One member of the House is pushing for more funding for the Transportation Security Administration. The "Fund the TSA Act," which Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson introduced last week, would give the agency just over $1 billion to fund pay increases and collective bargaining rights for frontline TSA employees. The legislation, if enacted, would put another nearly $400 million toward technology and security improvements at TSA checkpoints. Federal unions and advocacy groups quickly voiced their support for Thompson's bill.
Thrift Savings Plan participants will see a slightly different layout for My Account the next time they log in. The new changes in TSP's My Account platform were a response to feedback from TSP users. The updates include a more direct view of participants' account summaries, a bigger navigation menu, a personalized to-do list and links to resources where participants can learn more. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the agency in charge of the TSP, is hoping the new changes will make things a little easier on participants. Many TSP users have expressed ongoing frustrations and concerns with the My Account interface since a major TSP system update last summer.
The Department of Homeland Security's desire to refresh its agencywide identity and access management capability will have to wait a bit longer. DHS lost a protest of its $79 million award to Guidehouse, which it made in January. The Government Accountability Office ruled DHS made errors in evaluating the bid from IDEMIA National Security Solutions and those flaws impacted the ultimate source selection decision. GAO said DHS should reevaluate the bids specifically under the past performance factors.
A program meant to ease the transition of service members between the military and civilian life needs to do more, according to lawmakers on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. The congressmen said the program is not fully utilized in helping at-risk veterans avoid homelessness and food insecurity. The committee wants the transition program to do more to help service members going into civilian life including individual counselling, job training and learning about available benefits. And the committee wants military leaders to be held accountable to make sure service members get the support they need.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a new pay model for IT and cybersecurity employees later this year, regardless of whether a governmentwide rollout moves forward. The Office of Personnel Management is putting a Special Salary Rate on hold, pending additional implementation guidance. That is because agencies, including the Agriculture Department, are telling their employees they do not know how to cover the pay increase unless Congress approves higher spending levels in the fiscal 2024 budget. The VA, however, plans to still go ahead with the SSR rates, regardless of what happens governmentwide, and use new authority under the toxic-exposure PACT Act legislation to set special rates. The VA led a multi-agency SSR request to OPM last year. OPM approved the SSR in January of this year and issued proposed pay tables to federal councils.
The Postal Service’s long-awaited dashboard to track on-time mail delivery is now live. The online tool gives users the ability to see on-time rates in their ZIP code for products that include first-class mail, marketing mail and periodicals. The USPS data is based on scans collected when mail enters its delivery network during processing and at the point of delivery. The Postal Service Reform Act signed into law last year required USPS to launch this public dashboard. USPS is setting a goal of delivering 95% of all mail and shipping products on-time.
The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the Office of Management and Budget clarify its guidance for agencies reporting on expired grants with undisbursed funds. The current guidance fails to define terms such as “preceding,” which has led to agencies reporting data that has incorrect years. GAO further suggested OMB tell agencies to include the dollar amount of the undisbursed funds. GAO said the Justice Department should continue having the Attorney General report on undisbursed funds from expired grants. While the Justice Department has agreed with the recommendation, OMB has yet to agree or disagree.
Toni Townes-Whitley is the new CEO of SAIC. The former Microsoft executive takes over for Nazzic Keene, who will retire on October 2. Townes-Whitley comes to SAIC after serving as president of U.S. Regulated Industries at Microsoft since 2018. She'll join SAIC on June 12. As part of her 35-year career, Townes-Whitley also was president of CGI Federal and held several management roles at the former Unisys Corporation. Keene has been with SAIC since 2012 and been CEO since 2019. SAIC is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, and has annual revenues of about $7 billion.
In a win for unions, the Supreme Court decided on Thursday that the National Guard dual-status technicians have a right to union representation. In 2016, the Ohio National Guard terminated its collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Government Employees. The Guard said it was not bound by the Federal Labor Management Relations statute. The court disagreed and found in favor of the union. Under FLRA's previous ruling, the administrative law judge said that the FLRA has jurisdiction over the Guard, and it has collective bargaining rights.