The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is stepping down this month. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed Tae Johnson will retire as acting director of ICE after 31 years of federal service. Johnson, a career ICE official, has been acting director since 2021. ICE has not had a senate-confirmed director since 2016. Johnson is the second high-ranking DHS official to announce his retirement in recent days. U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz announced last week that he plans to retire at the end of June.
Federal employees are seeking damages from the agency in charge of the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). After a year of growing complaints and frustrations, a group of seven TSP participants has filed a class-action lawsuit. The plaintiffs said the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) and its recordkeeping contractor, Accenture Federal Services, failed for months to process loans, withdrawals and death benefits in a timely manner. That was after the TSP underwent a major system update last June. The lawsuit claims the processing delays led to damages for hundreds, if not thousands, of TSP participants. They are demanding a jury trial, an award of appropriate damages and a declaration from FRTIB and Accenture that they were financially responsible for participants’ losses.
Commerce wins some, loses some, but still has to go backward on its small-business multiple-award contract. Four of nine companies protesting the Commerce Department's multiple-award small-business contract -- known as Commerce Acquisition for Transformational Technology Services (CATTS) — won their cases before the Court of Federal Claims. The judge's decision found Commerce was arbitrary and capricious in its source-selection decisions and harmed four of the plaintiffs, Ekagra, CAN Softtech, Syneren, and JCS Solutions. The court ruled Commerce should re-evaluate the technical proposals from these four companies and make new award decisions. Commerce awarded 15 companies a spot on the 10-year CATTS vehicles with a $1.5 billion ceiling in September. Initially, 13 companies filed protests with the Court of Federal Claims after the awards, and four eventually withdrew their complaints.
Two-thirds of Postal Service rural carriers are seeing pay cuts under a new system. United States Postal Services (USPS) said a new pay system for rural carriers requires employees to make up to 20 additional scans along their routes. But senators and rural carriers said the scanners often lose reception in rural areas and are not collecting all the data points that impact their take-home pay. Rural carriers said USPS has not given them or their managers adequate training on the new system, and that they stand to lose thousands of dollars a year in pay. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said USPS has not given lawmakers a full explanation for the pay cuts.
Transportation security officers will see their union representation grow under a new agreement. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reached an a agreement with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) that will see TSA Council 100 grow to 193 members nationwide. That is up from the current 12 members who represent approximately 40,000 transportation security officers across the country. AFGE said the agreement also gives representatives more flexibility to do union work while still serving at airports. The agreement is effective immediately and will be a part of a forthcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement between TSA and AFGE.
Sgt. Maj. Carlos Ruiz is set to become Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, the service's top enlisted position. Ruiz will serve a four-year term starting this August. He is currently the senior enlisted leader for the Marines’ reserve component. Ruiz will replace Sgt. Maj. Troy Black, who is retiring this year. The announcement comes less than a week after President Biden nominated the service’s next top officer. Gen. Eric Smith will become the service’s commandant in July, if the Senate confirms his nomination.
The Marine Corps updated Force Design 2030 includes plans to modernize everything from forces to facilities, while maintaining its personnel levels. The Corps will expand its live and virtual training environments for future warfare in a program called Project Tripoli. The training program will start with Marine installations and eventually be used with coalition forces. Force Design 2030 anticipates a need to expand recruiting based on future demographics, and will offer more career options for future recruits. The plan seeks to improve retention with flexible career paths and improved services for families.
Federal employees at the GS-9 to GS-13 levels have three more days to get their applications in for the 2024 CXO Fellows Program. The virtual professional development initiative aims to train the next generation of federal leaders in acquisition/procurement, financial management/budget, human capital technology and data. Throughout the year-long program, CXO fellows will take part in developmental sessions in leadership, cross-functional and interagency collaboration and career development. Applications for the 2024 cohort are due by June 9.
The top Republican on the House Oversight and Accountability Committee is calling on President Joe Biden to nominate permanent watchdogs at agencies with long-term vacancies. The Treasury Department has not had a permanent inspector general in about four years, and is the longest IG vacancy across the federal government. The State Department has not had a permanent IG in more than three years. Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) said these agencies need permanent IGs to help reduce fraud, waste and abuse of government funds.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is hoping to get more early-career employees to join the civil service. A new federal intern experience program will offer training and professional development opportunities to federal interns. NASA and the Interior Department are joining OPM to support the effort. The three agencies are hosting a launch event today to tell current federal interns about the additional resources, tools and opportunities now available to them.
Pilots willing to extend their time in the U.S. Air Force have until Sept. 15 to apply for the Aviation Bonus Program. Aviators with an active duty service commitment expiring at the end of 2023 or earlier, can get the bonus. To help address a pilot shortage, the incentive money increased this year from a cap of $35,000 to up to $50,000. Specific communities of pilots, air battle managers and combat systems officers are eligible for monetary incentives in exchange for active duty service commitments.