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A new executive order from the White House aims to limit how much foreign labor federal contractors can use. The EO calls on the heads of each agency to examine a vendors use of foreign labor when entering into contracts. They also must submit a report to the Office of Management and Budget in the next 120 days summarizing what those reviews found.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has agreed to testify before House lawmakers next month about operational changes at the Postal Service. Those changes went into effect last month to cut down on overtime and transportation costs at the agency, also resulting in mail delays. But members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee also expect to ask about USPS readiness to handle mail-in ballots for the November 3 election. Meanwhile the Postal Service Board of Governors will give a status update on the agency’s finances at a meeting this Friday. (Federal News Network)
More than 20 senators are adding to the list of priorities that they want to see in the next coronavirus relief package. Among their suggestions, they want to see the next bill require maximum telework for federal employees throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which would set a positive example for other workplaces. The group of senators include Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). They say a maximum telework policy in the federal government would set a positive example for other workplaces. It would also keep employees safe who do need to report to work. (Federal News Network)
The unions representing some Environmental Protection Agency employees say the agency is reopening some facilities to more employees too soon. The American Federation of Government Employees says EPA’s headquarters office in Washington D.C. and the Boston regional office will advance to phase two of its reopening plan. But the union says the D.C. office doesn’t meet EPA’s guidelines and metrics for reopening. Smaller EPA offices in the Northeast and Midwest are also moving to phase two. (National Treasury Employees Union)
One vital document in employee discrimination disputes, suspended by the pandemic, are coming out again. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it started issuing charge closure documents yesterday. They’d been suspended since March because of the pandemic, unless parties to a charge requested them. The document is notification that the commission has closed a case. People who want to pursue their cases in court have 90 days to do so, after issuance of charge closure documents. The EEOC says further delays could affect that right.
Maryland and Virginia Senators are going to bat for government contractors. They want industry to receive reimbursements under contracts that were delayed or halted because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), along with Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), asked Senate leadership to extend Section 3610 provisions that provide paid leave, including sick leave, to employees and subcontractors until December 31, 2021 in the next stimulus bill. The current provisions to reimburse vendors expire on September 30. (Federal News Network)
What to expect from the next executive order on federal hiring. The Office of Personnel Management says it’ll host virtual focus groups with agencies in the next month to hear their ideas and concerns about implementing the new hiring EO. The order instructed agencies to rely on skills-based assessments over a candidate’s college degree when hiring someone new into the federal government. OPM says it’ll also host listening sessions and an industry day to highlight best assessment tools and practices. Draft changes to the new General Schedule qualification policy will be out later this month, with final implementation in late December.
The White House said yesterday the president intends to nominate Jonathan Moak to be the next assistant secretary of the Army for financial management. Moak is currently the deputy assistant secretary, and performing the duties of the Army comptroller. Moak would replace John Whitley. The administration has picked Whitley to be the director of the Pentagon’s office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation. His confirmation hearing is scheduled for today.
The White House has formally withdrawn the nomination of the retired general the president picked to be the Pentagon’s top policy official. The withdrawal of Anthony Tata’s nomination came after the Senate Armed Services Committee abruptly cancelled his confirmation hearing last week. That happened after chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) concluded he didn’t have enough support to move the nomination out of committee. Nonetheless, the administration plans to install Tata into the undersecretary for policy position even without Senate confirmation – with a “performing the duties” title. That announcement prompted backlash from Democrats yesterday, who say he can’t do the job effectively. (Federal News Network)
Eight teams of white hat hackers will spend a few days this week trying to find security flaws in DoD space systems. The “Hack-A-Sat” challenge is part of the annual DEFCON conference, which is being held virtually this year. Air Force acquisition officials picked the eight teams out of more than 2,000 that took part in a qualifying competition in late May. Officials say the target is a “mock” satellite – not an operational one. (Air Force)
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is thinking beyond the General Schedule for new cyber recruits. CISA is focused on hiring a younger, digital native demographic with the hands-on experience needed in cybersecurity. Prospective hires include recent college graduates and those in post-graduate programs with a few years of experience under their belts. But CISA director Chris Krebs said the agency also gets applications from 17-and-18-year-olds with practical experience as white-hat hackers. (Federal News Network)
The latest IT modernization scorecard is out and it’s the best one yet. For the first time in five years, no agency received a “F” or “D” grade on the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act or FITARA scorecard. The House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations released the 10th FITARA scorecard yesterday. The General Services Administration received the only “A” grade, while nine agencies—the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, and Treasury and the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development—received “B’s”. The other 14 agencies received “C” grades.