EEOC, federal employee union locked in dispute over return to work plans

In today's Federal Newscast, the American Federation of Government Employees has filed an unfair labor practice complaint, saying that EEOC did not finish union...

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  • Members of Congress are asking the Justice Department to pursue a criminal investigation against former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. Two leaders of the House Natural Resources Committee sent the referral yesterday following what they say was an extensive investigation. The letter intimates there’s evidence Bernhardt overruled career officials’ decisions in order to approve a real estate development in southern Arizona, and that political donations played a role in that decision. Bernhardt told the Associated Press the allegations are “a pathetic attempt by career politicians to fabricate news.” (Federal News Network)
  • The new location of U.S. Space Command has been under contention. Now a report says the move was legal and within reason. Some lawmakers accused the Trump administration of foul play when the military abruptly changed the future location of U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Alabama. The Defense Department Inspector General report didn’t make any judgements on political influence; however, it did say that the process for choosing Huntsville, Alabama was legal and reasonable. After reviewing the report, members of the Colorado delegation still say they think there is reason to question the military’s decision for the move. (Federal News Network)
  • The Trump Hotel’s lease is changing hands. The Trump Organization has finalized a deal with the Miami-based investment firm CGI Merchant Group, which plans to convert the building into a Waldorf-Astoria luxury hotel. The General Services Administration recently approved CGI as a qualified transferee for the lease to the Old Post Office building in downtown D.C. The lease became the subject of lawsuits and congressional investigations during the Trump administration. Congress and courts debated whether former President Donald Trump’s financial ties to a federal lease violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. (Federal News Network)
  • Expanded workers’ compensation may be coming soon to 15,000 federal firefighters. The House has passed the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act. The bill deems heart disease, lung disease and certain cancers as caused by work duties, qualifying for workers’ compensation. To get compensation, the employee must have worked as a federal firefighter for at least five years and must receive a diagnosis within 10 years of employment. Paramedics, emergency medical technicians and rescue workers are also covered. The bill passed the House 288 to 131.
  • A key cyber workforce bill cleared Congress this week. Cyber pros will soon have the chance to pursue more opportunities throughout government after the House passed the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act. The Senate has already passed the legislation, and it now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed. The bill will create a civilian personnel rotation program for cybersecurity professionals, allowing them to more easily move between agencies. Lawmakers said it will strengthen the federal cyber workforce by giving employees opportunities to broaden their professional experience and foster collaborative networks across government.
  • The FBI goes with a cyber expert to oversee the bureau’s intelligence analysis. Tonya Ugoretz will lead the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence. She is a long-time intelligence analyst. Her current position is deputy assistant director in the FBI’s Cyber Division, where she oversees national-level cyber policy, analysis of cybercriminal and national security threats, and partner engagement. Ugoretz also served as the first director of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
  • The former assistant director of cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency sold his company and has been named the CEO of the one that bought it. Bryan Ware, who was at CISA for about two years, sold Next5 to LookingGlass Cyber Solutions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Next5 is a business intelligence and strategic advisory firm. Ware now will become the CEO of Looking Glass, which is a 1000-person, $1.25 billion company. LookingGlass recently won a $14 million other transaction agreement deal from the Defense Innovation Unit to take its tailored cyber threat intelligence data platform into production.
  • Two large government contractors go to court over accusations of stealing intellectual property. Appian Corporation has won a $2 billion award from a circuit court in Fairfax, Virginia after a jury decided that Pegasystems violated the Virginia Computer Crimes Act. Appian, which won about $10 million in federal prime contracts in 2021, claimed Pegasystems hired an employee of a government contractor who passed trade secrets about Appian’s product. Pegasystems, which won more than $9 million in federal prime contracts last year, said they disagree with the verdict and will look at options to overturn the decision.
  • The Postal Service is facing yet another challenge to plans for its next-generation vehicle fleet, this time from Congress. Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee approve a bill that would require USPS to conduct a new environmental impact statement. That document accounts for the costs and benefits of electric and gas-powered vehicles in its future fleet. USPS said the legislation threatens to hold up 50,000 new vehicles it’s already ordered. Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said USPS underestimates the benefits of electric vehicles in its current environmental analysis and lowballs the future price of gasoline. “The Postal Service should be leading the charge to reduce carbon emissions and green its fleet.” (Federal News Network)
  • Workers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will return to the office at least one day a week starting May 16. After a month, in-person work will go up to two days per week for EEOC employees. In response, the American Federation of Government Employees has filed an unfair labor practice complaint, saying that EEOC did not finish union negotiations before announcing the re-entry. The agency is using 2022 re-entry plans as a test run to inform changes to its in-person work policies for next year.
  • The Marine Corps is making more of an effort to keep Marines and their families in the same geographic station as long as opportunities for career growth exist. The plan is to keep units together longer so they will be more cohesive and mature in their skills. The new policy also has the added benefit of allowing Marines and families to build roots in areas they like.

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