More than 1,500 federal personnel respond to Hurricane Idalia

  • For the first time, agencies rated their satisfaction with their back-office services. Time and attendance management received the highest marks across the 24 CFO Act agencies for satisfaction, with mission support systems scoring a 5.34 out of 7. Recruitment and hiring, on the other hand, received the lowest satisfaction scored, receiving 4.07 out of 7. The Biden administration released, for the first time, the results of a survey among the largest agencies, conducted by the General Services Administration, about their satisfaction with human capital, financial management, technology and contracting systems. The survey results are part of the third quarter update to the President's Management Agenda.
  • Payroll issues at the Postal Service are leading to paycheck problems for its employees. The National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) said 45,000 of its members are dealing with missing or partial paychecks. The union said it has been in contact with USPS over the payroll issues, and that the problem has been identified. A fix is in process, but NRLCA said all affected carriers will be entitled to salary advances this Friday. The union said impacted carriers will receive 65% of their gross pay via money order. That figure is a rough estimate of their average take-home pay. NRLCA said carriers will have to give back any overpayment, but only after USPS addresses its payroll issues.
  • The Office of Personnel Management wants to crowdsource agencies' data innovations. OPM's data strategy for the next few years will focus on developing data skills in the federal workforce, and using data to improve employee engagement. After setting those goals, OPM is now looking for new ideas from other agencies to take governmentwide. "Whatever agency partners may be on the line, we're looking for your ideas. We want the innovation to continue at OPM, we want it to continue at the agency level," said OPM Chief Data Officer Ted Kaouk. "Please keep up the innovation. We want to work with you and be able to scale wherever possible." OPM is also looking to fill in gaps in data, such as those in workforce attrition.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is urging Congress to reauthorize a key anti-terrorism program. CISA is warning that it could lose staff on its chemical security program, if lawmakers don’t reauthorize the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program by the end of September. The CFATS program lapsed on July 28, after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) objected to the Senate’s fast-track reauthorization bill. CISA officials said in addition to losing staff, a prolonged stalemate over reauthorization could push back cybersecurity standards and other updates to chemical security regulations.
  • Wendy Noble will take over as the new deputy director of the National Security Agency, a role that makes her the NSA's senior civilian leader and chief operating officer. She previously served as executive director of the agency from 2019 to 2022. She began working for NSA in 1987 as a cryptologic linguist and has held a variety of positions with the agency since then. She replaces George Barnes, who will retire next month after a six-year stint as deputy.
  • The Office of Management and Budget is working with agencies to develop workforce inventories as part of its approach to meet the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act (FAIR Act) requirements. In a letter, OMB told House oversight lawmakers that inventories will help them gain a better understanding of how federal employee labor is being used to carry out agency missions and improve the make up of where people work in each agency. The administration's response comes after a letter earlier this year where Republican lawmakers wanted to know the status of the annual FAIR Act inventories.
  • The Biden administration is looking to ramp up hiring of customer-experience experts governmentwide. The Office of Management and Budget says it is working with the General Services Administration on a talent acquisition guide, meant to make it easier for agencies to hire customer experience personnel. OMB expects to release the CX talent acquisition guide by the third quarter of fiscal 2024. In its fiscal 2024 budget request, the Biden administration proposed hiring 120 additional CX employees across the government.
  • An administrative judge at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has upheld class certification for a group of federal employees, alleging discrimination at Customs and Border Protection. The employees said that after telling their supervisors they were pregnant, they were systematically forced onto "temporary light duty," regardless of whether or not they had requested it. EEOC first certified the group of roughly 500 CBP employees in April, but the agency appealed that initial decision in May. The administrative judge's upholding of the certification means the employees can continue with a class action lawsuit.
    (Class certification appeal decision - Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
  • The Biden administration has mobilized more than 1,500 federal personnel in response to Hurricane Idalia. The Category 3 hurricane slammed into the gulf coast of Florida early Wednesday morning and by the evening it had weakened to a tropical storm, but still threatened south Georgia and the coastal Carolinas. The Florida National Guard is fully active with 5,500 personnel available to respond to the storm. And FEMA said it has pre-positioned response personnel and assets throughout the southeast.
  • The Air Force did not correctly use the middle tier acquisition (MTA) pathway for its purchase of three-dimensional long-range radar systems, according to the Pentagon's inspector general. The IG said the service failed to complete necessary exit criteria to move the program from one MTA phase to the next. A new report argues the Air Force’s interpretation of funding guidance is incorrect, because the program will take longer than five years to complete. The IG said the Air Force should be required to get a waiver to extend the MTA rapid fielding path for the program.

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