New analysis says some federal agency workforces have not fully recovered from previous administration

In today's Federal Newscast, almost half of all CFO Act agencies have fewer employees today than in 2010.

  • Almost half of all CFO Act agencies have fewer employees today than in 2010. A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law found the under staffing is having a long-term impact on certain agency missions. The left-leaning think tank said the departments of Interior, Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development have seen at least a 17% decrease in their total number of workers over a 12-year period. At the same time, many of these agencies have seen an increase in mission responsibilities. Meanwhile, the Brennan Center said the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have seen more than a 40% increase in their workforce since 2010.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs has reached a contract agreement with negotiators for its biggest labor union. The American Federation of Government Employees said the tentative deal will “modernize” VA’s hiring processes, but leave most other aspects of its 2011 contract in place for the next three years. Union members have 60 days to ratify the contract. The labor agreement has been through various stages of arbitration, impasse and negotiation for more than five years.
  • The IRS is preparing to hire 30,000 new employees by the end of fiscal 2024. The agency is planning to make more than 10,000 new hires by the end of this fiscal year, and nearly 20,000 new hires the following year. Most of the hiring is concentrated in taxpayer services and enforcement. Much of this hiring is meant to offset an aging workforce. The IRS said nearly two-thirds of its workforce will be retirement-eligible within the next six years, and that a growing number of newer employees are leaving the agency. The IRS is launching this hiring initiative thanks to the nearly $80 billion it received in the Inflation Reduction Act. The funding is meant to help the agency rebuild its workforce and modernize its IT systems over the next decade.
  • Feds can look out for the next round of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The Office of Personnel Management says it's on track to administer the 2023 FEVS in early May. The governmentwide survey collects federal employees' feedback on engagement and overall satisfaction with their agency. This year's survey will still include questions that were new last year on resilience, innovation, and diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. OPM will send out the survey to employees in two waves over a two-week period.
    (2023 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey - The Office of Personnel Management)
  • Federal employees heighten their concerns with the federal government's "evil twins." The Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset are two long-standing provisions that can reduce or sometimes eliminate Social Security benefits for feds. Looking for feds' input on WEP and GPO, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) received 2,500 largely negative responses in just two days. Spanberger helped lead the charge this Congress in reintroducing the Social Security Fairness Act. The bill to repeal both WEP and GPO has been around for decades, but has never gotten a floor vote. This year's version of the legislation has so far gained 210 co-sponsors.
    (Survey Focused on Detrimental Impacts of WEP & GPO - Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Virg.))
  • Are NASA headquarters employees teleworking too much? House Republicans are asking. The readiness of NASA's mission is being called into question because there are concerns that too many employees are teleworking. Republican leaders on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee wrote to Administrator Bill Nelson asking for answers to six questions about the space agency's telework policies and number of employees working remotely. The committee said only 31% of NASA headquarters employees reported to the office in January. Lawmakers say the lack of in-person communication can lead to errors and delays. They pointed to the recent one-year delay of NASA’s Psyche asteroid mission as an example of the problem. The committee is asking for responses to their questions by April 18.
    (Letter to NASA Administrator - House Science Space and Technology Committee )
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs’ latest pause in the rollout of its new Electronic Health Record will take longer than expected. The VA says its new Oracle-Cerner EHR won’t go-live at its medical center in Saginaw, Michigan in June as planned. Local VA employees received a memo saying the Oracle-Cerner EHR is not yet ready for deployment, based on recent assessments. The VA planned on Saginaw to be the first new go-live in eight months. The agency has been in a prolonged "assess and address" period to work out issues with the system.
  • The inspector general of the Labor Department is flagging concerns about the use of facial recognition in state unemployment insurance programs. In an alert to Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the IG says nearly half of all state workforce agencies have started using identity verification tools that employ facial recognition. While intended to combat fraud, the IG says the use of those technologies may not result in equitable and secure access to UI benefits. The alert cites issues with racial and gender bias in some facial recognition algorithms, as well concerns about a lack of privacy standards across all the states using those tools.
  • Agencies have some new issues to consider when developing rules and regulations. The White House is looking to boost equity considerations when agencies develop new regulations. President Joe Biden signed a new executive order yesterday on modernizing the regulatory review process. The order provides greater support for analyzing distributional effects to account for regulatory impact on underserved communities. It also aims to promote more public participation in the rulemaking process. The White House is additionally seeking public feedback on proposed revisions to the guidance that agencies use for their regulatory impact analysis.
  • The Government Accountability Office denied a protest Thursday filed by Sikorsky Aircraft over a $7.1 billion contract award for a new vertical lift aircraft. Sikorsky challenged the Army’s assignment of an unacceptable rating to the proposal under the engineering design and development evaluation factor. Bell Textron of Fort Worth Texas got the award. Sikorsky claimed the Army should have found Bell Textron’s proposal unacceptable. In denying the protest, GAO concluded the Army reasonably evaluated Sikorsky’s proposal as technically unacceptable because Sikorsky failed to provide the level of architectural detail required.
  • When the Space Force takes over the Army’s missile warning stations next October, the staff will have an opportunity to stay on. Space Force will offer soldiers who work at the stations a chance to laterally transfer to become guardians. Currently about 83% of guardians transferred from other services into the Space Force. The Joint Tactical Grounds Stations are responsible for missile tracking and warning. The move is part of a consolidation of the Defense Department’s missile warning systems under the Space Force and will mark the first time all military satellite communication functions will operate under one branch.


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