Board that manages TSP to be officially scrutinized

In today's Federal Newscast: The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is going under the microscope. The Agriculture and Interior secretaries are urged to...

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  • The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board just might get an inspector general. D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a bill to establish an IG for the agency that manages the Thrift Savings Plan. Since the TSP online system was updated in June, Norton said her office has received many complaints about balance discrepancies and long wait times for customer service. Now, at the request of Norton and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), the Government Accountability Office will conduct a review of the implementation of the new TSP online system, as well as the oversight performed by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
  • An upcoming IRS pilot program will consider the pros and cons of expanding remote work to address the agency’s hiring challenges. The IRS and its future-of-work team is planning to launch a pilot in fiscal 2023 that will compare the productivity and efficiency of remote and hybrid IRS employees against peers who have already returned to the office. The Professional Managers Association, which represents IRS managers, said the pilot will include a test group of about 1,000 employees who will remain on 100% telework for the duration of the pilot. Another group of hybrid workers will come into the office periodically, but only in cases where management can justify a full workday of office work.  (Federal News Network)
  • More than 25 members of Congress, most from California, are concerned about a lack of federal firefighters. The members of Congress sent a letter to the Agriculture and Interior secretaries urging them to get a jump on fire season by surging hiring for the U.S. Forest Service before fire season is underway, rather than waiting until it escalates. Despite recent pay raises, the U.S. Forest Service continues to struggle with firefighter recruitment and retention. Federal firefighters received raises of $20,000 or 50% of their annual base salary — whichever was lower — in July.
  • The IRS is telling Congress about a major incident involving the inadvertent disclosure of data on 120,000 individuals. The Treasury Department said the IRS discovered some machine-readable data on tax-exempt organizations — which should not have been made public — was made available for bulk download on its website. The IRS will contact all filers impacted by the disclosure in the coming weeks.
  • One of the most notorious criminals in the history of federal contracting has escaped federal custody. Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based contractor, apparently snipped off his monitoring bracelet and may have fled his house in San Diego and headed to Mexico. He was two weeks away from sentencing. Leonard pleaded guilty back in 2015 for bribing officers and sailors from the 7th fleet. In return for travel, lavish meals and prostitutes, Leonard received Navy ship movement information giving him an advantage in winning husbanding contracts. His escape was first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune. The so-called Fat Leonard case lead to the conviction and jailing of several Navy officers. (Federal News Network)
  • A group of former top military officials is warning that the military’s relationship with the civilian world is getting too fuzzy. Eight former defense secretaries and five former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the United States needs to reinforce the civilian control of the military. In an open letter, the men laid out 16 tenets explaining the limits of the military as a political institution. They noted that military officials are facing extremely adverse environments where polarization is threatening the proper transfer of power in the nation. The former officials also noted that civilian leaders should give the military ample opportunity to express doubt about certain orders in the appropriate venues.
  • A group of lawmakers wants the White House to go further in addressing environmental inequality in the newly signed Inflation Reduction Act. The Biden administration’s Justice40 Initiative will deliver at least 40% of the overall benefits from the government’s investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. A group of 60 lawmakers sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Domestic Climate Policy urging them to consider the 40% figure a floor and not a ceiling.
  • The Army is designing new tactical bras to help female soldiers who perform physically demanding tasks. The end goals range from more comfort to being fire resistant. The idea for the new bras came from complaints about clothing that was too restrictive or did not fit mission functions.
  • The White House has moved to fill a key federal management role that has been vacant for almost three of the last four years. President Joe Biden plans to nominate Richard Revesz to be the next administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Revesz would come to OMB from the New York University School of Law, where he’s a professor and Dean Emeritus.
  • Is the General Services Administration moving fast enough to reduce the impact of inflation on contractors? One industry association does not think so. Contractors on the GSA schedule are facing a no-win situation. They can’t raise prices fast enough to keep up with inflation, meaning they either have to reject federal business or take a loss. The Coalition for Government Procurement told Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Sonny Hashmi this untenable position must be fixed. The CGP wrote a letter to Hashmi explaining why this is one of the major impacts of GSA not processing schedule modifications fast enough. The industry association said this issue is effecting small businesses at a critical point of the federal buying season.
  • The White House’s new cyber directorate has been staffing up, and not just in its leadership ranks. The Government Accountability Office said the new office, led by cyber director Chris Inglis, had a staff of 55 people by the end of last month. That figure could grow to 75 by the end of September. Congress first ordered the creation of the new office a year and a half ago, as one way to bolster federal cybersecurity. The Biden Administration appointed several new officials to help lead the office last week.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has a new lead for helping agencies secure their systems. Doc McConnell is now director of the Federal Enterprise Improvement Team at CISA. McConnell has been with CISA since last October. He was previously the senior adviser for cybersecurity policy at the White House Office of Management and Budget. The Federal Enterprise Improvement Team advises agencies on how they can improve their cyber defenses.

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