Pentagon enters what many hope will be the final round against cancer

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The Office of Personnel Management is trying to create better pathways to help agencies recruit qualified, younger and more diverse candidates. That’s part of a surge hiring effort for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law adds 8,000 new federal jobs across agencies including the Departments...

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To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe in PodcastOne or Apple Podcasts. The best listening experience on desktop can be found using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

  • The Office of Personnel Management is trying to create better pathways to help agencies recruit qualified, younger and more diverse candidates. That’s part of a surge hiring effort for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law adds 8,000 new federal jobs across agencies including the Departments of Transportation, Energy, Commerce and Agriculture. The hiring surge includes filling 3,000 of those new positions over the first six months after President Biden signed the bill into law. (Federal News Network)
  • OPM launches what its chief information officer calls a giant logistics effort. Chief Information Officer Guy Cavallo said his shop is boxing up home-office kits consisting of two monitors, a notebook PC dock, keyboard and mouse. Deliveries, or loading dock pickups, will start within a week. No printers, though. At an ATARC conference in Annapolis Maryland, Cavallo said OPM acknowledges that a substantial portion of its workforce will mostly telework permanently. Those employees won’t have workspaces at OPM offices.
  • President Biden nominates Army General Christopher Cavoli for the position of Supreme Allied Commander of Europe. NATO has also supported his nomination. In the position, he will look after allied command operations and head the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. The positions is currently held by Air Force General Tod Wolters.
  • The Defense Department is working with other agencies to defeat cancer. The Pentagon is taking part in the White House’s larger Cancer Moonshot program. The Defense Department will expand its study of DNA and proteins past the current network of 13 military and VA hospitals. Over time, the effort will grow to encompass work on all types of cancer. DoD will convene a roundtable today to discuss cancer health equity and military-exposures that relate to cancer. The White House wants to reduce the death rate of cancer by 50% over the next 25 years.
  • The Justice Department now is going after the company allegedly involved in a conflict of interest case at the Homeland Security Department. After settling with former DHS executive Ken J. Buck for $10,000 in April, DoJ filed a lawsuit yesterday against Intelligent Fiscal Optimal Solutions and its owner, Tawanda M. Smith, both of Columbia, Maryland. Justice alleges IFOS and Smith violated the False Claims Act by submitting false invoices to DHS in connection with a contract for staff augmentation services. Justice claims IFOS falsely claimed that another employee served as a strategic advisor to the project, but had Buck in that role before his two-year cooling off period ended.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency employees get some good news in a case of alleged unpaid overtime. Current and former FEMA employees may soon be able to benefit from a $16.5 million settlement over unpaid overtime. The American Federation of Government Employees said it settled the Fair Labor Standards Act grievance with FEMA recently. AFGE first lodged the complaint in 2018. It alleged that FEMA employees “were improperly denied FLSA coverage and were not being properly compensated for all overtime work performed.” Now, the Class Action Implementation Group will gather information from FEMA and other sources to determine who is eligible to receive payments from the settlement. (Federal News Network)
  • Senate lawmakers are pressing the Department of Homeland Security inspector general on whether his office diminished or delayed reports of sexual harassment and misconduct at DHS. Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ohio) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) raised those concerns in an April 27 letter to IG Joseph Cuffari. It follows reporting from the Project on Government Oversight that suggests Cuffari’s office is delaying a report on harassment and misconduct at DHS law enforcement agencies. The lawmakers are asking Cuffari when the report will be released, and why it has been delayed, among other questions.
  • Agencies have yet to meet thousands of recommendations from the Government Accountability Office. Now the leadership of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee wants GAO to change how it reports progress on those recommendations to Congress. Committee Chairman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Rob Portman     (R-Ohio) introduced the Improving Government for America’s Taxpayers Act. It would require GAO to consolidate its most urgent but unmet recommendations into one report for congressional leaders. Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and William Timmons (R-S.C.) introduced the bill in the House.
  • The IRS is looking at scanning technology to tackle its paper backlog. In a request for information, it said it’s looking for technology that will do a complete digital intake for all its incoming mail. The IRS receives more than 100 million pieces of mail every year, and has singled out its paper-based workload as a major hurdle this filing season. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig told members of the Senate Appropriation Committee that the agency is looking at ways to automate paper tax returns. (Federal News Network)
  • The General Services Administration is taking corrective action to solve the protest of its Polaris governmentwide acquisition contract. The Government Accountability Office dismissed the protest by BD Squared on April 25. This decision came just about a month after the company filed the complaint and 19 days after GSA paused the entire procurement after hearing concerns from industry over the mentor-protégé requirements. What that corrective action is remains unclear. Even BD Squared is waiting to see what GSA does. Co-founder Brian Friel told Federal News Network that they appreciate GSA agreeing to make the legal updates to the RFP in such a timely manner but had no details on what those updates were.
  • Federal employees get more recognition from House lawmakers as part of Public Service Recognition Week. A new piece of legislation reinforces gratitude for federal workers during the course of the week. The bill says public servants should be commended for their dedication and continued service to the United States. The legislation also highlights many of the federal workforce’s contributions, including fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting critical infrastructure and securing transportation systems. Public Service Recognition Week runs from May 1st through May 8th.

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