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The Office of Personnel Management is reminding agencies on Veterans Day of their obligations to support federal employees who are called to active-duty military service. Agencies are supposed to allow employees in this situation to accrue leave while they are out performing uniformed service. They are also supposed to quickly reemploy service members once they return and protect their positions from reductions in force. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act applies to any federal employee in any executive branch agency.
Plenty of familiar names are members on the president-elect’s new agency transition teams. Two former deputy secretaries from the Obama administration will head up Biden’s Labor Department transition team. Former acting Social Security Administration Commissioner Carolyn Colvin will lead the SSA team. Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra will help prepare the incoming administration on Postal Service issues. Several former Obama-era undersecretaries are part of the Defense Department team. And a former chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management will take on the OPM team. (Federal News Network)
Two technology executives are on the move to new roles in government. Chris Chilbert, the chief information officer for the Office of Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services, is leaving to be the new lead technology executive at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Chilbert replaces Donna Roy, who became the agency’s chief operating officer in July after serving nine months as its CIO. Meanwhile, Vincent Sritapan is taking his cybersecurity skills to the new Quality Service Management Office run by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security. Sritapan comes to the QSMO from the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, where he led the effort to secure mobile devices for the last six years. (Federal News Network)
Acting Defense Undersecretary for Policy James Anderson resigned shortly after former Defense Secretary Mark Esper was dismissed by President Donald Trump. Anderson’s responsibilities will be delegated to Anthony Tata, who is DoD’s undersecretary for policy. DoD Undersecretary for Intelligence and Security Joseph Kernan also submitted his letter of resignation yesterday. Kernan will be replaced by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, acting sssistant secretary of Defense for Special Operation and Low-Intensity Conflict. Additionally, Jen Stewart, chief of staff to Esper, announced her resignation.
The federal government is about to bid farewell to one of its longest-serving information technology leaders. Tony Montemarano, the top civilian official at the Defense Information Systems Agency, is retiring after nearly 50 years of government service. He first joined the agency in 1992, after a 21-year career in the Navy. A retirement ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 11. (Federal News Network)
The Library of Congress said it will use the upcoming Geospatial Information Systems Day to further the pandemic battle. GIS day is next Wednesday. The Library will host online programs tailored for cartographers and epidemiologists who are tracking the spread patterns of COVID-19. Presenters from Johns Hopkins University, GIS vendor Esri, and the Library itself will detail new ways of tracking and mapping the virus. GIS day is part of Geography Awareness week, marked annually since 1999. The Library said it’s made a special effort to document the pandemic’s impact on American society.
The former leader of the Air Force’s Research Laboratory is facing charges of sexual assualt. An Air Force investigation found enough evidence to charge Maj. Gen. William Cooley with sexual assault. The charge stems from an August 2018 incident where Cooley allegedly made unwanted advances by kissing and touching a female victim. The woman is not a member of the military or a Defense Department employee. Cooley was relieved of commanding the Air Force Research Laboratory in January. He has since been working on Air Force Materiel Command’s digital campaign. A preliminary hearing will take place in January.
The Senate is looking to give the Treasury Department greater access to data that could prevent improper payments. A provision in the fiscal 2021 spending bills approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee would give Treasury’s “Do Not Pay Center” access to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. This comes after Treasury issued more than a million COVID-19 stimulus payments to deceased recipients. A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act last year, which would grant federal agencies access to the full set of the Social Security Administration death records.
A system of lean management principles is taking off at the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has implemented the system in more than 80% of its programs, meeting a goal set by its Office of Continuous Improvement. The EPA has used these lean management principles, like cascading performance reviews and team huddles, to improve over 500 of its processes. Some examples include cutting its Freedom of Information Act request backlog by nearly 45% and reducing its backlog of new permit applications.
What do dinosaurs and the government have in common? A new report from the National Academy of Public Administration and the IBM Center for the Business of Government says a lot, especially when it has to do with agencies and change. Dinosaurs did not adapt and eventually died out; similarly NAPA said the government must change to become more agile across all programs, projects and processes. NAPA detailed 10 principles of an agile government and offered four recommendations for how to stave off extinction.