave of enumerators will head out on July 23 in Crystal City, Virginia; Wichita, Kansas, and State College, Pennsylvania. Forty areas census offices will send enumerators out at the end of the month. (Federal News Network)
The former chief human capital officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs steered a $5 million contract to two of his friends. The VA IG said Peter Shelby violated ethics rules and abused his position when he directed his staff to arrange a contract for leadership and development training to go to a small business. Shelby was friends with the small business owner. The IG said the contract resulted in complete waste. Shelby resigned back in 2018 after learning he’d been recommended for removal for reasons unrelated to the contract. (Federal News Network)
A facility to specifically treat active duty service members with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder has opened at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Eglin was chosen as the site for the Intrepid Spirit Center since more than 18,500 active duty service members are based there and are frequently deployed to combat areas. The facility can administer care to 200 troops through its outpatient program. Plans are in place to accommodate 50 more service members in the near future. (Fallen Heroes Fund)
The Air Force’s task force looking at racial issues is already making some changes. The Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Task Force is working to offer 300 more scholarships at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In the past month, it has also changed dress and appearance regulations that unfairly target certain demographics. It allows men to wear their hair parted and adds diacritical accents to nameplates to aid with pronunciation. The Air Force set up the task force last month to identify and change policies and procedures that may be unfairly impacting Air and Space professionals.
Yet another bid protest awaits a multibillion dollar Defense Department IT contract. Perspecta is suing the Navy in the Court of Federal Claims over the $7.7 billion re-competition of its Next Generation Enterprise Network contact. The Navy awarded the portion of the contract at issue to Leidos in February – it’s called Service Management, Integration and Transport. Perspecta is the incumbent vendor. That firm and another losing bidder, GDIT, have already challenged the contract at the Government Accountability Office. GAO denied both protests. (Federal News Network)
The AFCEA Bethesda chapter handed out $66,000 in scholarships and donations to promote science, technology, engineering and math among K-2 students. The chapter partners with the Montgomery College Foundation to use the money to support the Sonya Kovalevsky Program, which provides engineering, computer science, and cybersecurity training for more than 60 middle school girls annually. It also works with the University of Maryland at College Park’s Computer Science Connect initiative, which encourages young women and racial minorities to explore computer science and develop computing skills in a supportive environment. Since 2008, AFCEA Bethesda has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to support local students interested in STEM careers.
GSA and the CIO Council want to revive the TBM standards initiative. Agency chief information officers are getting some help to better integrate Technology Business Management or TBM framework standards with current IT priorities. The CIO Council and GSA released a new white paper that shows how agencies can use TBM to enhance IT cost transparency. Agencies are required to implement TBM as part of their capital planning and investment control or cpic processes. The new white paper cross-walks specific requirements under priorities like cybersecurity or implementing working capital funds with how TBM could help.